Chuck Hofrock's Team In Training Page
Swim, Bike and Run in the Race to Save Lives
My sister, Cheryl Cummins
As you can see above, I have reached (and exceeded) my fund raising goal. Please don't let that deter you from making a donation. There is always a need for additional resources in the fight against cancer.
So, If you are visiting for the first time, please take a few minutes to read the information I have here.
But before making your donation, consider helping out my friend Capt. Dawn Golding, USAF with her fund raising efforts. My fund raising is going well enough that I will have no problem making my goal. But, she could use a boost. Besides, she IS the one who got me started here. Lets see if we can give her some encouragement!!
Your donation will still go towards finding a cure for Blood Cancers and you'll also be helping her make her goal.
(Click here to help Dawn with her fund raising)
With your help Dawn has now made her goal. She and I are now shifting our efforts to helping Shari and Ben Wallace. Click on their names to be taken to their websites. There are links in the updates section as well.
Thanks so much to everyone for their generosity. Remember it all goes into the same bucket in the end. To find a cure for Blood Cancers.
I am training to compete in my first ever Triathlon (yes, at age 40). This will also be my first endurance event since completing a half marathon 18 years ago. The event is the James O'Rourke Memorial Triathlon taking place in North Platte, Nebraska on April 29th, 2007. It’s what they call a ‘Sprint’ Triathlon consisting of a 500 meter swim, 14 mile bike ride, and a 3.1 mile run.Easy day, right?
I will be participating in honor of my sister, Cheryl Cummins. Some of you may already know that she was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia in October of 2005. She has been in a fairly constant battle with the disease since. Dealing with the effects of Chemo Therapy, Full Body Radiation Treatments, fevers, low blood counts, weeks and months away from her children, long hospital stays, the list goes on and on. Through it all, she has remained strong and resolute. Her courage and strength of character have been an inspiration to those around her. (if you really want to know why I am doing this, check out this website: http://cherylsfight.blogspot.com )
She began her treatment at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her positive attitude was so inspirational to the staff that the Nurses would fight to get her as a patient. One day, one of the Housekeepers, who knew Cheryl, was working on a different floor, but she took time out of her break because she wanted to be the person to clean Cheryl’s room. Those are just a couple examples of how she touched the lives of the people who work with cancer patients all day, everyday.
On the other side of the coin, Cheryl received outstanding care at UW. Each and every one of the staff members earned a much deserved, Thank You!!! Our family can not begin to express how much we appreciate the quality of care she recieved.
Throughout her treatment Cheryl has been sending e-mail updates to church members, family and friends. I'm working on compiling all the updates to put them on a separate website dedicated to Cheryl. That is where you will get a true sense of what a remarkable person she is. Please check back to find the link for that page. As promised it is here: http://cherylsfight.blogspot.com
This is a picture of Cheryl with our sister Sandy (a.k.a 'The Donor'). This picture was taken the night prior to Cheryl's Stem Cell Transplant. At that point she had just finished a full week of (very strong) Chemo followed by 5 days of 3 times daily full body radiation treatments. And still she was smiling. The smile wasn't just for the camera either, she was smiling and laughing the entire 3 days that I was able to spend with her.
Sandy was the Stem Cell donor for Cheryl’s transplant. She also donated the Lymphocytes for the Donor Lymphocyte Infusion Cheryl had when her cancer returned after the first transplant. In addition to the donated blood products, Sandy also gave a large chunk of her time. Traveling back and forth from Denver to Madison. Many times just to sit with Cheryl. Giving up personal time with her two young daughters.
Now it’s my turn to contribute to the cause. Although I was not able to be involved in the transplant or infusion processes, which benefited Cheryl directly, I have found something I can do. But, I need your help. So, hopefully we can do this together. In order to make it to the competition, I need to raise a minimum of $1500 in donations for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).
YIKES!!! $1500!!! Sounds like a lot of money doesn’t it? Well, when you run it through a calculator, it becomes much less intimidating. If I can convince 60 people to donate $25 each… Walla… $1500. But, as we all know, the minimum just isn't good enough. That's why I have set my personal goal at $1800. I still think we can pull this off together. No problems!!!
100% of your donation is tax deductible and 100% goes directly to LLS. Funds raised by the Nebraska Chapter of LLS are used to support research being conducted by Dr. Christine M. Eischen. She is a researcher at the Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer and Allied Diseases on the campus of the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Upon reaching my fundraising goal, LLS will provide my travel, lodging, and entry fee for the event. They also provide me with a certified trainer and other education to prepare for the event. LLS uses funds from corporate sponsors as the main source to cover travel and training expenses. Please be assured that at least 75 cents of every dollar you donate goes towards patient assistance and research of Leukemia and related blood cancers.
If you don’t feel you can make a $25 donation, that’s fine. Every dollar you can give helps me get closer to my goal and helps LLS get closer to finding a cure. Of course,larger donations are certainly welcome ; -)
So, please donate as much or as little as you feel inspired to donate. If you are not comfortable donating online, you can write a check, payable to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and mail it to me at:
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
c/o Chuck Hofrock
2752 S. 12th St
Lincoln, NE 68502
Now I need to say Thank You to my friend Capt. Dawn Golding, USAF for finding the information about TNT and encouraging me to participate. She will also be competing the James O'Rourke Memorial Triathlon. If you would like to make a donation toward her goal you can visit her page by clicking here. Or mail a check made payable to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to:
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
c/o Dawn Golding
2752 S. 12th St
Lincoln, NE 68502
Likewise, if you would like to donate to other Nebraska Team in Training participants, simply click here. In the end, it all goes in the same bucket to help find a cure and to assist those diagnosed with blood cancers.
Finally I want to Thank you for supporting The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and assiting me in my efforts.
If you would like to contact me for additional information about any of this or about Cheryl, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also,if you know Cheryl and have inspirational stories about her that you would like to have posted send them to me. I can't guarantee that I will be able to post them all, but I will put up as many as I can.
What is Leukemia?
- Leukemia occurs when immature blood cells accumulate in an uncontrolled manner in the bone marrow.
- Ten times as many adults as children are stricken with leukemia. More than half are over the age of 60.
- Leukemia causes more deaths in U.S. children under the age of 14 than any other disease.
- 25 years ago 5% of children diagnosed with leukemia survived. Today it is 80% and 94% for those with Hodgkin's disease.
- Since 1960, the five year survival for all leukemia patients has tripled from 14% to 42%.
How is your donation spent?
The following explains the Functional expense statement of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society:
- Patient Service Programs/Community Service 28.3%
- Research Support & National Programs 25.2%
- Public Health/Education 17.5%
- Fund Raising 17.4%
- Management & General 6.8%
- Professional Education 4.8%
- 2 Feb 2007 @ 3 p.m.
- Fundraising -- WOW!!! You people are amazing. Less than 24 hours into my fundraising and I am already at the $200 mark with an average donation of $33.33, Well above my target. Keep up the good work!!!
A special Thanks to Cathie Boyle, she was the first person to submit her donation (41 min. after I sent the e-mail). Cathie, thanks for firing the 'Starting Pistol' on this race!!!
- 3 Feb
- Training -- Well, I survived our first group training session. There are only 4 of us from Lincoln who are training for Triathlons. One of the Ladies are training for an Olympic Tri (1 mile swim in open water, Bike 25 miles, run 6.2 miles).
We worked on swimming, and it's a good thing we started early on that. Swimming is definitely what I need to work on most. I don't have any problems staying above ground when biking or running, but I do have problems staying above water when swimming. Eric is our Coach and he showed us some drills to work on in our individual training sessions.
I was kind of surprised by how unwilling the Lincoln gyms seem to be to provide discounted passes for TNT members. The Omaha team was telling me about several gyms that have offered them discounts. So, if anyone knows of a pool that we can use, that would help tremendously.
As for my own swimming ability, I'm glad my coach is optimistic. I am too, but it's always nice to have someone reassure you. I have a long road to go in this area. But, at least I have the advantage of knowing exactly how long it is. Unlike Cheryl who can only take each day as it comes.
- 7 Feb 2007 @ 5 pm
- Fundraising -- I was going to wait a full week before making another comment about the fund raising. But I just can't hold my tongue any longer!!!
THIS IS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!! I am in complete awe of the response and your generousity. Less than a week into the program and I'm already approaching the halfway mark and the average donation is almost double my target ($47.37). I can not express enough how much this means to me and my family.
You guys are serious over-achievers!!!
- Training -- I did my first individual Swim training session this morning. I don't know how I ever managed the annual swim quals in the Marine Corps. I think there is something about my name Hof-ROCK that makes it difficult. Of course, I could be like I told Sandy (The Donor) in an e-mail a couple days ago, "Who knew that faking a headache at swim lessons as a kid would come back to bite me 30 years later." Now THERE is a lesson in Integrity!!!
Despite the ruff workout, I have renewed ambition after talking to Cheryl on the phone this evening. She had just gotten back from Clinic. She had hoped to hear something about a final date for her battle, but instead was told that it is going to be a long slow process.
Even still, she was in good spirits. Looking at the bright side of things. I decided I have no excuses. If she can have that much energy and she isn't even producing her own blood cells yet, then I need to just (as she would say) "Suck it up and drive on buddy!!!"
Cheryl, thanks for another shot of inspiration.
- 10 Feb 2007
- Training -- I completed my first transition training this morning. Hehehe... Listen to me making up stuff to sound like I know what I'm talking about. That term, transition training, is just what I call it. I really don't know what the real term is, if there even is one.
Anyway, this morning I swam 325 meters (with a few breaks, but all of it was swimming). Then hit the stationary bike for 20 min, and on to the treadmill for 15 min. By the time I got to the treadmill, I was spent. So, most of the 15 min was walking.
But, I am more convinced than ever that I can actually do this thing. On Race Day, I expect that the bike will take about 50-55 min, and the run will take about 27 min. But, I will have to go at a much faster pace than I did today. So, I still have a long way to go, but a little hard work should pull me through.
- 14 Feb 2007
- General -- I was helping a co-worker with a spreadsheet this morning. She was in tears thinking that she had lost all the data in it and it had taken her 50+ hours to compile it all. After I was able to recover it for her, she told me, "Sometimes I get a little emotional about stuff like this, then I think about what your sister must be going through. It puts things in perspective for me."
Even 500 miles away, Cheryl is touching the lives of people she has never met.
- 17 Feb 2007
- General -- Here is a picture of all 3 of us (myself, Cheryl, and "The Donor") enjoying the chocolate buffet (Sorry Coach) at the Peninsula Hotel in Chicago. The plan was that I was going to go donate platlets for Cheryl since she needs HLA matched (whatever that means). As it turns out, I am not a match (I always suspected I was adopted ; ).
Thanks to Nadia. A complete stranger who agreed to take the picture with her camera (she did a wonderful job) and e-mail it to me. It's heartwarming to know there are still some good people out there.
- 22 Feb 2007
- Fundraising -- OK... I know it has been a long time since my last update. So, I wanted to put in a couple comments.
I am still getting donations trickling in, and that is great. A couple things I didn't point out initially, my goal ($1800) is not a limit. There is always a need for more resources in the fight against cancer, so don't feel limited. Also, I know some of you are concerned that you don't want the whole world knowing how much you donated. Well, the site lets you make anonymous donations. Your name and amount will not even show on the ticker at the left. Finally, don't feel obligated by the $25 dollar per donor goal I had. If you want to give just a few bucks, GREAT!!! The site will allow you to give as little as $1, and every little bit helps.
- Training -- Well, I had my first swim lesson this evening. I decided I needed a little more personalized and intense instruction than my TNT coach would be able to provide. We worked on just getting my breathing rhythm in sync. YIKES!!! It certainly looks easier than it is. Actually it probably IS easy, I just have some bad habits I need to break. I'm anxious to get off this 'pool water' diet. hehehe
So kids, let this be a lesson to you... Stay in swim lessons!!! Oh, and stay in school too 8-)
- 23 Feb 2007
- Training -- Confession time... I skipped my workout today to work on some fund raising stuff. Then I took time to check out the Blog for one of the TNT Nebraska honored patients. Kerstin is the Honored Hero for the Lincoln Century Bike Team. What a powerful story. I can only imagine how frightening it must be for a child to face a disease like Leukemia and the treatments that they have to endure.
One thing is for certain. It is far more frightening than dealing with a little water in my face while swimming. Kerstin's story gave another shot of motivation. I WILL conquer the swim. I have no right to complain about anything.
Click here to read Kerstin's blog and you'll understand.
- 1 Mar 2007
- General -- BIG NEWS!!!! The website I promised with Cheryl's updates is now up and working. You can go to http://cherylsfight.blogspot.com and read, in her own words what she has endured since October of 2005. I promise you will need a fresh box of kleenex.
- 5 Mar 2007
- Fundraising -- VICTORY!!!! I recieved a VERY generous donation from Dave Arcellano last night, which pushed me over my fund raising goal. Thank You Dave for your generousity.
Thanks to all of you, the fund raising was less painful than I thought it would be. You have all been impressive in your giving, but please don't stop now. Consider making a donation to help out one of the other Nebraska TNT Athletes. Once again I would direct you to my friend Capt. Dawn Golding, USAF.
Additionally, Shari Wallace and Ben Wallace are a married couple working their way to the Philladelphia Triathlon. In order to compete, they need to raise nearly $9000.00. So, they could certainly use any help you can give.
- 8 Mar 2007
- Fundraising -- I'm going out on a limb here and I'm going to declare VICTORY for my friend Dawn. She hasn't recorded all the checks I have been sent on her behalf, so I think when she does she is going to be very close to her minimum.
It is simply amazing how everyone has stepped up to the challenge and been very generous with their donations. If you are still wanting to donate, Shari and Ben Wallace can still use you help. They have a very long way to go. Their competition isn't until June, but $9000 dollars is a lot of money to raise even with that much time. So, please help them out if you can.
- Training -- Well, I had my second swim lesson tonight (last week was cancelled due to a blizzard, today 50 degrees). My instructor said she was impressed with my progress. It's amazing what you can get someone to say if you pay them $14 an hour ;-)
We also did some drown proofing drills to try to get my body position a little higher in the water. Then she was amazed at how fast I sank to the bottom. Now they want to hire me to help train their lifeguards. I'm not sure that would be very nice to make someone swim down to pick up a 230lb brick off the bottom of the pool.
So, it just goes to show... It's not my imagination. I do have trouble staying afloat. I originally thought it was because I have a lead butt. But, the last time I donated blood, they did the iron test on my blood and the tech was shocked at how fast my blood sank in their test vile. She said that's because my blood is VERY Iron rich. So, just maybe I don't have a lead butt. I just have heavy blood.
Whatever it is, it certainly is not conducive to an efficient swimming stroke.
- 11 Mar 2007
- Training -- Part of the registration form for the Triathlon, asks for an estimated swim time. I had no idea so, I went to the pool and swam 500 meters (not all at once of course). Good thing the pool we are going to be swimming in is only 4 ft deep. I see a fair amount of 'Water Walking' (not walking ON water, but IN) in my future.
I never thought I would see the day when I would look forward to going to the pool for a swim. So far, I haven't seen anything that changes that. Then again, I don't suppose Cheryl much looks forward to yet another needle stick, or having her hip bone drilled yet again for a bone marrow biopsy, or seeing that next, not last, bag of chemo being hung on the IV pole. So, I really can't complain. At least I'll be able to put my feet down and rest while I walk, she just has to push through. There is no resting allowed when you're fighting cancer.
- 25 Mar 2007
- Training -- Well, I did my first actual 'BRIck' yesterday. It was explained to me this way 'B'ike + 'R'un = 'Ick!!!'. I don't know who came up with that little ditty, but that would have to be the understatement of the century. I never dreamed it would be so difficult to make the switch from biking to runing. My legs fealt like they were filled with lead (now we're back to the swiming issues. hehehe).
The real issue is that there is only 5 weeks left until the competetion... Hmmm... Maybe I should start refering to it as an event and not a competetion. There is nobody I am going to be able to compete with. Especially if I don't make some drastic improvements in the next 35 days.
- General -- There is some good news. Cheryl was dismissed from the hospital on Thursday. I'm still hopeful that she will be able to make the trip to the event.
Also, my family is being VERY supportive of my efforts. Sandy "The Donor" sent me an e-mail warning me of the risk of stroke and heart attack in men my age. Then my nephew Curtis, who is an EMT, e-mailed asking what time the event started. He wanted to make sure he was there on time to be on medical stand-by for me. I explained that there are 'Heats' and the slower people start first. So, I should be in the first 'Heat' at about 8:30am. The faster people won't start until about 2:30pm or 3:00pm. I hope to be discharged from the Emergency Room by then. hehehe
It's nice that they are so concerned for me.