Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Walking The Walk- Stories from 'Walk Season"

The term "Walk Season" itself sounds kind of funny if you don't work for a charity like the Arthritis Foundation that hosts a 5K Walk. Especially for our charity when we encourage walking, exercising or moving 30 minutes everyday in some way to keep arthritis pain at bay. However, I'd bet my first born child that if you were never employed to coordinate a walk, at least you've been to one or volunteered at one. There seems to be one on every weekend for every cause under the sun! It's become a cultural fund-raising phenomenon!

"Walk Season" for me is the period of time that begins about three months before a walk fund-raiser and includes the week or two after as you work to expedite sponsor, donor, and volunteer thank yous and wrap-up the registration administration details. It's a period of time that can be excruciatingly busy/crazy for staff and volunteers alike leading up to the walk. And then, after 4 short hours of hundreds of people descending on you with smiles, bouncing happy children with painted faces, paparazzi like photos, cheers, laughs, hugs and moving stories......and then suddenly as quickly as everyone descended....they go home. It's all over in less than half a day!

So now, about a month after our walks, I'm left feeling like I've lost part of my family because I'm not seeing my volunteer committee weekly. They do become like a second family, good friends that work for free to help support your mission because it's important to them or they just want to make the world a better place. I don't think all of them realize how much they mean to us individually but especially as a whole.

We were very happy with the results of "Let's Move Together Walk" in Lakeland and Orlando! I couldn't have loved either of my committees more if humanly possible. So many fun stories, sub events, memories.

They pulled of miracles and made us laugh at the office (Especially the 'Sell the Hays"-sorry, inside joke for most of you) and consistently touched us with their kindness and understanding our humanity as employees on a small staff of two in a crazy economy. And our honorees! They shared their personal stories and did everything possible to get attention for the walk. Our honorees were just amazing. The walk goes by so quickly and unless you are really reading every e-mail, you can easily miss the most important part of the walk, in my opinion, the heart of the walk, and that is the stories of the people we are honoring.

This year, I made it my personal mission/tribute and a gesture to honor the 6 individuals that allowed us to honor them, by telling their story in written form. All of them agreed and I went to work. initially I was sad because time was slipping away and I wasn't going to be able to finish all of them until my CREATOR sent me an EARTHLY ANGEL, Lynn Knott, one of my Parrot Head of Central Florida friends, came to me and was in between jobs in the NURSING/MEDICAL field. Lynn I hope also had a beautifulk experience writing two of the stories but one of them was even published in the BALDWIN PARK MAGAZINE since the subject committee member Donna Zelahy lives there.

So we have these 6 stories that we really enjoyed telling, and in the process we grew to know these people as friends and volunteers. And it was an honor!

If you can, you would honor me by reading their stories and realizing that there are 50 million Americans that live with arthritis, and 300,000 of them are children. These are our friends, our neighbors, our families. 1 in 3 people in Central Florida live with the illness.



And then right now go and mark these two dates on your calendar if you live in Central Florida. It's the next Arthritis Foundation Family Reunion and we need EVERY ONE of you there. And this year we are finally giving you almost a year notice!

May 12th, 2012-Polk County/Lakeland Let's Move Together Arthritis Walk
May 19th, 2012-Central Florida/Orlando Let's Move Together Arthritis Walk

Lastly, if you are one of the honorees or volunteer committee members from either of our walks, please know that I already do miss seeing you! Let's stay in touch! Certainly, no matter where you live in Central Florida, our next Arthritis Foundation Central Region Family Reunion happens Saturday December 17th in Baldwin Park at the 4th Annual Jingle Bell Run/Walk. And if you just worked your butt off fund-raising at the walk, just pay the $25 admission for the shirt, food and fun and don't worry about fund-raising! Don't burn yourselves out but do please try to come to both of our events. There's a chair around our figurative event table for each of you and when you aren't there, we're still having fun....but miss you being part of it!

Peace, Love and Music
Tony in Orlando

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

MOM”S THE WORD!-CARLA DYER “The Love Shack Series Blog 3”

Thursday, February 12, 2011 My mother was the second person to step over the threshold of my new house, THE LOVE SHACK. I remember thinking how odd it was that my mom and my great friend & realtor GREG ELLIOTT’s mom STEPHANIE FLANNIGAN (My second mom) both seemed so much more enthused to see it then I did. They were enthusiastically overflowing with ideas and possibilities and I was freaking out. I felt like slipping them both a sedative.

As everyone’s musings kind of blended into one sound around me I walked through this house which I had no emotional attachment to and out to the backyard, there stood a yellow Tabebuia Tree in full bloom. It was a sign (At least I made it one) that I should buy this house and watch it grow as long as possible. Just the evening before, I had seen one on my hour walk and had to stop in my tracks as the golden light from the sun struck this magnificent yellow Tabebuia tree on the side of the road. Now one evening later here’s the sunset’s golden light focused directly on this small tree in the back of a house that was the right price and two streets from my 74 year old mother. Do I need a sign?

Moving closer to my mom has been nothing but a blessing for both of us. Our only issue is sometimes we are too much alike and the stubborn streaks collide. But we always work it out. We even try to eat dinner together at each other’s houses and watch a movie at least once a week. She even came over at 3 a.m. to watch the Lunar Eclipse with me, How could I not love my mom??

I am the youngest of my mom’s 8 kids, 7 of which are boys. She just had her 37th grandkid. (That includes the great ones). Yet she lives a world away from them and only gets to see most of them on special occasions. So here in Orlando it’s just me and my older sister Patty. My mom taught me about LOVE, and how to LOVE. That’s been the greatest gift she could have ever given me. It’s a big subject with a lot of nuances as there are many kinds of LOVE. And while sometimes because we’re both so emotional the lessons come a little harder for both of us. Despite that I am so glad to have had her as my teacher, and now as an adult, to continue to learn with her together. We teach each other things all the time.

Many people don’t know that my mother is the reason I took my current job at the Arthritis Foundation. . That and the fact that I was able to work from home at first. She has osteoarthritis like many of our mother and father or grand-parents. I thought to myself "I have worked for children’s causes most of my life, why not help a cause that’s for the elderly for a change?" That’s when to both of our surprises we found out what so many people still don’t know…KIDS GET ARTHRITIS TOO. I mean, I’m media friendly, charity friendly yet I have never heard it. Now after 3 years I know why. No one understands how serious it can be and on rare occasion even fatal for children.

After working in non-profit for so many years, most of my friends are volunteers I met at work, or at least good friends I’ve begged to volunteer! I worked with some of the best and unfortunately some I’ve even had to bless and release. But this article is about my mom. And let me tell you what a great volunteer she is!

Not only has she captained a team at my last two Arthritis Walks (The Publix PainKillers) and doubled their fund-raising in one year, she’s also served food at every one of my 3 Jingle Bell Runs. She’s there with a big smile making sure that everyone of the 700 people gets fed as well as possible. She’s always been there when I need her as a volunteer!

Last year my mom was only one of 4 regulars on my Arthritis Walk Committee along with our amazing 2010 chairperson Pamela Haas, as well as committee members Wilma Sue Williams, and Debi DeGailler. This year no one has stepped forward to offer to chair the event so my mom has offered. She’s stepping up to the task to help kids and adults with arthritis and believe me she’s passionate about it. With her leadership I think this year The Publix Painkillers may become a top contender along with last year’s number one team the Wal-Mart Walkers. To be honest, we yearn for more corporate teams and have very few. Most of our teams are family based. It would be nice for some companies to show they care about an illness that affects 1 in 3 Floridians!

More importantly, I get to work with my mom at this time in her life where she is unsure of her own strength at times as she declines physically. The next several months is going to be a hard yet beautiful journey together with our other amazing volunteers in an attempt to bring out at least 500 people to our Arthritis Walk. We will even be shooting a music video. Won’t you consider coming, you’ll get to meet my mom, Carla Dyer-the 2011 Arthritis Walk Orlando Volunteer Chairperson. In fact, if you are interested in joining or helping the committee in any way, we have an open meeting Thursday, Feb. 10th at 6 p.m. at the Veranda Bed and Breakfast in Thornton Park. If you can come call my Volunteer Director Mariel Armitage at 407-208-1766 or e-mail her by 5 p.m. so we know how much pizza and soda to get for this introductory meeting. By the way, mom is making a Vegetarian Pasta with a ton of amazing vegetables on whole wheat rotini and Sweet Potato Casserole. First come first serve on that stuff.  I’ll be there at 5 p.m. meeting starts at 6 p.m. Come early if you want to talk and eat while we set up the place.

And to close the article, while I love THE LOVE SHACK more than I ever thought would be possible, my mom taught me that home is where the heart is. And part of the reason I love it so much is because she’s so nearby. Mom, I wouldn’t wish for any other mom in the world if I could! Remember…to grow, one MUST experience growing pains. I’m so grateful to have this chance to watch you grow and use your true light of love to shine on the committee and everyone you talk to about the cause of arthritis. I love you!

Featured Song: You Were There (And I never had to say a word) –Performed by Rebecca Fisher From the CD “Let’s Move Together” to benefit the Arthritis Foundation Florida Chapter.


Featured Quote: “A mother understands what a child does not say.” -Jewish proverb

Monday, October 11, 2010

GET REAL-TOR! "GREG ELLIOTT" The Love Shack Series Blog 2

One of the first three people to cross the threshold of the side door entrance to my "new old house" (The front door still doesn’t open. I need to buy a new one)was actually the person who most influenced me to buy a house…my good friend and realtor Greg Elliott. Greg and I have been friends since way before he became a realtor. Actually it's fair to say that he’s been one of my BFFs for more than 20 years! There's only a hand full of them floating around. Believe me, we both have the blackmail stories that go with such a long and mututally successful friendship and needless to say I don't think either of us will ever use them. Needless to say this will be delicately worded blog! 

Greg Elliott is the BEST realtor in all the world! The sad thing is after buying this house is that I immediately posted that as my Facebook Status much to the chagrin of my other realtor friends. They quickly and good-naturedly pointed out my politically incorrect post and I do see their point. But come on, at the moment I was partial. I’ve always been partial to Greg! If I had to choose member to a kickball game, an alliance for the TV show "Survivivor", or someone to have to go on a criminal spree with, Greg would always be in my posse. Well at least I'd always invite him!

He’s one of about 5 people on this Earth that would make me lose on that old TV game show “Make Me Laugh” by just looking at me the wrong way. Believe me, for me buying a house was not a laughing matter. That’s why I really am grateful to Greg, not only for his loyal friendship over the years, but for taking on the thankless task of helping me to buy a house. Believe me, no commission in the world could be worth selling me a house (especially one under a hundred thousand). I often think “Greg made me buy the house” more out of concern for my well-being and security than anything at all.

When I say Greg made me buy the house, it’s not that much of an exaggeration. I don’t know if I would have done it if he wasn’t able to make it such a non-emotional experience and some levity gratefully. It was more like getting me through a hard work-out by telling me I could do it at all the right times. Greg wouldn’t hover over me about me buying a house, yet he consistently and factually would keep me appraised with the great opportunities that buying a house in this buyer’s market would afford. He eventually made me see that my emotional stubbornness was keeping me away from not only making a good investment but frankly in this case cheaper than most rentals! Once I dove in, it was so much easier than I thought (Of course Greg's reassurance was always helpful.

Greg Elliott is a great friend, not only to me, but too many people.. So yes great sense of humor. The perfect amount of intelligent sarcasm and acerbic wit mixed with not being too evil. Greg is also very kind in general.

He’s a great business man as he still is the Owner of Synergy Educational Services, an educational travel company he’s been running since the one we both worked at was driven under by the ridiculously self serving expenses of an arrogant owner (Not that I’m bitter). But funny how Greg has kept his company making a profit since the day it opened; something our former boss never could seem to do. In fact, I have worked part-time for Greg's company on occasion and got to see many schools and teachers we worked with in the past.

I remember Greg when we were 20, then 30, then 40! Wait, I take the 40 back. And it’s been really cool to see him transform over the years into who he is now on the inside and out. Not that he ever looked bad, but he’s only grown better looking over the years which is always a source of comparison pain to me. Greg took me to my first spinning class at the YMCA and despite his efforts to convince me not to do everything everyone else was doing for the entire hour, my stubbornness prevailed and I could barely walk for a week.

Whenever I’m looking for inspiration to take me to the next level whether it be fitness, finance, or friendship, Greg has always been there for me. I TRUST Greg. So if you are thinking that now might be a really good time to buy a house, you may want to call OLD TOWN PROPERTIES and ask for an appointment with him. I promise you Greg will have YOUR best interests in mind. He certainly won’t BS you! Having bought, kept and flipped several properties of his own over the years, he knows houses inside out and what it will take to make an old home, YOUR NEW HOME! I put in about $4,000 and already would say that this house jumped $20,000 in value over the first three months I owned it.

I am grateful to have Greg Elliott as a friend and as my realtor. Because of Greg, I have a house. Because of the love and patience that many people have invested into this house, I now feel like I have a home.

Featured Song: A House Is Not a Home -Chris Colfer (Of GLEE. Yes, i'm a GLEEK!)

Featured Quote:
"A true friend is someone who says nice things behind your back.”

Friday, October 1, 2010

I can DO BLUE can you DO BLUE?

OK! Honestly, it wouldn’t be that hard for me to say I’m becoming way too jaded as a professional fund-raiser and consumer. Ribbons and walks are all starting to blur together to me. I’ve now literally started to affiliate causes and illness with colors!

When I think pink I think it’s breast cancer, yellow its Lance Armstong’s Livestrong, and Red is HIV AIDS or the Organization ONE that had everyone wearing those Inspir(RED) shirts. While, I admire Susan G. Komen for getting her own M&MS, I’m not sure I want to think about breast cancer while I’m eating them.

I could go on, but I think there may be a little part of me that is just jealous, because as an Arthritis Foundation employee, I often wish that people would associate arthritis with something other than the elderly. To this day, I can tell you that the majority of the people I have met don’t realize kids get arthritis! It’s such a misunderstood disease.

Well, I may have got my wish! This October 12th is World’s Arthritis Day and the United States and the Arthritis Foundation are participating for the first time and in a big way. And our mission should we choose to accept it…..”DO BLUE”!

I have to admit, at first, it sounded a little funny to me. I mean, can you do a color? Isn’t that not only physically possible but just begging for parody? Sorry I digress, at least BLUE is one of my favorite colors, so visually this ought to be an aesthetically pleasing promotion.

Still what do I do?? And how exactly does one “DO BLUE”? Is it a dance? Of course my first thought was dying my hair blue but come on, that’s so obvious! Not to mention that I have never died my hair so there’s a little fear of the unknown there. I mean they do have ones that rinse out the next day, right? I’ve got to come up with something unique and creative. I am feeling the pressure now. I don’t want to be out-blued by anyone!

I think the beauty of the promotion is instead of something limited like “WEAR BLUE”, this opens things up to allow people with arthritis to express themselves in anyway by using the color blue. Blue shirts, blue toe nails, blue face paint, there are really no limits to how someone can “DO BLUE”.

The moral of the story, as an Arthritis Foundation employee, it’s my job to make you stop and take notice that this October 12th, is a day that 46 million Americans, and 300,000 children that live with the painful reality of arthritis are for the first time uniting with the entire world to bring attention to a cause that is very personal to them.

I am so grateful for my creative friends. Throughout the years many of you have helped produce benefit CDs, art calendars, design T-Shirts; I could go on and on. This time I am humbly asking for your help to turn Orlando blue on Oct 12-World’s Arthritis Day. Some cities are even lighting up skyscrapers! I’m hoping all of you will find some way to “DO BLUE” on that day, and take a picture of it. Then send the picture to me at tward@arthritis.org or post it on my facebook page at www.facebook.com/tonyinorlando. I will be using the photos to create a You Tube video and a photo essay for our Foundation’s Florida State E-newsletter that goes out to approximately 25,000 people through the state. Please consider joining us in our efforts! It’s just one day, but it’s a very important day to me and many of the families that I have grown to love along the way. Thanks!!!

Peace, Love & Music T

Related Quote: I think I have something tonight that's not quite correct for evening wear. Blue suede shoes.
Elvis Presley

Related Song: Blue-Eiffel 65

Monday, September 27, 2010

(The Love Shack Series)

I don’t think I’ve ever felt so grateful and yet so anxious at the same time. I’m laying here looking up at a beautiful FULL-MOON from my new backporch (well it's new to me) totally transfixed. Then suddenly the reality of having to work tomorrow seems to steal something from the moment. My prescence! I comfort myself by saying it’s normal. And it’s situational. Relax, Enjoy it. Savor it. Live in the moment.

They say moving is one of the top 3 stressors in life. I’ve moved a lot in my life. But this is my first home purchase as a single adult male. Some people would call that a late-bloomer. In fact, I was determined to not buy a house until I was ready to “plant roots” and settle on a primary city to live in. It took having one of my best friends become a realtor, a co-worker’s phone call convincing me I could plant roots for a season rather than my life, and this less than favorable economy we’re all experiencing to make me buy a house. Not to mention years of therapy.

Now here I sit, papers signed, house 75% finished. Well, I guess finished is a relative term in this case. It doesn’t have to be perfect. I just want to have a housewarming party. But alas the kitchen and ‘Jack and Jill” bathrooms aren’t quite “party worthy”. Neither is the kitchen. However, I have had people in my house. They’ve slowly come, to see and share, inspire me, and help me. More than anything I have gifted plants which is really helping me to discover a whole new world, the outside .

Having been trapped in a my own little world inside my head for the vast majority of my life, I love new worlds and experiments, and this blog has been far too empty, far too long. It’s supposed to just be practice anyway! But I’ve been blocked. I’ve been having writer’s block, mental blocks, road blocks, and way more on my plate than normal having! Hasn’t everybody? I just bought my first house. Isn’t that excuse enough to pardon my self inflicted procrastination?

But in my endless search for balance, it’s only fair I turn some attention to writing. I usually only write when I’m inspired. As a songwriter, that’s my favorite way to write because it just flows in a very surreal spiritual manner. But for me, a blog is a form of literary exercise. I need to learn to write when I’m not inspired. I need to learn to conquer writing blocks. So I’ve plotted a writing workout for myself! It involves a house that love built, and the first group of visitors that have blessed it with their presence.

These introductions will likely occur randomly as I write other stuff for the Arthritis Foundation, excerpts from my forthcoming children’s book trilogy (a fictional series starring my Godchild and niece Elana as an extraordinary child that discovers a family secret that sends her on a magical journey courtesy of the moon, the moonflower cactus, and a big imagination.), and basically my slighty warped but well- intended perspective on LIFE and LOVE.

I hope that if you are taking the time to read my musings you will honor me with your participation by commenting with anything these words bring up for you, be it criticism, or compliment. Anything is better than nothing!


Related Quote: "There's No Place Like home!", "Home is where the heart is!", "Whereever I lay my hat is my home".

Related Song: Coming Up Close -Til Tuesday
Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Who is ARTHUR? And why is he hurting our kids?

It’s not a new idea. If anything it was overheard. I was at my very first Arthritis Information Meeting as a new staff person for the Arthritis Foundation about two and a half years ago when I first heard his name mentioned. It wasn’t from a Doctor. It wasn’t from any of my staff friends or volunteers. It was from this funny senior lady in a wheelchair. She had an amazing sense of humor and was making me laugh throughout the meeting much to the dismay of my supervisor.

Then she said it; a sentence that still intrigues me today. “Arthur sure is doing a job on my knees today.” First of all I had no idea what she was talking about so I kind of smiled and kept trying to figure out what she said. And then, she kept mentioning Arthur. So I finally asked her outright…Who’s Arthur? She was there with two lady friends who giggled politely at my naivety, or stupidity. “Well child (She actually called me child, I loved that being over 40 and all), Arthur is my nickname for my arthritis. You see, we’ve been together for awhile now and I feel I’ve earned the right to call him Arthur”.

That was the whole exchange! But yet, I felt like for the first time someone was letting me in on an inside secret for people with arthritis. Many of them refer to arthritis as Arthur. No big thing to most people, but having just tried to get an interview on 4 different morning shows, I was struggling to prove to my media friends that talking about arthritis would be entertaining and not just educational. Even since that day, the majority of the people I talk to in media or even in corporations trying to get sponsorships or support, arthritis often doesn’t seem important enough because it’s that disease we all get when we get older. Something no one really wants to hear or think about until they have to. I often wonder if we did a poll to all the people in the USA how many of them would realize that 46 million Americans live with the disease including 300,000 children. I wonder how many would know it’s the leading cause of disability in America and can sometimes be fatal in children and adults. These are facts that now I’m able to ramble off like the alphabet because I work for the Arthritis Foundation.

After much thought and discussing it with a few key volunteers, we decided to personify arthritis by giving him a full name. Mr. Arthur Itis. We have even started a Florida State Facebook page for him where close to 800 people that are currently connected to the disease share and support each other, trade stories, post articles, and connect.

For those of you with a connection to arthritis, I encourage to try a month long experiment and feel free to comment back with what you discovered. Anytime you go to use the word arthritis, substitute it with Arthur. If nothing else, it makes people wonder what you are saying and they’ll ask you to repeat yourself and listen closer. In some cases, it will really make them listen! For example “Arthur hasn’t been very kind to my daughter this week, she’s been in serious pain”. Or even “Arthur sent my son to the hospital”. Even though it wasn’t initially a new idea, I have found that personifying arthritis into “Arthur” has made the disease just a little more relatable.

I also firmly believe that children with arthritis have a better time with visualization exercises and relating directly to their illness if it has a person’s name. I’ve even asked some of the kids I’ve been working with to draw a picture of Arthur and the results have been surprising and interesting. It’s much harder to draw a picture of arthritis.

So join me and some of my friends in not only changing the face of arthritis by showing people just how many different ages and types of people are affected, help us change his name to something a little more user friendly and attention getting. We need all the help we can to get people talking about Arthur!


Related Quote: "Words have meaning and names have power". & "They do certainly give very strange, and newfangled, names to diseases.”

Related Song: THE NAME GAME (Remix) -Shirley Ellis

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Wow! In less than week I gave 73 people that I care about the chance to help kids and adults with arthritis by asking them to make any donation to my Let's Move Together Arthritis Walk Team "Tony in Orlando". I know, pretty-self-serving name, right?

Well here's a secret..NEVER FEEL BAD OR GUILTY ABOUT DOING SOMETHING SELF-SERVING IF IT WILL HELP THE ULTIMATE GOOD. I have a saying and you can quote me because it's been very powerful in my life. "Guilt is a useless emotion to me, unless I'm using it on someone else". Sounds pretty sinister huh? Truth is I was raised Catholic then Jehovah Witness so I tell people "I got the best of both guilt religions (said lovingly and jokingly)". My mom just looks at me and she has this incredible ability to just sigh and make me feel guilty. Being a hypersensitive person,GUILT played a starring role in the first three quarters of my life. It only has a cameo now and then since I turned 40 (The new 20).

Anyway, I digress. This blog is about "The Numbers Game".
I hope you will find it helpful with your own fund-raising duties if you are fund-raising now.

My Experiment:
Ask 100 people I love to make a donation to my team.

My goal: $1000 (based solely on my first Arthritis Walk in Lakeland more than 2 years ago!)

Experiment Status:
In just a couple days with only about 25 more people to ask, I am 59% to my goal!

Now I know what you are thinking...where am I going to find 100 people to ask??? Well remember it's all relative. If you have ten people, ask all of them and set a smaller goal! We're all different, and it's THE ASKING that is our important duty and the divine intervention comes into play after we do our job. Doesn't the bible say THE CREATOR tells us to plant the seeds, yet it's THE CREATOR that makes everything grow? Well plant as many seeds as you can and let GOD work on the ones that are possibilities. But it's you that's planting the seeds of LOVE in their heart!

Think of it that way and suddenly ASKING feels a lot like LOVING people!

Here's some types of people to think about:
Hairdressers, grocery store manager, school mates, teachers, friends, family, church (a big one), social clubs, Facebook (most friends list their e-mail addresses on there info page), exes (that's been a real profitable category for me, haha) and there are so many more!

Where do you spend all your money?? Ask there.
Parents of kids with arthritis, ask your doctors and pharmacists or hospitals and pharmacies. Just ASK!! And for those of you that are too afraid to ask, while I hate to say it, the ONLY way past that fear is to make yourself ask. I've been there. But believe me, when you feel or see someone responding it's a very deep touching feeling. And you will be so happy you conquered that fear. When you think about it this way; that you are NOT ASKING rather GIVING someone the opportunity to feel better about themselves, suddenly the NOS are less important! Sometimes it's the people you'd least expect to give that do! Sometimes it changes your perspective of them and you find that you see them and relate to them on a deeper level.

Wanna feel some encouragement? Let me tell you now about my beloved mother Carla Dyer and the MASSIVE numbers game she's amidst playing which may put things into perspective for you. Yes, my poor mother gets willingly dragged into being a volunteer at almost every charity I've worked for so far. But can I tell you, I think I'm literally more proud of my MOMSTER these last couple years than just about any other volunteer I've worked with to date! We've grown and learned together and it's a VERY COOL thing!

My mom is the Team Captain for "The Publix Painkillers." She recently mailed a letter our to 300 store managers asking for a donation to her team. There's still some time left, but she hasn't got one response yet. In her store, she asked 39 people for a donation and got $1 dollar! The other day we were on a walk together talking about it and after she shared that, sadly I related! I said that one YES and 39 NOS isn't a unrealistic thing right now. That's almost par for the course. Especially for the Arthritis Foundation because NO ONE who isn't touched directly doesnt realize how serious it is, or that kids get it, or that KIDS DIE FROM IT!

Anyway, my mom is trying hard not to be dicouraged and she keeps talking about "waiting for the popcorn to pop". And I know just what she means because recently two days after my e-mails, my popcorn started popping and I'm 59% to my goal of $1,000. Frankly, I am really surprised. Let's see if I make it! As for mom, she's already reached her goal. Her goal was to ask every Publix store manager in Central Florida to give to her walk team. The donations if she gets them will be a bonus. Remember, THE POWER IS IN THE ASKING! I'm proud of you mom. And I can't wait to get the call when her popcorn starts to pop! :) Believe me, you can't do something of that magnitude and not get some popcorn eventually. the Publix Team will eventually take off. She's about to take it STATEWIDE with our new FLORIDA STATE VIRTUAL ARTHRITIS WALK (A new venture we're hoping will allow people to participate in areas we have no walks. Sadly there are so many areas in Florida we can't afford to staff!).

Anyway, I will keep you posted in THE NUMBERS GAME PART TWO as to whether or not I reach my goal, but I TRULY HOPE that keeping you posted helps you feel encouraged in some way. If not, I'm wasting my time blogging cause I have so much work to do this week. Our Arthritis Walk is on Saturday! Send some LOVE this way and we will use every drop! I'm really looking forward to meeting some of the newer attendees that I've befriended through our Facebook Page "Arthur Itis". I feel like I've known some of them for years and we just met online.

Peace Love and Music
Tony In Orlando

Applicable Quote:“He who is afraid of asking is ashamed of learning.”
Danish Proverb quotes

Applicable Song: The Numbers Game-Theivery Corporation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xAJVri2a1U