The following is a story from LIVESTRONG Challenge Fundraising Mentor, Russ Dudley. Russ lives in Northern Virginia and has taken part in many LIVESTRONG events. Join Russ at the 2012 LIVESTRONG Challenge in Philly this August. Can’t make it to Philly? There are many events you can take part in with Team LIVESTRONG. Go to www.teamlivestrong.org to learn more about our run, walk, ride and tri events.
“Capitol on the left.”
“I’ll see you at the halfway point and then in the park, if the L train is running.”
“Cattle guard up!”
“What do you think, Mr. Pork Chop or Pastafari today?”
“If it ain’t raining or sweltering, it ain’t Philadelphia.”
These are all phrases I’ve uttered at some point in my life, thanks to Team LIVESTRONG. Ever since I was diagnosed with testicular cancer nearly 6 years ago, I’ve been participating in Team LIVESTRONG events in some form or another. I’m sure many of these phrases will strike a chord with the blog readers, as so many have participated in the Austin and Philadelphia Challenges, the NYC Marathon, and my beloved RAGBRAI.
For all those seasoned TLS veterans, there are also plenty of newbies. You, dear reader, might be one. Maybe this year you decided to complete a lifelong goal and signed up for the Chicago Marathon or signed up for the Davis Challenge as a sign of solidarity with a friend or family member fighting cancer. Up to this point, your longest run ever might have been to catch a bus or maybe you’ve never, ever asked anyone for money.
That’s ok, the Team LIVESTRONG mentors are here to help.
For most of my years participating in Team LIVESTRONG events, I have also served as a volunteer mentor. Team LIVESTRONG mentors are volunteers that have participated in past events and have a strong understanding of fundraising techniques and the LIVESTRONG mission. We support the amazing LIVESTRONG staff that work on the endurance and Challenge events and are here to help answer your questions on training, logistics, and fundraising.
Being a mentor is an incredible experience. As a mentor, I often get to help guide people through their first TLS experience. I encourage my mentees to continue their training, I inform them of the many wonderful programs their efforts fund, and I remind them to thank the donors that support them. I ask them to share their stories with me and when they do, I listen. As much as I try to inspire my mentees, they inspire me even more.
Helping people get the most out of their TLS experience brings me back to my first LIVESTRONG Challenge. I feel the physical pain of pushing my body’s threshold, I cry when the emotion of the event washes over me, and I experience the rush of elation and accomplishment when I cross that finish line. It reminds me that we’re all in this fight together. Whether you are participating in your first or your twenty-first TLS event this year, I encourage you to take advantage of the mentor program. I truly believe that everyone benefits from it. After all, who else is going to tell you, “Be sure to stop at Beekman’s!”
LIVESTRONG Fundraising Mentor
Six Year Testicular Cancer Survivor