Monday, April 10, 2006

Extortion. Now with springier shoes!

With two Chicago Marathons behind me, I’m finally taking steps this year to transform all that huffing and puffing into something more important than my personal running goals.

So I’m running the Chicago Marathon on behalf of the AIDS Marathon organization this October, which for me means the opportunity to train with a group of people (who meet a block from my house!), make new friends, log a good 500 miles this summer and finally meet (or beat!) my so-far-unreachable 4:00 goal.

For you, it means the opportunity to sponsor me and generate much-needed (tax-deductible!) funds for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.

And for the AIDS Foundation, it means more opportunities to provide direct medical care, food, housing and other vital services for people living with HIV and AIDS. To run the AIDS Marathon, I have committed to raising $1,400 in sponsorships before July 5—though my personal goal is $2,500.

It couldn’t be easier to make a donation—just click on this logo, and together we can improve the lives of thousands of people living with this disease:
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I’ve made a $200 starting donation, but the AIDS Marathon office tells me it can take up to five business days for donations to be acknowledged on my pledge page. So at this writing there’s no record that anyone has pledged any money to sponsor me. Please don’t let this weird little technical problem stop you from donating. You can pledge any amount you want—and you can get immediate acknowledgement if you add a comment at the bottom of this post bragging about how generous you are.

Despite recent advances in the treatment of AIDS, the epidemic is far from over. More than one million Americans—and 40 million more around the world—are now living with HIV. It’s no longer the gay disease once gleefully dismissed by the religious right; it’s now the LEADING cause of death among adults age 15-59 worldwide—gay or straight, black or white, male or female. The LEADING cause. That’s a lot of people who who are not only sick, but potentially homeless, jobless, ostracized, trying to raise children or otherwise in desperate need of what the AIDS Foundation provides.

I’ve grown kind of addicted to marathon running, and now I’m asking you to share in the experience with me. Every beautiful, sunny training run … every training run through rain or blinding heat … every Saturday morning milestone … every goosebump and tear of joy and euphoric smile on October 22 … sponsor me today, and I’ll carry you in my thoughts for four straight hours (or more if I suck!) as I soak up the amazing energy from 40,000 other runners and more than a million cheering spectators along the marathon course.

Last year some spectator yelled NoFo! at me somewhere near mile 18. Or maybe some mofo threw a spectator pump at me. I was kinda tired by that point. In any case, that woman had read my blog enough that she recognized me out of 40,000 fast-moving runners. You’ve built up enough of a connection that you’ve read almost to the end of a post written solely to guilt you out of your money. Please. Whip out your credit card, click on the link above and join me on my third marathon adventure.

Thank you.

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