Truth is, that wasn't normal by any means. As a society, our relationship with homeless people is simple; either you drop a coin or walk by. It's impossible to connect with people as people because we let ourselves get divided only by borders, but also by our occupations, social status, and other arbitrary self-imposed barriers.
The fact is there will always be people who need help. There will always be critics who seek to divert attention to a "more worthy" cause. But the bigger picture here is a vast community is coming together to raise awareness and drive change. Thanks to the help of social media, people of all ages, professions and life circumstances are donating.
At 11.05am on Monday October 14th, I was sitting on a sandstone ledge, enjoying the desert views on Getaway Trail, just outside of Moab, Utah. I had just completed 18 kms on Stage three of the TransRockies Moab Rocks mountain bike race. More significantly, I had hit the 888 kms target I had set for Quest #8, TransRockies Quest 888.
One of my favourite shows this summer has been Bear Grylls "Get Out Alive". Bear is a British adventurer, ex SAS member and youngest ever Chief Scout. In "Get Out Alive", Bear took ten teams of two to New Zealand. There, they had to endure many physical and mental tests, including being dropped into a freezing lake from a helicopter, crossing a gorge on a rope, traversing a glacier full of crevasses, building a raft and riding it down a raging river. The winning team collected $500,000.
As a young man, one of my greatest pleasures was hitting a winding road in a two-seater, open-top sports car. On Sunday September 15th., I volunteered at the Cochrane Classic Car Show and Shine and, seeing some of the wonderful vehicles which took part, certainly took me back to the days of my youth. Ken Hutchinson, President of the Cochrane Classic Car Group, asked if I could get some volunteers, who regularly represent Right To Play to help out.
On August 12th I was flying into Denver and still feeling the effects of the four-day Transrockies Challenge. I had got pretty beaten up, riding my mountain bike, navigating trail sections between Blairmore and Canmore. It had been just over a week since it was completed and the cuts and bruises were starting to heal.
So far, in TransRockies Quest 888, I have completed three events, the Skirt chaser 5km, the Fernie 80km Trail Ultra and the Kananaskis3 three day 76km Trail Ultra. On Saturday July 13th, it was a change of pace, The TransRockies Gran Fondo. Firstly, a little bit of background on what a Gran Fondo entails. These races are mass-participation cycling events that have enjoyed incredible popularity in Europe for decades and are gaining momentum in North America.
Kananaskis3 was event number four in my TransRockies Quest 888. The original plan was to run three events over three days in the Powderface / Little Elbow area of Kananaskis just outside Bragg Creek. Unfortunately, the Alberta floods put an end to that. Bragg Creek had been hit hard, the bridge on Highway 66 had been destroyed and many of the trails had been wiped out.
TransRockies Quest 888 is number 8 in my "Quests for Kids" initiative. My objective is to complete 888 race kms over 10 events from May to October and raise $25,000 for Right To Play. It's been a rocky start. The first event, in May, was the Skirt Chaser 5km. More people wanted to talk about the race name than the fact that 120 women and 40 men were actually doing something to keep fit. Event 2 was Rundle's Revenge, planned for June 22nd and 23rd. This trail run / mountain bike challenge was to be held at the Canmore Nordic Centre. However, the Alberta floods put an end to that. Up until this weekend I had completed 5 kms and had 883 kms to go.
The memories of my mother are not of a cancer victim, they are not of a shaved head, or intravenous tubes, or a frail body. They are her wonderful spirit, her brave beautiful smile, and a loving acceptance of life that was contagious with everyone she touched. My mother didn't just talk the talk, she walked the walk.
The non-profit organization, just like the technology start-up with a disruptive, yet unproven, new innovation, must sell its vision as much as its financial model and its metrics for measuring impact. But by reducing organizational survival to a simple sales-pitch ignores the fundamental truth that not all organizations are created equally.