Just down the street from the hospital there is a parking garage being constructed and on the elevator tower, there has been a gigantic orange sign that says, “Obliteride.” What is that I wondered? Well, ever since then, I have repeatedly encountered the orange flyers and posters for Obliteride. Part of what drew me to it is the fantastic word, “Obliteride,” clearly meant to be akin to the word, “obliterate.” Anyone who knows me, knows I am prone to hyperbole – I love words and the bigger, fatter, more shiny or weighty – well – I need really big powerful words to convey how I feel and still they are usually insufficient. Anyway – obliterate – that is one hard core word! And what is Obliteride? It is a fundraising event put on Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research to raise funds, 100% of which, goes to cancer research! It is a bike ride that gives participants – both riders and supporters – the chance to tangibly come together to further the amazing, wild research necessary to learn about the human body, learn about cancer and figure out how to stop the death and wreckage caused by cancer.
So after at least a month or two of it nagging the edges of my consciousness – because I knew from the beginning I had to do it – I finally signed up. I took the plunge and registered myself to ride a bike 25 miles on Saturday, August 10th, 2013, to help do a small part to end cancer. I know what many of your are thinking – not a big deal – 25 miles – not far. I get that but this is not something I do. My last name may be Anderson, but unlike the rest of the Anderson clan who thrive on physical exertion and who delight to compete in nearly any physical event – I do not just shy away from such things – I flee. There are things I’m good at in life but athletics of really any kind has never been my thing. But that’s not the point I tell myself – the point is that I have my mountain bike from 1995 when I was a college student and I’ve got two legs. I don’t have much time to “train,” and my butt will probably need a transplant when I’m done because it won’t be accustomed to such activity – but I’m going to do it.
Here’s the other hard part – it is a fundraising event and oh how I just hate asking for money or trying to sell anything – again, not my giftedness. But, this IS something I believe in! One hundred percent of every dollar raised goes directly to cancer research at Fred Hutchinson – the very place that has pioneered the bone marrow transplant that MY child needs to live! This is not some abstract good – this is Allistaire Kieron Anderson born March 6, 2010 to a mom who prayed and prayed for her life to come to be. This is my bright blue-eyed girl with the furrowed fierce brow. Her name is a derivative of the name Alexander, which means “defender of men,” and yet she has been the one who has needed defending and protecting. This is MY child that came from my body! And you know what, you never know when YOU will need to be the recipient of such good – of such research! You don’t know when it may be your flesh or that of your dad or your child or your sister or your dearest friend, whose life hangs and hopes for a clinical trial that will give them hope for one more try. This is not abstract good – this is tangible. I know, I know – what does this little bit I might raise really do? Well I don’t know because dang is research and cancer care expensive stuff – but all the more reason for us to come TOGETHER to put a dent in it! You never know when the next discovery will come that will make a sweeping difference. I know the name and face of a girl from here at Children’s – I know her parent’s faces and voices – they are headed to Philadelphia to be apart of the crazy, wild, amazing clinical trial involving the genetic re-programming of a disabled HIV virus to re-program the T-cells of the patients immune system to identify and kill cancer cells. The first child, Emma, just received this new, experimental therapy this past fall. You have to check it out! It is amazing! You can click on this link to learn more about it.
Right now I’m thinking, “Jai, you’re supposed to keep this short and to the point.” But good grief, how lazy and prone to instant gratification are we? This warrants more. I used to want to be a doctor. This idea was prompted by something so compelling I saw in scripture – Jesus Christ first loved the people in His life by caring for their tangible needs – before He spoke to them of their need for spiritual rebirth, for salvation – He gave them food, He took away their blindness and gave them sight, He gave the lame the ability to walk, He cured the sick of their disease! We who know the Lord, know that the state of our spirit matters infinitely more than the state of our bodies and yet, the God of the Universe came in flesh and cares for our flesh and calls us to do the same – to love tangibly, not just in word, but in deed! I cannot cure cancer! I don’t even get what T-cells really are much less have a clue how to reprogram them to identify and kill cancer cells – but, there are people who spend all day long in a lab, for years, patiently seeking to understand the wonders of chemistry and biology, for the purpose of finding a way to undue brokenness! We know that ultimately, we will continue to have sickness and death until Christ returns, but we endeavor now and here to expand His kingdom of life and to love, to love and cherish the flesh that holds the spirit – we bearers of the image of God – this is why we are precious and this is why we fight, fight, fight for physical life. These bodies matter because they do house spirits!
Alright, if you’re sufficiently pumped up to support me on this ride to obliterate, this Obliteride, please click on the blue link below to contribute to this endeavor. My fundraising goal is $1,000 which only equates to 100 people giving $10 – that’s nothing – I bet we could do even better than that!. *** So in only 5 hours you beautiful folks out there have helped my exceed my original goal – so I kicked it up to $5,000. Also, my dear sweet friend of nearly 20 years, Emily Vahey, has just signed up to also be a rider in honor of Allistaire – she too needs to meet her $1,000 fundraising goal, so please consider giving to her first to help her reach her goal! We will ride together!!