"True compassion means not only feeling another’s pain, but also being moved to help relieve it..."
~ Daniel Goleman
Violet Segedi was born in Romania in 1910, the second of 11 children.
It was during the first Great War, when her parents decided that Europe was too dangerous to raise a family, so they boarded a boat headed for America, where they had family awaiting for them in Detroit.
There she went to school and helped her working mother to raise her younger siblings.
At the age of 18 she met a Canadian man from a Czech family named Fred. Fred had come to Detroit, via Canada, to seek work as a radio technician. Soon he landed a job at the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) and quickly rose in the management ranks.
Fred and Violet together had four children. In the summer of 1942, they left Detroit for San Francisco when Fred was transferred to the West Coast where RCA believed that he could better serve the war effort.
Like many women of that time, Violet worked as a homemaker as a volunteer in her community and church.
As time took Violet into her 40’s, she began to notice sharp pain in her joints, especially her hands and fingers. Tasks that were once easy for her strong hands, such as perhaps opening a can of tuna, now became a laboring chore.
She was still a young woman by today’s standards, yet she struggled to work with her hands and fingers in any type of work that took any considerable strength or manual dexterity.
By the time Violet had reached the age of 50, her hands and fingers had grown deformed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). She was unable to grasp items due to her weak grip. Holding a pen or pencil was painful yet she continued to complete her crossword puzzle each day.
Violet died in 2009 just a few months shy of her 100th birthday.
For over 50 years, she lived with excruciating pain and suffering due to her arthritis. Unfortunately for Violet, many of the treatment drugs available today to help with RA were simply not available.
Today there are over 50 million, doctor diagnosed, American adults who suffer from at least one form of arthritis. In addition to the adults, there are over 300,000 children, under the age of 18, who suffer from juvenile arthritis. Arthritis affects more people than heart disease, cancer or diabetes.
Arthritis is the nation’s leading cause of disability costing the U.S. economy more than $128 billion dollars each year.
Each year, arthritis accounts for 40 million outpatient visits, 1 million hospitalizations, and over 7 thousand deaths.
While you might believe that Arthritis is an "old person’s" disease, over 2/3 of all arthritis sufferers are under the age of 65.
Arthritis can strike seemingly healthy individuals at any time... this includes myself as I first contracted gout about 10 years ago and suffer incredible pain for a few weeks each year as it flairs up from time to time (as recently as 4 weeks ago).
In 2009, I was invited to participate in a bicycle ride down the coast of California, 535 miles over the span of 8 days to raise money and awareness for the Arthritis Foundation.
I found that people participating in this ride generally fall into one of two categories:
- Bicyclists who want to spend 8 days riding along one of the most scenic routes in all the world... but couldn’t care less what the cause is...
- Supporters of the Arthritis Foundation who want to raise money and awareness for the prevention and cure of arthritis... but could care less what the event is...
I must honestly admit that in 2009, I was of the former group... not the latter.
Due to a crash while training for the ride in 2009, I was unable to ride that year, but vowed to ride the following year.
In 2010, I rode together with 300 other riders in the 10th annual California Coast Classic... many of whom were severe sufferers of arthritis but somehow found the strength and courage to ride the entire 535 miles.
Since 2009, I have met some incredible people who try their best to live normal lives despite the pain they must sometimes endure. I have had the opportunity to talk with kids, their parents, and other adults who have tried their best to go on each day despite their affliction.
The Arthritis foundation uses the money raised in this event for three main purposes:
- Funding research grants to find better treatments and one day a cure for arthritis
- Educating patients on how to better control their arthritis through community outreach programs
- Advocating on behalf of people, arthritis sufferers at all levels of government
This year I have decided to once again ride for the Arthritis Foundation.
My goal this year is to raise $5,000 for the Arthritis Foundation from direct donations which, through matching, will actually be $15,000.
For the most part, I have no problem donating time and/or money to a cause I find worthy... be it breast cancer 3-day walk, after-school programs for kids, scouting, schools, and/or programs to help the elderly (and of course the Arthritis Foundation).
What I do have a problem with is asking others to help join me by donating to my good causes... giving is personal... and begging for money is not usually my style.
So I’m trying a slightly different approach... a win-win-win opportunity...
As you can imagine, due to all of my travel, I have accumulated thousands of frequent flyer points. So much in fact, that I can’t possible use them all...
Therefore... on August 15th I will hold an opportunity drawing with a very limited amount of entries (100 to be exact).
The Grand Prize is 50,000 Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards points.
Depending on how you book your travel... these points could be as many as 8-10 one-way trips on SWA...
In addition, to the grand prize above... there will be 19 additional prizes including gift cards to restaurants, movies, iTunes, and department stores.
Lastly... I will add 10 of my favorite business books for a total of 30 prizes.
THIS DRAWING IS LIMITED TO 100 ENTRIES
Therefore there is at least a 30% chance of winning some prize! (if all the entries are sold... your odds are higher still if there are less than 100 entries)
To donate please click or copy and paste the following link into your browser:
For each $50.00 donation you make, you will receive 1 entry to the drawing.
The Arthritis Foundation is a fully recognized 503c charity so your donation is fully tax deductible and you will receive a letter from the Arthritis Foundation for tax purposes.
THE BONUS MULTIPLIER EFFECT
In addition to your donation... for every dollar raised, I will personally match your donation dollar for dollar.
In addition to your donation... for every dollar raised, OptiFuse will match your donation dollar for dollar.
Therefore... doing the math... for every $50 donated by you... $150 will be donated to the Arthritis Foundation...
As I mentioned above, what motivated me to do the first ride in 2010 was my love of cycling...
...however today I ride for those who can’t ride due to their arthritis affliction...
I am riding for them...
I am riding for my grandmother Violet who suffered so many years with arthritic pain...
I’m riding so that one day no one ever again will feel the pain of arthritis...
That someone might just be you or me...
Thank you for your support of OptiFuse (and the Arthritis Foundation), where we give thanks that we have the opportunity to give back...
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