Posts Tagged ‘Charity’

Onthe Road Again – 2013

Posted: April 12, 2013 in Cycling, Personal
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Alex being Interviewed on the Ride

My brother Alex being Interviewed during the Ride to Conquer Cancer 2012.

Freezing rain and ice pellets aside, it must be spring, because there were earthworms all over the bike lanes this week. Thank God for fenders.

Yes, I have finally gotten started on my 2013 cycling season. It’s pretty damp in the morning which makes it seem a lot colder than it actually is, but even so, it feels good to be on the road again. There’s just something about riding a bike that makes me feel so much younger than I feel most mornings. I turn 60 next year and a lot of mornings I feel every bit of my 59 years and then some. But this past week, riding to Guelph Little Theatre last Saturday, then to work a couple of mornings, I have felt better than I have in a long time.

Winter’s over (weather be-damned), spring is here; I’m on my bike again. Life is good.

Of course that also means that the Ride to Conquer Cancer, benefiting the Campbell Family Research Centre at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, is less than two months away (it’s happening June 8th & 9th). The next few weeks will be very busy as Team Kortright ramps up its fundraising efforts. Stay tuned for more info on these efforts in the days to come.

This week however, I am very pleased to announce that we have two new team members this year; Dr. Phil McAlister and Les Ferrier.

Many of you in the Guelph area will be familiar with Dr. Phil from his Living Healthy show (available o n YouTube) and his work at Tranquil Therapeutic Solutions on Scottsdale Drive. He’s been a cyclist both on and off road for some time and it’s great to have him on board.

Les Ferrier has been a supporter of Team Kortright all along the way and has decided to ride with us in 2013. Les is now officially the oldest member of the team and brings years of cycling experience with him (he and his wife Barb spent their honeymoon cycling) and so we are very glad to

have him on the team as well. Welcome to both Les and Phil.

On the downside however, this year even more of my friends are battling with this terrible disease.

Prominent in my mind and heart when I think on what we are trying to do with the Ride to Conquer Cancer is my friend Cindi. She is just finishing up her chemo-therapy regimen and while the treatments are much milder than they were back when my brother went through it, it’s still no walk in the park. In fact, a walk in the park takes a lot out of Cindi most days (when it happens at all), but thanks to the support of her family and friends, and especially her husband Pete, the journey to healing continues. You can read her story over at their blog “Following Jesus is Hard.”

It’s because of people like Cindi, my brother, and so many others that have both won and lost their struggle with cancer that I continue to participate in the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer. And it’s because of the far too many people you know who have and are struggling with it that I ask you to help by making a donation and sponsoring me again this year. As in past years my goal for 2013 is to raise $2500. This is the amount each rider pl

edges to raise before they enter the Ride. With nearly 5000 riders again this year I’m sure we’ll set a new record once again.

Or maybe you haven’t sponsored me before. In that case I invite you to do so for the first time. Your donation will go to continue the research and patient support at the Princess Margaret. Last year the nearly 5000 riders rose over $16 million, the largest cycling fundraiser in Canadian history. It was a remarkable experience.

So please; follow the link to my personal Ride page and make a donation. You can donate online or print out a donation form to send in with your cheque. If you get there and it happens that my $2500 goal has been reached then I would ask you to support me by sponsoring one of the other members of Team Kortright.

Thank You and may God bless.

Dennis

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You can sponsor me with a donation at the following link or by clicking the banner in the left margin.

www.conquercancer.ca/goto/dennisgray2013

After the Ride

Posted: June 19, 2012 in Cycling, Personal
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Well, it’s been over a week and I am only just now getting around to posting about how the Ride to Conquer Cancer went this year. Gives you an idea how hectic my week has been.

That said, the Ride went just great! We all had a good time; endured some rain, met a few challenges, found new friends, sweltered in the heat, ate food, drank beer, rode a lot of miles.  Team Kortright did very well raising $19,000 out of the $18.1 million raised by the collective 4,852 riders. It was all I expected it to be and then some. There was one thing however that I did not expect.

At lunch the first day a guy with a video camera comes up to my brother Alex and I and asks us a few questions about why we were doing the Ride to Conquer Cancer. It’s not unheard of; it happened to me back in 2008, the first year of the Ride. They talk to a lot of people and then spend several weeks going through the footage and putting together the promo videos for the next years Ride. There is a ton of footage that is taken but never used, so it wasn’t that big a deal. What happened the next day however, was something different.

At lunch on Day 2 the same guy spots us from across the lawn and calls out to us. He comes over and I remind him that he already spoke to us the day before. He says that’s why he’s looking for us again. He liked the footage so much and said we had such good presence that he wanted us to record a couple of scripted sound bites for use in the promos. Right now I can’t remember exactly what we said, but he spend about 10-12 minutes taping us delivering a couple of catch phrases and an invitation or two.

Alex being Interviewed on the Ride

My brother Alex being Interviewed by video promo guy during the Ride to Conquer Cancer 2012.

Alex was thrilled, grinning from ear to ear. And the video guys seemed to find him the more appealing of the two of us, of which I’m glad. I had my moment in the sun back in 2009 when I found myself part of the promo videos. I got calls from friends right across the country saying they had seen me in one or another of the ads. This year it is Alex’s turn and I couldn’t be happier. He’s an amazing guy who has always been an inspiration to his big brother. Now the whole country will get a chance to be inspired by him as well.

Once again I want to thank each and every one of you that supported Team Kortright and myself this year. You are the best of the best and we will always be grateful.

In Canada, Martin Luther King Day is all but ignored. Oh, it is mentioned on talk radio and on the news; but it is rarely forefront in our collective consciousness because it is, after all, a U.S. holiday. With it falling on a Sunday this year, yesterday I barely noticed it, being wrapped up in my duties surrounding two morning services at Kortright Church.

I am grateful then for this article by Jarrod McKenna on Tony Campolo’s Red Letter Christians blog. It is my hope that I will be deeply considering his message for some time to come.

Red Letter Christians » What Would MLK Do? Christians and Climate Change.

Seven Days to Go

Posted: June 4, 2011 in Cycling, Personal
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That’s right, seven days from now I will be on the road riding my Trek 7100 bicycle from Toronto to Niagara Falls. Well, actually, from the C.N.E. grounds to Mohawk College the first day, then off to Table Rock Park in Niagara on Sunday. Nevertheless, there’s only a week to go and the excitement is starting to build.

It will be strange this year; having been through cancer this past winter has altered my perspective.  I have a small concern about my energy levels, but I know I’ll make it though it may take longer. But I’m wondering what it will be like riding as a survivor. There are people I’ve met in previous years who will remember me if they see me and it will be interesting to see how they respond when they see the yellow flag and socks sported by survivors on the ride.

On the other hand seeing the hundreds of yellow flags sticking up from the crowd of 5000 riders at the starting line is a testament to the success of cancer research over the years. More and more people are surviving this terrible disease, and it’s because of research being done with dollars raised through events like the Ride to Conquer Cancer.

There is a small development on the side effects front. I was told that the radiation would kill off a bunch of the hair follicles in my face rendering my beard history. However, last week I noticed when I was saving that most of them are actually functioning again! The only ones that seem to be affected are lower down in an area I usually shave anyway when I trim my beard back. So, much to Roberta’s relief, I’m growing the beard back. She never has liked me clean shaven.

Getting back to the Ride to Conquer Cancer, I’m at the 80% mark in my fundraising and have such a short way to go to reach my goal of $2500 in donations. If everyone who sees clicks on the banner at right and contributes just $10 I’ll reach and surpass that goal with plenty to spare. So much in fact that if you go to my personal page and find I have reached my goal, please support one of the other members of Team Kortright is has not on my behalf.

I know, I’m really pushing the donation thing, but it is only Seven Days and counting!

Thanks everyone!

Shalom.

It never ceases to amaze me that in times of amazing human suffering somebody says something that can be so utterly stupid.

Such was the response of White House spokesman Robert Gibbs to the declaration by ‘700 Club ‘ and ‘CBN’ founder Pat Robertson that the earthquake in Haiti was another in a long line of natural disasters brought on by a “pact with the devil” Haitians made some two centuries ago.  The White House Press Secretary is absolutely right, but what bothers me is how often that something “so utterly stupid” is said by a minister of God.

There’s no denying that many times in the Old Testament God used a variety of ‘natural disasters’ to chastise one nation or another; so it is certainly understandable that many would question if God is still working that way today.  What I question however; is anyone’s ability to accurately discern which events are God in action and which are the natural consequence of a world that no longer works according to the original design? And even if you have reason to believe that a given event may, in fact, be the consequences of spiritual decisions made centuries ago, how can you possibly think saying so at a time when emotions are obviously running high can be of any help, either to the victims or to the cause of Christ?

It is just this kind of spiritual thoughtlessness that casts Christians and the gospel in a light not as a message of love and redemption, but rather one of judgment and condemnation. Daily Show host Jon Stewart actually hit the nail on the head during last night’s program. After reading a number of quotes from the Bible that spoke of the love and comfort of God, eg. “Turn to me and I will comfort you” Stewart looks straight into the camera and says to Robertson,

Out of all the things that you could draw on from your religion to bring comfort to a devastated people and region, you decided to go with, ‘Tough kitties, devil folk!’

Now I’m sure that this was not the spirit in which Robertson made the statements he made; the problem is that’s how it almost always comes across.  And while Robertson seems to have a substantial track record in this regard, he is not alone. All too often we as Christians think we have to expound on everything the scriptures have to say on any given situation we encounter, and more often than not all that’s needed is a simple, “Don’t be afraid. God Loves You!”

Throughout all of Scripture, God’s messengers most frequently begin their message to the people with these simple words, “Do not be afraid!” Do not be afraid, God will deliver you.  Do not be afraid, God will bless you.  Even while telling his disciples of the terrible things that were to come (including earthquakes) Jesus told them not to be afraid.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  – John 16:33 NIV

Now I know some of you are wondering, “Okay, but Haiti gets hit a lot. What if Robertson is right?” Well I’m wondering, does it really matter? Does why the earthquake hit let us off the hook for being compassionate? Are we called to help and encourage only those whose ancestors had their act together? I don’t think so.

I do think the Bible calls us to be the presence of Christ in this world.  And I do think that means to feed the hungry, heal the sick and mend the brokenhearted regardless of how they got into their situation. And I also think that if the children of God can’t do this without saying things that make them sound spiritually knowledgeable, but end up doing more harm than good, then maybe God’s children should be seen and not heard!