This was produced by our friends at SKATE4SPOHNC and thought we’d share it with you.
20 September 2009
It was dark at 6:00 in the morning. The sun was more than an hour from rising above the tree line by the river. An owl hooted in the distance. The stars were brilliant in the brisk morning air and the camp fire was kindled with mesquite charcoal.
No, this is not the opening of some cheap western novel; but it was the beginning of the wonderful story of a daunting challenge and a test of physical endurance. An individual can make a difference. An individual with a little help from family and friends can make a very big difference.
In our story, that individual is Rick Agee, a relatively new member of the Mid-Cities SPOHNC chapter in Dallas. Rick came up with a remarkable idea and dedicated himself to a remarkable feat. Rick created a plan for a SPOHNC fund raiser which included him grinding out 100 kilometers on his inline skates (that’s a little better than sixty miles, folks)!
Would he do it? Could he do it? There were doubters, but there were also believers, enough believers to surround him with support and encouragement at every turn. As the clock struck 7:00 AM, Rick took off on his well measured course. He would attempt to skate seven laps of nine miles each from Richardson Grove Park on the Campion Trails. At sixty-three miles, that would better his goal of 100K.
On each lap, skaters, bikers, runners and walkers would join in or drop off as Rick soldiered past the pavilion base camp for the event. The pavilion was buzzing with activity from early morning with volunteers hanging the banners, serving up coffee and muffins, icing down the water bottles, preparing the food to feed the masses and cheering Rick on as he passed by on each lap.
Joining us for the day was Mrs. International 2009, Armaiti Shahidi Fitzgerald. Arma is also the Founder and President of the Fight Oral Cancer Foundation (www.FightOralCancer.org). She graciously posed for pictures with eager attendees while assisting her husband, Dr. Lee Fitzgerald, DDS, who generously offered his services for free oral cancer screenings.
Dr. Fitzgerald carefully screened numerous attendees. Among those screened, he discovered 5 suspicious spots on various individuals and encouraged them to seek further diagnosis from their personal doctors.
In addition to the oral cancer screenings, Cathy Seigel of Dallas Zen Massage was in attendance giving free upper body massages for all comers. She also relieved a lot of post exertion stress for several of the marathon participants. Her services were well and truly appreciated.
The SPOHNC efforts were extremely well supported by the Pegasus Flyers Inline Skate Group. Their skaters rallied in large numbers to support this fund raiser for SPOHNC. Members of this fine organization paced Rick as he skated while offering encouragement and driving him ever onward. They were a great spiritual motivation for Rick and their presence was a big key to his success.
Volunteers from the Mid-Cities SPOHNC chapter worked throughout the event along with numerous other volunteers supplying food preparation, keeping the water bottles iced down, photography, counting laps, logging in participants and visitors and all the many other duties that are required for a successful event of this nature.
After the coffee and muffins in the morning, lunch consisted of Angus beef burgers cooked over mesquite charcoal, BBQ ribs, chopped BBQ beef, chicken & rice soup, hot dogs, cookies and all the accompaniments. Rick’s brother, Kerry, and his friend Mike were the expert chefs for the day. There was no charge for any of the food or drinks as much of it was donated.
Well, did Rick accomplish his goal? You’re darned right he did! Rick completed his 100K about 7 hours after he started. To say he was tired would be an understatement. Moreover, he made a strong statement through his tenacity, endurance and will to complete the ambitious undertaking he started.
After event revelry was convened at K’s Old Fashion Hamburgers in Dallas.
Many products and services were donated and given away as door prizes or via raffle drawings. Financial Sponsors and Prize Donors for the event included ADS Sports Eyewear, Agee Brothers, All American Press, BigTex.com, Bruce Miller Nurseries, Biggerstaff Construction Co., Brunelli Family Dentistry, Canyon Creek Country Club, Club Schmitz, Cooper Aerobics Center, Crawford Supply, Chambers Nursery, Carol’s Cards and Gifts, Dallas Eurocars, Dr. Lee Fitzgerald, The Golf Club at Twin Creeks, Dallas Zen Massage, Design Maintenance Construction, Edwin L. Cox, Fight Oral Cancer Foundation, Floratech Wholesale Nursery, Gardeners in Community Development, Harold Duncan, Ph.D., Jamba Juice, Jim Bellinghausen, Joe’s Pizza & Subs, K’s Old Fashion Hamburgers, K2 Sports, Oakridge Country Club, Plan B, Preston Royal Clinic, Professional Nutrition Therapists, Pegasus Flyers, RockwallSignsAndWraps.Com, Rollerblade, Rosemeade Market & Greenhouse, Southwest Wholesale Nursery, Stone River Landscape, Strong Travel Services, Telos Fitness Center, Tupinamba Mexican Food Supreme, Two Men and A Truck, Tsada Yoga, Traeger Grill, and Wire Hare Designs. Our sincere thanks are extended to one and all.
The event was covered by local television media and was featured on the evening news in Dallas, Fort Worth and the surrounding metropolitan area. This was good exposure for SPOHNC and hopefully it will lead to increased awareness of our mission and interest in our local chapters.
Financially, the event was a success far beyond Rick’s initial expectations. Donations were received from numerous businesses, individuals and groups.
When asked whether he intended to make this an annual event, Rick suggested we ask that question of him some time later. Knowing Rick as we do, we strongly suspect we’ll see a repeat event next year.
Rick enjoyed the FULL support of his family for this challenge. His mother, brother and sister were in attendance and actively involved. Various family members were very instrumental from the initial planning through execution of the event. We all know how important our family support is and Rick certainly enjoyed it in huge helpings on this occasion.
On behalf of the Mid-Cities chapter of SPOHNC, we want to thank all the volunteers, participants, donors and supporters of the SKATE4SPOHNC-2009 event. Not only was it a very successful program, we heightened the awareness of Oral, Head & Neck Cancer in a way that will be memorable for a lot of people for a long time.
Cheap western novel……..I don’t think so.
Larry Menkhoff, Arlington, TX
Together we fight oral cancer. Together we save a life every hour.