The Fitzy's at the end of the Ride
WE DID IT!!
First of all a MASSIVE "Thank you!" to absolutely every single one of you who donated to our Ride and who has ploughed on through these updates without falling asleep. This one is a bit of a ?War and Peace? but as its the last one I hope you will keep going.
Last weekend saw me and 1218 other brilliant people complete the 2012 WA Ride to Conquer Cancer, raising $4.6 million in the process! Together, we (you) raised $37,923 for the West Australian Institute for Medical Research. It is just staggering to me that this could be achieved and that people all across the globe will come together, as you have done, to support such an important cause. Both Lisa and I want to genuinely thank you for digging deep and joining us on our journey. Its by no means over yet (as you will hopefully read below) but last weekend marked a very special point on that journey.
Right then, how is Lisa right now? Well, she had her second round of chemo and whilst it has taken her a week to get over this last session, she is now feeling stronger and more able to be up and about doing things. This is of course great to see because the dogs havent been out for a week, me and the kids are starving and the poor dears are having to go to school in fancy dress because the laundry isnt getting done.
As an interesting aside, this morning (Wed 24th) we went to a breakfast forum organised by the Scott Kirkbride Melanona Research Centre (SKMRC) which saw some of the world?s leading melanoma experts put into the same room as melanoma patients, other clinicians, researchers etc in order to share information, provide the opportunity for questions and so on. We had specifically wanted to go and learn more about what else might be out there for Lisa now that she?s had to come off the BRAF inhibitor trial. We?ve been told that the chemo is pretty much the only route left, but it transpires that this may not necessarily be the case and it is possible, but not yet certain by any means, that there may be other trials out there that could help us.
We?ve spoken today with the very people who are leading the way in terms of melanoma treatment and research and as such, Lisa and I hope to soon be going to Melbourne and also Sydney for "second opinions / case reviews" to ascertain and confirm exactly what options for trials there may be, if indeed there are any just now in other states within Australia, now that the WAIMR trial is no longer an option for us. Again I stress that there may be no trials that are relevant or open to us but we do have a way of finding out for sure, one way or the other and that is a very positive thing in our view.We left the meeting in a real state of positivity and I must thank the many caring, brilliant people from SKMRC, WAIMR and Melanoma WA who facilitated Lisa and I getting infront of the right people at that session. Opportunities like that are so very important and I?m glad to say we were able to grasp it with both hands. On the family front, because the meeting was at breakfast time and a good hour away from home, our girls had a sleepover at a friend?s house, so thanks also to Sarah for looking after our little ladies and getting them to school on time. Without her, this morning couldn?t have happened.
I see that I have drifted off a bit here (not like me then), so back to the Ride last Saturday/Sunday. Well, the kick off on Saturday was once again too early for the kids (Lucy said ?I?d love to come but its just too early!?) so they were on another sleepover, meaning that Lisa could come down and wave me off as the representative for all you fabulous lot.
The start, and indeed the whole weekend was an emotional event with speeches from people touched by cancers like melanoma, and with many participants being cancer survivors themselves. I was part of the Melanoma WA team, ably led by Clint Heal who had got us some cracking cycling jerseys and caps sorted out. I?ve never worn a cycling cap before under my helmet, but am a firm fan now!
It was a very slow start from the off due to the sheer volumes of riders and the pace continued to be slow-stop, until we were able to spread out a bit more. Nobody minded though and the atmosphere was very happy and friendly. I had purposefully started right at the backwith the intention of bimbling down on Saturday, then beasting myself on the ride back up on Sunday in order to at least do something to earn your hard earned donations! This was pretty much how it panned out and all the way down and back we were all able to chat with other riders and encourage each other along, having a laugh at the same time and enjoying the fabulous weather provided by the nice WA weather man on telly.
So, after a cracking 95km ride down to Pinjarra on Saturday, we spent the night on a sports oval, with a field of tents provided for accommodation, as well as a great free massage, a couple of free beers, some nice food and lots of good company. The only downside of the tented accommodation was that from about midnight I slept very little due to the cacophony of snoring that was surrounding us on all sides. It was like lying down in a field full of bullfrogs, though on the positive side, I did a book I have been reading for a while and I also got up and had a great shower at 2 in the morning!
Sunday dawned and we were all ready to go by about 630 after a light breakfast and a good half hour spent searching for my cycling gloves which I never found. Having seen and ridden through the backlog of riders on the road on the way down I and a mate, Rob decided to move up towards the front and work to get clear early on. For part of the way the route wound along some relatively narrow cycle paths which would make any kind of pace impossible should there be a large number of people there so if we wanted to work hard, we?d need to be up there.
At 0640 we set off and quickly kicked it up a few gears and after about 10 km were able to kick it up again as we picked up a few folk who were up for some faster group riding. We worked hard and fast (for us anyway), all the time riding into a headwind which got stronger as the morning progressed.
By 85km I?d averaged about 33km/hr which is pretty good for me and especially with the headwind, but I was getting along a little too quickly as Lisa had only just picked the kids up and they were a good 55 mins from the finish! So, I slowed down a bit, had a nice stop and chat here and there and met up with other friends I?d made either before or on the Ride, finally coming in to finish after 110kms of brilliant riding from Pinjarra to Perth.
The finish line itself was an amazing experience.. Lisa, the girls and some friends were there to meet us and it was soooo good to see them. Another brilliant massage, just one free beer this time and a burger, all served to round of the event along with seeing some fabulous people doing amazing things.
So, the Ride is over with for this year and I must mention some special folk. A big shout out must go to Jayne from the RtCC team who organised the whole event. Jayne and also a former friend and colleague called Jariya who has since moved on, were our first points of contact on the Ride and both Lisa and I think so very highly of them both, but Jayne in particular. Jayne was at the start and finish of the event, plus at many stops in between, working tirelessly along with the huge numbers of other helpers and volunteers without whom this event could not have happened. Jayne caertainly has a place in both mine and Lisa?s heart for the way in which she has looked after us at every step of the way.
Big shouts also to Rob Mathieson, a friend and riding partner from our girls old primary school; to Todd the ex-Aussie rules player we met en-route; to Clint and the rest of the Melanoma WA team; to Shane of the MACA team who we rode part way with; to Jerome Gallagher who I shared a tent with and who was one of the ?polka dot jersey? winners for being one of the highest fundraisers; to the ?Team Calibre? blokes who pulled me along a bit on Sunday when my legs were knackered; to the masseurs for giving up their time; to whoever put my tent up, took it down again, put the toilets and showers there, cooked thee food, made me a coffee and to anyone else I have not mentioned but should have done. I can assure you am equally grateful to all.
Finally, (about flippin time I hear you say), thanks to Lisa, Eve and Lucy for providing meaning to everything I do and everything I want to do, I love you ladies.
Thats it then for this year. We embark on the next stage of our journey to see if we can find other opportunities for new trials to be a part of and if you want to know how we are getting on, either send me a "friend request" on Facebook or drop me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will certainly respond. If youd like some pics of the event then send me an e-mail as I am going to put a pdf file together to send.
You lot are a brilliant bunch of people who have made a massive difference so please go open up a beer, have a glass of wine or pour yourselves a dram and enjoy the moment as you think about how your $37, 923 will positively impact someone?s life.
Take care, make time for those you love and always, always ?enjoy the now?.
Nick, Lisa, Eve and Lucy
FINAL PRE-RIDE UPDATE FRIDAY 19TH OCTOBER 2012
Well, we're all ready for tomorrow and the big send off at 0645 from Perth. Lisa is coming down to see me off but it's a little early for the girls (so they say), so they're on a sleepover tonight at a friends house.
I'm very much looking forward to the whole event and whilst the Ride itself may not seem like a 'beast' when compared with other cycling or endurance events, what it means to us is so much more important. It means hope for others families like ours, through funding for immensely important research. Already the trial that Lisa was involved in and others like it are being built upon with further trials using that same drug coupled with other drugs thought to delay the development of the cancer resistance. Things are moving and moving (relatively) quickly, and it is through your own personal generosity that people will live longer, happier lives of a quality that has previously not been available to melanoma sufferers.
My Ride this weekend is for Lisa, for Eve and Lucy, for our families and for every one of you who has so kindly dug deep into your pockets to support our journey. I'm going to have a ball I'm sure (there's even a free bar at the overnight camp!), but this event is about thanking those who have paved the way before us and for those who have yet to find themselves on this same path.
I will come back and let you know how things have gone, but I wanted to share with you, a little story that's doing the rounds at the moment but just in case you've not seen it, read on 'cos it's worth it!!
Take care everyone, thanks again from both Lisa and I for your wonderful support and I'll be back in 200km's time...
Mayonnaise Jar & Two Beers...
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.
When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.
He then asked the students if the jar was full.
They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly.
The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.
He then asked the students again if the jar was full.
They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.
Of course, the sand filled up everything else.
He asked once more if the jar was full.
The students responded with a unanimous 'yes.'
The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.
The students laughed..
'Now,' said the professor as the laughter subsided, 'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.
The golf balls are the important things---your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions---and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.
The sand is everything else---the small stuff.
'If you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued, 'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.
The same goes for life.
If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.
Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.
Spend time with your children.
Spend time with your parents.
Visit with grandparents.
Take time to get medical checkups.
Take your spouse out to dinner.
Play another 18.
There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.
Take care of the golf balls first---the things that really matter.
Set your priorities.
The rest is just sand.
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented.
The professor smiled and said, 'I'm glad you asked.'
The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.
IMPORTANT UPDATE 2ND OCTOBER 2012
It's been a long while since our last update (I'm sorry for that) and things have been going well up until the time of our last scan which was a couple of weeks ago now. We went into the meeting with the Prof who is leading the trial in WA, in a buoyant and extremely positive mood, with Lisa having just recently gone back to BodyBalance instructing as well as doing other classes herself. She was feeling very well and because of this we were shocked to hear from the Prof that Lisa's melanoma had become resistant to the BRAF inhibitor and begun to grow again. It was like hearing the news for the first time, almost a year to the day from our first diagnosis and the words I have at my fingertips can't get close to describing how that felt. Lisa was taken off the trial and has since undergone her first session of chemo which is now the remaining avenue of treatment that is open to us. Melanoma is notoriously resistant to chemo but we remain hopeful and collectively positive that Lisa will be one of those for whom it makes a difference. She is an amazing lady, so why not?!
Talk about rollercoaster ride. We have once again gone through a cycle of ups and downs since finding out that Lisa's melanoma has continued to develop. We have also shared this information with our girls and they know now that she is having chemo and that we are focused on giving this the best chance of success. The girls are doing very well indeed and are communicating openly with us when they're feeling down, so this is good to know. All we can do is make sure we are there for them every step of this journey and that's what we're doing.
At the end of the same week as the last scan, it was Lisa's 40th birthday. If you'd have asked us last year if we'd see that day then we probably wouldn't have thought so, but we did and it was amazing. Donna, Lisa's sister was over from NZ for 5 days and it was a beautifultime. Selfishly, I want to see Lisa at her 41st and beyond so we've some work to do. You may notice that I've changed the photo on our page to one of Lisa on her birthday, with the cake that Lucy (sat infront of Lisa) and Eve (next to the light) made and decorated for her. Priceless. We have had so many special moments that they are too many to mention but rest assured we appreciate every single one, every single day.
Just last week we were fortunate to visit a research facility under WAIMR called the SKMRC (look it up online) and met with some of the people carrying out the vital melanoma research needed to tackle the ongoing questions and problems with diagnosing and treating melanoma. It was great to see how the dollars you have all so very generously donated, will be put to good use and heartwarming to know that by the time others find themselves on the same path in a few years time, further options may be available for targeted treatment that extends life and improves levels of wellness during that time.
Training for the Ride has continued and I've just done an 86km bimble this morning, so that was cool. I'm really looking forward to actually doing something to earn the dollars you have so amazingly donated and we're just short of $37,000 now which is just astronomical and I really don't think the 200km is nearly enough!! Amazing bunch you lot are, thank you so much.
Righto that's it from me for now. I will certainly provide another update prior to the Ride which is less than three weeks away now but please accept mine and Lisa's sincere thanks for all your support. We are in a situation now that we'd rather not be in, but we can't change that. What we can choose is how we deal with it and we choose to do that with hope, with positivity, with lots of laughter and always with love as a family. That's the Fitzy's!!
Smile lots, work when you need to, look for and appreciate the good in others, take time out for a game with the kids, look after yourself and really, truly 'Don't sweat the small stuff'.
Nick & Lisa
UPDATE 18 June 2012 We've cracked $34,000!!
What a pleasure it is to tell you about the latest in our fundraising drive. As some of you know, I'm working for BHP Billiton Petroleum in Perth and as such, was fortunate in getting WAIMR registered on the BHP Corporate 'Matched Giving' Scheme which basically means that whatever we raise together, they will double!!
I put in my first application for $16,676 and the cheque for this was received by WAIMR last week, so a massive thank you to BHP and the teams there.
Let's be remember though that 2 x $0 = $0, so without the huuuuuge efforts of all of you, there would have been nothing to double in the first place. It is because of your combined generosity that every dollar given has become $2 - how amazing is that!!
There'll be more to come later on as we approach the day of the Ride, to cover the donations made after we had reached $16,676, but I wanted to get the majority of the money with WAIMR as soon as possible, which is why I got this sorted sooner rather than later.
Update on Lisa
She's doing really well right now and is doing a little more teaching BodyBalance as her strength builds consistently and beautifully. In terms of bendiness and strength, she's pretty much back where she was now pre-diagnosis which is just amazing.
Long may this drug continue to work and we are doing all we can to create the environment where Lisa can continue to be well, to be without stress and to be having fun every day.
Eve and Lucy are fully focused on making mucus, coughing and sneezing at the moment (nice!) which gives me an excuse to rub Vicks Vaporub on anyone that doesn't move away quick enough. Poor dogs (Lisa and the kids run away too quickly), but I do love that smell!
Loving it. Cycling's going well, gym is good fun, I've had some good runs happening plus I'm back swimming. I fell out with swimming for a bit when I repeatedly couldn't get a decent seal on my goggles (I must have weird shaped eyes), but it seems to be okay again now so I'm very happy with that.
It's also nice and cool in Perth now as well, so just being outside and training is a real joy.
All good fun and knowing that every run and ride is working towards a successful Ride in October in aid of WAIMR and to celebrate my beautiful Lisa keeps me motivated, smiling and loving pushing the boundaries in terms of my own fitness.
That's it for now you great people, there's no scan for Lisa this month (whaheyyy!) so I'll be back as soon as there's something interesting to share. Thanks by the way to all those of you who gave me feedback on these burblings. Apparently they're well received, so I'm going to carry on. Apologies if there was sarcasm in any of the comments sent in, I'm not bright enough to pick up on that so thought all of the comments were great! That'll do for me.
For those of you out there who are always busy and juggling so many things at once, please remember to slow down every now and then and truly experience the now that is happening around you. It won't be back to visit again and you might just miss something worth sharing or remembering.
Be cool, train happy and hard, hug someone you care about and don't leave your sweaty training gear in the car, it gets really smelly, really quickly (according to Lisa anyway).
Nick & Lisa
UPDATE 28 May 2012: over the $17k mark!
Hi All, Lisa and I hope everyone is well and enjoying the spring / autumn depending on where you are. You great folk continue to add more to the ever growing fundraising total so thank you so much.
It's amazing to think that since the start of this part of our journey, WAIMR have benefitted to the tune of over $17, 000 dollars, all because of you brilliant people spread all over the world. You're individually and collectively amazing - thank you. We're also hoping to have some exciting fundraising news pretty soon, so all being well there'll be another update over the next couple of weeks.
LATEST NEWS ON LISA'S LAST SCAN
Last Monday (21st) Lisa had her scan and we got the results on the Wednesday at WAIMR as usual. We are huuugley happy to be able to say that her condition continues to be classed as 'Stable' meaning no further growth is apparent, which is clearly superb news.
Despite going through this regularly, we still don't seem to realise in ourselves, how nervous each of us is leading up to the scan results, particularly in that period between scan and meeting the docs at WAIMR. There's such a feeling of emotion when the doc says that all is still stable, that is hard to put into words. We do talk about it of course but it's not until you get the news that the feeling seems to come up from your boots and hit you in the mouth.
Lisa's back exercising regularly
Lisa's back doing one or two classes a week which is brilliant and she took me to a Bodybalance class last Tuesday (which was also our 13th wedding anniversary)! 13 years of marriage and I'd never been to a Bodybalance class with Lisa; so we put that right. It was great to learn in the tai-chi warm-up how uncoordinated I am, but apparently the nice lady teaching the class said to Lisa (who was team teaching it with her) that I've a 'wonderful warrior pose' - who'd have thought it. Get some of that then and it's Bodybalance all the way from now on for 'stretchy time'.
We are continually trying to keep a stress-free environment at home which is so important to Lisa's overall state of well being, but also hard when one of your dogs is a nutter of a labrador puppy (Lottie) who thinks that every waking moment needs to be spent tormenting our other lab, Charlie (poor fella).
Lottie's also been to the docs this week and has a large part of her front end shaved, so to be honest she looks pretty silly. She's got some joint issues despite being a perfect weight etc, but if we manage it properly she'll be ok in the end. For the time being being though she looks like a lab puppy with a poodle haircut. Not cool but at least we can't walk her outside for a little while, so that'll give her some time for the fur to grow back. Maybe we could pin a couple of Lisa's wigs on her chest and legs. There's a job for a Friday night!
Training for the Ride
My training is still going well though I guess I've been neglecting the swim a bit this last few weeks. I have been doing some planning for this winter period leading up to the Ride and also beyond into the 2012/13 tri-season, so that will help ensure a good balance and prevent overdoing any one thing. I need to start adding in some paddling as I'll be doing the Anaconda Race in November, just after the Ride to Conquer Cancer, so that wil introduce some good cross training that will help my Ride prep.
Since my last blabber I've also had a bike fit from Andrew Budge of Trysport in Perth. It has made a real difference to the level of comfort as well as performance, particularly with putting in some longer hours on the bike so that was brilliant and I'd highly recommend him to anyone looking for a thorough bike fit. Top bloke who really knows his stuff, not just about bike fitting but about training, coaching etc. He's not paying me to say this by the way, I just recognise value and professionalism when I see it.
I have got after my IT-band problems and have a foam roller to do self-massage exercises at home. The word 'pain' doesn't get close but it works a treat so that's cool and Lisa thinks it's funny anyway when I'm in bits on the floor. Fingers crossed I won't need it for too long as I'm working hard in the gym and on stretching to sort the issue more permanently.
Righto, that's me for now. I hpe this update has been useful and/or interesting but please do give me feedback if it's too much. I'm really not sure how much or how little you good people want to read, or indeed what you want to read about in additon to Lisa's updates (if anything). However, Lisa and I both want you to know how she is progressing and how we are both working together towards making the Ride a success and doing justice to your own kindness in donations made.
Take care, train hard, be well, enjoy the now and smile at someone you don't know.
Nick & Lisa
UPDATE 30 April 2012: $16,676.00 Blimey!!
Wow, this is fantastic. People continue to contribute to our Ride total and as ever, that money is going straight into WAIMR's bank for use in continuing their vital research efforts. Thanks most recently to Brian, Craig, Ian and Scottie for some brilliant donations.
UPDATE ON LISA - she's gorgeous, doing well, has a handsome husband and two beautiful daughters. She also has one well behaved dog (Charlie) and one large puppy (Lottie) that is bordering on the mental at times, then is a great hugger at others.
In all seriousness, Lisa continues to do so amazingly well. She does suffer from fatigue quite a bit but is not letting that stop her from doing what she wants to do. Her commitment to maintaining a great diet which obviously supports a strong immune system is benefitting us all, and whilst Lisa is happily not losing any weight, it's fallen of me (helped a bit by training as well).
There's no scan this month (whaheyyyy!!) but we do have the usual oncologists appointment this week where they'll probably just review her blood test results in the absence of the scan results I suppose. We'll share anything interesting that comes out of that meeting with you.
At home, we are well into our veggie juices and I can wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone. One of my personal favourites is carrot, ginger, beetroot, lemon, apple and spinach. It tastes amazing and Lisa is definitely the queen of the veggie juicer. She makes the (creative) juices and I clean the machine (sometimes).
My own training has been going really well overall and I completed my last olympic distance triathlon of the season a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed it. All this is part of the preparation for the Ride and has been pretty much as planned so far apart from the occasional dive into some massive chocolate and whilst I have had an occasional beer, disappointingly I still haven't received my beer sponsorship package so have been abstaining for the most part in protest.
Having said all is well for the main part, the last two runs I've done have seen me experience some hip pain towards the end of the runs and also afterwards. I'm going to need to take some time off from running to sort this out (I think it's IT band related if you're interested) and I reckon it might prevent me from taking part in a half marathon I've got planned for mid-May, but hopefully I'll still be able to do lots of other fun stuff.
In the last update I mentioned Norah had completed the Bradford 10k back in the UK, and below is a list of those brilliant folk who sponsored Norah in her quest for soggy trainers and a big smile! Thanks to you all from Lisa and I....
All thanks to: ANITA WILLIAMS, ANN VOIGT, AVRIL BROCK , BARBARA WENSWORTH, BREN CHARLWOOD, DIANNE DOUGLAS, DORRIE BROWN, EITHNE & DAVE DODWELL, EMMA LABAN, GILLIAN KLEIN, JAN MOTTRAM, JOHN & JEAN LONGTHORN (again!), JUDE HART, JULIE IVANOV, JUNE BUCHANAN, LORNA LEEMING, LUCY & RAFA GUZMAN-CHACON, LUISA CANTALE, MAGGIE & CHRIS POWER (again!), MANDY SCHOFIELD, MARGARET KING (again!), MARIE McNAY, MARY KENNERLEY, MIKE DUFF, NIBBY & JACKIE (again!), NINIAN & KATHRYN (again!), PAT DIXON, PRAGNA & DEREK CHARLWOOD , PRATIMA MISTRY, RANJIT ARORA, REBECCA FIRTH, SAVI PEMA, WARYAM SINGH, WENDY LYNCH (again!), WYN JONES.
I also mentioned in my last update about Rambo doing a bike ride in Scotland for us. Unfortunately that won't be able to happen as intended, and mine and Lisa's positive thoughts are with Rambo and his family. Life throws all sorts of things at us as we well know and it is the support and best wishes of family, friends and friends of friend near and far, who sometimes make it a little more bearable to tread the paths we find ourselves on. We know this to be true from our own experience and I hope others gain as much benefit from that knowledge as we do.
Bye for now everyone and thanks once more to you all for your support and for passing this on to anyone else who may want to help us. I'll get back to you if anything comes out of this week's appointment as promised.
Take care, train hard, be well, smile lots and put yourself in the other persons shoes, things can look different from there.
Nick & Lisa
UPDATE MONDAY 2ND APRIL - $15,000 just reached!!!
OMG !!!!!! (in the style of my beautiful girls) and I don't know why all the randomm characters keep getting into the update but I can't stop them!
UPDATE THURSDAY 29TH MARCH¢
Hi everyone, it`s good to be back on here with our latest update.
It was `scan day` this last Monday and `results` day yesterday so we were down at SCG Hospital in Perth, having a chat with the oncologists. Thanks in no small part to all the fingers you lot had crossed for us, the scan showed that Lisa remains `Stable` and the growth of the melanoma appears still to have halted which is obviously good news. We were a little surprised to learn that the previously recorded 10% overall reduction in tumour mass was probably a result of one of the docs not reading the scan results properly, but our Prof who is overseeing the drug trial is `reasonably happy` with things overall to the extent that it`ll now be two months before the next scan, which is cool and Lisa is very happy about that. Prof also remarked that Lisa appears to be doing things differently to others! ( No surprise there to most of us then.)
The difference he was talking about was in that the overall mass remaining the same, i.e. no further growth but also no large reduction. To paraphrase his words, "better to see long term stability than short term reduction and perhaps seeing drug resistance developing quickly." Overall, a very good outcome for us all as a family and Lisa feels well. What a lady!!
Right, what else has been happening then. Well, Norah a lovely friend of the family who is back in Bradford, UK has just completed the Bradford 10km run in aid of the Ride, gaining sponsors aplenty who were happy to support Norah in her athletic achievements. Norah successfully completed the run in 1 hour 8 mins and some loose change so a HUUUUGE well done to her!! Ta Norah!
We`ve a few other friends who have committed to doing a number of events and donating their fundraising towards the Ride for us and these include...
- Rambo (Ian Ramsey) in Aberdeen doing the Etape Caledonia in May in Scotland www.etapecaledonia.co.uk
- Mart(in) Smart from Perth doing Ironman Nice in Junehttp://ironmannice.comand
- Sharleen Twyman who is going to run the Perth City 2 Surf marathon
There are also quite a number of fantastic instructors from Fitness First (one of the places where Lisa used to teach Bodybalance) who have also signed up to actually do the Ride themselves as well, so that is just incredible. Thanks to all them for getting involved and to Lisa`s long time friend, Sandra for spreading the word there through her own network.
My own training is going well too. I've done a couple of triathlons over the last two weekends which were great fun. The first was an olympic distance one and the second a sprint, so nothing like the awesome distances that Mart Smart will be doing in France, but big steps on my own journey towards next years Half-Ironman (if I can get a starting number). That said, I've had a bit of a chocolate fix this last few days so that needs to stop!
Lisa`s got herself a couple of wigs now and you`ll have seen her picture on the page. How amazing does she look and a hottie brunette if ever there was one!!! Lucky bloke me that`s all I can say. She`s got one real hair wig and one synthetic one. Both look brilliant but she`s not allowed to stand infront of the oven when it`s on and open the door with the synthetic wig on! It`d be like sealing the end of a piece of string with a flame I reckon plus I`d have to show her where the oven is anyway! :-)(JOKE Lisa before you start on me).
We all (Lisa, me, Eve and Lucy but no pooches) also went a on `March for Melanoma` in Perth a couple of weeks ago organised by Clint Heal of Melanoma WA (www.melanomawa.org.au) a charity organisation here in WA which Clint set up to provide support for people living with melanoma, for their families and for raising awareness of melanoma more widely. We were joined by our friends Barry and Sarah, and Heather and Eric along with their respective kids and some other friends of Barry and Sarah who had also come along for a bimble. It was an 8km walk along the side of the river in Perth and very nice it was too, if not a little hot towards the end as the mercury climbed into the high 30s which is where it`s been here for ages. A great event that was attended by 800 people so well done Clint and the myriad of volunteers who made it possible, cheers!
Reading back, we know an amazing bunch of people and Lisa and I want to celebrate all of their generosity and good spirit by sharing their names on here. There are also quite a number of people who have donated anonymously or who are friends of friends so I can`t contact them directly to say a personal thanks. If you are one of these, please know that we truly appreciate what you`ve done, thank you.
The support from you lot is amazing and as we near the $15k mark, it`s hard to believe that our original target was $3,000 and we thought that would be a decent stretch.
I will never ask anyone for more sponsorship as I don`t believe that`s right (unless it`s my beer you`re sponsoring and no-one`s stepped up for that just yet :-)), but can I ask once again that if you can think of anyone who might be interested in our family`s journey and in becoming a part of your fantastic fundraising effort by either donating anything at all themselves or even by doing the Ride, then please send them the link to our Personal Page.
Every dollar donated is now being put to work by WAIMR. That`s how direct your influence is and that`s how you are all making a difference already.
Thanks everyone, stay well, train hard (if you`re training) and at the risk of this becoming my personal mantra, keep remembering to take that moment and step back to enjoy the `now ` it`s important!
Nick & my beautiful blonde / brunette / blonde again wife, Lisa
UPDATE FRIDAY 2ND MARCH & WE`RE ON $12,884 !
WHERE`S THE YEAR GOING?
Wow, it`s been a loooong time since I last posted on here so my apologies for that. Since then we have reached the unbelievable figure of $12,884!!
The ongoing generosity of so many people right across the globe is humbling to experience and both my and Lisa`s thanks go out to all who have donated so far. You are individually and collectively amazing and already the money you have given is being put to work.
Here is the latest anyway so if you don`t fall asleep before the end, I hope you enjoy the update.
Lisa had a scan this week on Monday and we went down to see the marvellous docs at WAIMR on Wednesday for the results. This time there has been no overall reduction in size/mass of the tumours, however and most importantly, the ones that had continued to grow at the time of the last scan, appear to have stopped growing now and so the situation overall is described as stable, and this is great news!
The oncologist we saw was describing to us in greater detail, exactly what the research being done now is focusing on achieving and she said that we are quite lucky (in a strange way) to be in the situation we are in, here in Perth. WAIMR is apparently leading the way with melanoma research and the Prof (Dr Michael Millward) that Lisa is under is one of the best, so that iss good to know both from a selfish, personal perspective, and also to know that all your monies are being used by the very best in the business to lead ground breaking research. Thanks you lot.
Lisa is doing really well and looks absolutely fantastic, a real picture of health and it`s amazing to see her in action with our wonderful girls; she really is the best wife and mum ever (That`s my opinionI know and I dorealise there are many, many fabulous mums and wives out there so please don?t be offended!!). She started back at a Bodybalance class this week which was cool to see as many of you will know that she isa Bodybalance Instructor herself and she loves the classes so much that it was brilliant to see her feeling that she?s ready to get into them once more. What a lass! I count my lucky stars every day that Lisa approached me, almost begging me to chat with her (as I remember it) that August bank holiday night out those 15 years ago (long time huh?) whilst I was out with my mate John. (There may be a bit of poetic licence used there but not much, probably.)
Anyway, Lisa`s hair is steadily thinning now due to the side effect of the trial drug (though to be honest, it`s not very noticeable at the moment apart from a cuddly chinchilla which seems to appear in our sink every morning after Lisa`s brushed her hair) so we were out wig shopping this week as well. We ended up going to a shop called "Wasp"in Perth and Lisa got herself a cool asymmetric bob which is dark brown rather than her natural blond! She looks amazing in it and I will try and get a picture to put on here. Not sure if she'll let me or not but I have got one on my phone, though it is not a great picture, she looks waaaay hotter in real life, all ?wigged up?. I wanted her to get one that stayed facing forward when you turn your head but what do I know? Apparently not much about what makes a good wig.
Before I forget, the Sports Expo I mentioned in the last Update was good fun and we enjoyed the day down there, helping on the stand for a while then going around the event with our kids and grandparents. Jerome who's also doing the Ride came along to say hi too, so it was great to see him and to chat with the various people who expressed interest in the event. if you were one of the those, "Hi" and I hope you've signed up by now!
At the Expo, Danny Green (hard boxing fella) was wandering around the stands before going onto his own stand, so we had a bit of a chat, though unfortunately I wasn`t able to sign him up. He did apologise and said he wasn`t being a plonker or anything (he used a different word), but I said that`snoworriescos if I thought he was a (plonker)I wouldn`t tell him anyway. Heseemeda genuinely nice fella who took time out to talk and to wish Lisa good luck so he`sgood in our book. (He was also lucky he wished Lisa good luckotherwise I might`ve had to take him outside and then run away).
Training-wise things are still going well though I do keep having the odd day off when I`m not intending to, but I reckon training should fit around life and not vice-versa. I`ve a triathlon this month (on the 18th I think) so am excited about that and hope I`ve done enough not to disgrace myself. I`ll let you know how that goes if you`re interested.
Cycling-wise I`ve had some cracking rides with some top fellas here in Perth(hi Rob and Eric) but probably could do with going a bit longer on my long rides. I`m doing about 60km on my long bike runs at the moment and want to push that up for a while to around 80km initially, so will do so over the next month I reckon. I`m also riding into work twice a week as I`m only doing 2 days a week now (and BHP Petroleum, my employer are being hugely supportive with everything so thanks to them). Anyway, my two days a week in Perthgives me 4 x 1 hour sessions of good, hard work. It`s a great feeling getting into work after having a great ride, then doing the same again on the way home.
Also on a plus side, something`s clicked with my swimming this last couple of weeks too so my times there have improved from `swims like a brick`, to `swims like a badly wounded bag of sand`, though I did chop a decent margin off my 2km time so that was cool. I think it`s tied into improving my body roll and `catch` meaning I`m using my lats much more, so I`m really pleased with that. I`ve always been able to keep going and going, but now I feel I`m actually swimming with better technique so I`ll put that into the `win` box thank you very much. I`m still not a swimmer in swimmers terms, but I`m betterthan I was previously under Nick`s terms.
Righto everyone that`s it for now. Thanks a million to you fabulous people who have supported us and I hope this update has been of interest.
If you do one thing as a result of reading this (besides asking friends, colleagues, family to get involved and donate of course), please make sure you take that precious time out of your busy, chaotic days to appreciate the moment that`s happening, whatever and whenever it may be. It won`t be back again and it`s definitely worth enjoying.
Train hard (if applicable!), live well, eat enough, laugh lots and hug more.
(I`m constantly informed by Lisa that ladies love hugging whereas we blokes don`t, even though we apparently pretend to. I don`t necessarily agree with that and enjoy hugging my wife and kids on a regular basis.)
UPDATE: FRIDAY 10 FEBRUARY 2012 $11,995.00!!
The 12k mark looks sure to tumble sometime soon, this is a moment to reflect on just what you fabulous bunch of people are doing. In just a couple of months you have collectively contributed a massive amount to the direct funding of trials such as those Lisa is on (does that make sense?). We thought that our initial target of 3k was realistic yet achievable, but you all have just made this something that we never thought possible, with your generosity in terms of dollars and in passing our details on to others.
Only a few years ago, Lisa would not have had this BRAF Inhibitor trial drug available to her and so wouldn't be responding to treatment in the great way she is currently doing. The impact of the research that WAIMR and others carry out, which you are directly supporting through your donations is so very real. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
This week has been a scorcher again in Perth and training's been going well with plenty of quality swim, bike, run sessions. Because of the heat through the summer, I'm having to do most of my training really early in the morning just to take advantage of the cooler temperatures, but I guess I'll get little sympathy from those readers in the UK! (Toughen up Fitzpatrick)
On Sunday morning Lisa and I are going to help out at the Ride to Conquer Cancer stand which will be at the 'Jetts Fitness World Sports Expo', held at the Perth Convention Centre all weekend. Hopefully we'll chat to some enthusiastic folk who'll want to sign up for the Ride and get involved and I think I'll even iron my t-shirt for the occasion. If you're in Perth and fancy taking the family to have a look at some different sports they might not have experienced and maybe get yourself some discounted kit etc (everybody needs more kit), then why not come along? Last year our girls played squash with a national team member, had a go on a cracking climbing wall, played indoor tennis and much more, I just can't remember without prompting from the girls and Lisa. There were loads of excellent activities and interesting stalls though to be honest, I don't get Zumba. I know it's really popular and doubtless very effective and this is my opinion only, but I just don't get it. Perhaps it's cos I'm a dad, so I can only 'dad dance' anyway. If I did want to have a crack, they'd need a special 'dad class' where the aim is to be out of rhythm with whatever's playing, with regular breaks so you can say 'it's not as good as the original'. That I could go for.
I'll drop back here next week to let you know how the Expo has gone but in the meantime please remember to take a moment each and everyday to appreciate the 'now' that's happening around you - it's important!
For me today it was the pleasure in going with Lisa to pick the girls up from school this afternoon. Priceless and simple. (Before anyone says it, that's also probably Lisa and me, in that order).
Take care everyone, train lots, laugh often, eat enough and have a beer for me 'cos I'm off it!
Nick, Lisa, Lucy & Eve
UPDATE: WEDNESDAY 1 FEBRUARY 2012 $8, 516.60
Well folks, please forgive me for sounding like a broken record but this is outstanding! I don't know what to say but I can only hope you don't get bored of telling people about the Ride and passing on my details so that they too can see if they want to get involved and donate or even take part.
Who would have thought at the outset that we'd get to the $3,000 so quickly but then to take the sponsorship onto this level is truly outstanding. Isn't it amazing what the combined generosity of so many family, friends and colleagues can amount to? Already the money is with WAIMR and as such, it is being used right now to continue the journey towards a world where we (or at least the really smart and clever people in our hospitals) can identify, isolate, treat and ultimately Conquer Cancer!
Here's the latest news hot off the press this morning. Lisa had a scan on Monday and we had the meeting with the docs this morning. The scans showed that the drug has kicked in and started to work which is fantastic news. Overall, the tumours have reduced by 10% which is just amazing and we're so pleased to have some good news. This is really the first real milestone reached since Lisa started on the trial in November so we're over the moon to have some glad tidings to share. What a truly great day!
Training-wise I've been a bit slack this last week. I've done some timetrial benchmarking stuff for running and swimming, but apart from that was off for a few days with a cold (more like debilitating man-flu really), we had Eve's birthday weekend, sleepover, party etc, our new puppy Lottie needs plenty of watching over and I was generally pretty knackered to telll you the truth. I had planned to get up and at 'em at 0415 this morning so that I could get a good bike/run sesh in before the girls first day back at school today then on to our appointment with the docs, but it was not to be.
However, with the fantastic news of Lisa's progress, coupled with this amazing figure raised I willl be back in the saddle, on my feet and in the pool and banging out the training from here on in. I take real inspiration from the level of commitment everyone has shown towards making a difference in working to Conquer Cancer and this will drag my lazy ass out of the door from here on in! You have my own commitment to not slacking off! My first Olympic distance triathlon is coming up in mid-March so there's no space left for lying around being ill (even with man flu) or eating chocolate anyway!
That's it for now people. PLEASE PASS ON MY DETAILS TO YOUR FAMILY, FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES and help us get to the magical $10,000 mark. We are going to do other things to raise more money as well but I won't be coming back asking for more donations from you who have already donated, I'd rather find new people to help support us through yourselves and through other channels. Money is tight I know, you've already given so much but if each of you can help find just 3 or 4 more other people to donate and get involved, just think what might be possible!!
Every dollar counts; every dollar goes straight to WAIMR and every dollar makes a difference.
Let's keep after it you fine folk here in beatiful Australia, in God's county of Yorkshire, in gorgeous and truly bonny Jockland and wherever else you may be. Cancer is far too close to all of us, no matter where we are, so feel free to help in whatever way you'd like!!
Nick, Lisa, Eve and Lucy
(and no, I'm not off for a pie now)
UPDATE: SUNDAY 22 JAN 2012 $6,996.60!
Blimey this is fantastic! We're almost at the 7k mark and none of us thought that this would ever be possible. Thanks once again to all our generous donators (is that a word?).
This week saw me and Lisa going to have a chat with people interested in the Ride at an orientation meeting in Success, south of Perth. It was a great evening and we both met some very inspirational people. I think another 6 people also signed up for the Ride too which is fantastic news. Apparently there are about 600+ people registered so far but there's plenty of room for more, so please spread the word and let's get as many people riding as possible.
One thing neither of us realised until this week when we were at the meeting was that the monies donated by you now, go straight to WAIMR right now as well which is obviously excellent. No hanging around in other bank accounts, it goes straight into funding research as soon as the funds hit the bank.
Lisa's having a great week in terms of absence of side-effects and things which is very cool, and her weekly restorative yoga sessions have started again which she loves going to and get's a lot out of, (thanks Sue if you read this!) She wants to say a big' thanks' to everyone so please know that every single one of the donations made to date and hopefully in future mean so much to us.
Training-wise things are going well. I had a bit of a bike/run yesterday morning as part of my prep for some coming triathlons which I am having a go at this year, but the second half of the run was blummin hard. It wasn't even 8 in the morning when I was on that part of the run but it felt soooo hot! Still, I did my 40k bike and 10k run so that was great, plus the 10 minutes I spent hosing myself and the dog down in the garden afterwards felt wonderful!! (Black lab Charlie didn't come on the bike or the run but he loves being sprayed with the hose.) I'm riding into Perth and home again a couple of days a week when I'm working so that also bumps the km's up a bit in working to build a good base for longer riding later on. It's great fun having that good hour session first thing in the morning then again on the way home. One to wake up and get energised for work and the other to have a blast before seeing all my ladies again.
Righto that's it for now, catch you again soon so be well, be sunsmart, train lots, eat enough and smile always.
UPDATE 11/01/12 $6,176.60!
What can we say but a massive and heartfelt 'Thank you!' to everyone who has contributed to our Ride, meaning that you lot are the top contributors in terms of sponsorship, OUT OF THE WHOLE RIDE SO FAR!! It's not a competition to get to or stay on the top of the list, but it is an admirable achievement nonetheless, so well done everyone and it's a great start for 2012.
We're not going to keep stretching the target 'officially' but I've a figure of $10,000 in my head and it would be a truly monumental achievement for us to reach that level of fundraising together come the day of the Ride. Whatever happens,you have more thn doubled the amount of money we originallly hoped to raise so that's amazing on it's own.
Some more good news:-
A friend of ours, Ian 'Rambo' Ramsey is going to do a bike ride in the UK, the 'Etape Caledonia' on 13 May 2012 in aid of WAIMR so many thanks to him for this fabulous offer which was of course willingly accepted. Rambo is a top fella (who doesn't wear a dodgy headband or run around in the woods building mantraps) and I wish I could be there doing the ride with him.
In addition this, another mate of mine here in Perth, Martin Smart is going to do the Ironman France in June with a friend of his Shaun Sleep. Both are donating all of their fundraising for that event to the WAIMR as well, so this is absolutely fantastic. For those of you who don't know, the Ironman comprises a2.4-mile (3.86km) swim,a 112-mile (180.25km) bikeand a marathon run42.195-kilometre (26.219mi), raced in that order and without a break. Needless to say this needs a special type of person to commit to and complete the training required to successfully complete the event so ahuge thanks to those two fellas for that. Not sure I wish I was doing the Ironman with Mart and Shaun in the same way I wish I doing the Perthshire 'Etape Caledonia' ride with Rambo, but I'm certainly glad that such generous and committed folk are out there!
We look forward to sharing with you, how you might choose to support Martin, Shaun or Rambo in their respective events, should you wish to do so and irrespective of that, I'll keep you updated with how they're getting on as I get news from the chaps themselves.
Thanks again you fabulous bunch of people for taking us beyond the magical $6,000 mark. You've astounded us all here and we look forward to letting you know how Lisa is getting on as her trial treatment progresses. Her next scan is at the end of this month which will hopefully show some positive impact of the BRAF Inhibitor drug which she is now coping with admirably, following her dose reduction after suffering some pretty horrendous side effects for the first month or so. Fingers crossed things are on track and we're looking forward to this next scan.
So all is well, we're all very positive about the journey, about helping WAIMR raise some serious money for Lisa's and other groundbreaking research and for living well, each and every day.
Take care everyone and keep in touch through here or through Facebook (please send me a friend invite if I've not got you on the list already).
Nick, Lisa, Eve and Lucy
A huge thanks to all our donors who have taken us to an amazing $5,626,60 in such a short space of time!
This is waaaay more than we ever thought possible and with more promises of support coming in, perhaps we can take this even further.I don't like to keep moving the goalposts in terms of what we'd like to raise as you have all far exceeded what we thought might be possible in the first place. Perhaps we could just keep going and see where we end up. I'll see what Lisa thinks but if anyone's got any suggestions as to what would be the right thing to do, just let me know. We would never take all your generosity for granted (we definitely don't) and we don't want to appear that we just want to get more and more for WAIMR (but really we do, though in the nicest way possible)!
Thanks again everyone and keep checking back to see how things are going. Don't forget to follow the other links on the page to find out more about how your donations make a real and direct difference and you can also drop me or Lisa a line through our Facebook pages too if you like.
Nick, Lisa, Eve and Lucy
PS - still no joy with the blog update, hence I've used this again.
We initially set a target of $3,000 that we wanted to raise before the day of the Ride and through the generosity of so many people, we've passed that and have even passed the $4,000 mark!! We thought the $3,000 was a testing target and it is only through the genuine care shown by family, friends and colleagues past and present that the target has been well and truly blown away. We're astounded by this response and we can't thank everyone enough. Building on this, we are going to stretch the target further, up to $6,000, to try and achieve something we would not have thought previously possible. You all have shown us how much can be achieved with the support of amazing people, so we'll aim even higher and do all we can to get to $6,000. Let's get after it!
There is no minimum donation (that I know of!) and every dollar matters in making a real difference for others who find themselves in our position. Lisa can't race herself (at the moment) but I can and am doing so with the fantastic support of Lisa, Eve and Lucy.
Thanks for reading and I hope you can help not just us but the many, many people who will benefit from your generosity.
We're off to an AMAZING start so please do what you can to join those who have already donated and make a real difference to so many others.