Conquering Cancer Festival (33)

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Here’s my attempt at expressing the gratitude I have for those involved with the Conquering Cancer Festival on Saturday. However, there is nothing, nor grandiose gesture, that I feel as though I can do, at the moment, to repay the work, support, and respect on my behalf. So, please accept my sincerest Thank you. And know, should any of you need anything at any time in the future, I would be more than willing to contribute to whatever the cause may be.

That being said, I want to take a few lines to thank a few individual people who really went above and beyond to make this event happen and run so smoothly. So, Krissy Tripp, Caroline Farchmin, Kyle Schwartz, and Ben Beussink, to you guys I am forever appreciative. This would never have been pulled off if it weren’t for the four of you…especially Krissy and Caroline, sorry guys. Either way, you guys are all rock starts in my book. To the remaining 75 or so volunteers, we couldn’t have done it without and I know how valuable your time is, so thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to help with this event. My family and I were/are continually amazed at the support you continue to show me.

As far as the event, anyone who didn’t go missed out! It was fantastic. It could not have been more of a beautiful day and I am pretty sure everyone there had a pretty great time. I know I did. I even have the awkward sunburn to
prove it.

I showed up a little after noon to try and help set up. It’s hard to do much to help when you’re not supposed to lift more than 20 lbs. I ended up just saying hi to everyone and wandering around for the better part of an hour. Then, some friends started throwing around a Frisbee…which I really enjoyed because I hadn’t been able to do in a long time. Moreover, I played catch with a baseball (that one hurt) and then HAD to try out the bounce house…just to be sure it was safe for the kids of course. Unfortunately, I may have overdone it a bit (SHOCKER). After that I had to take a few moments to sit down and let my stomach calm back down.

By then, it was nearly 2:00 and everything was being re-inflated, the band was about to start playing, and the whole festival was kicking off. Let me just say that the bands were exceptional from start to finish and I would like to thank each and every one of them for coming out and showing their support and donating their time. C Rock City kicked it off and nailed some Eagle’s covers to get things going. And, to close things out, my favorite artist that I’ve ever seen in concert, big or small, Jacob Latham did a spectacular job of both playing and cracking me up with his perfectly timed one-liners between songs. It ended up being a fairly intimate and private concert at that point since it was close to 9:00 and the festival was beginning to wind down. I don’t think it could have concluded in any better way. You should definitely follow Jacob and buy his album. The rest of the bands were great as well!

Well, six-hundred words in and I haven’t even mentioned the Beer Garden. THERE WAS SO MUCH BEER. Thank you to all of the awesome breweries that donated to the cause. I think we ended up with some leftover, but there was definitely a large amount consumed. Unsurprisingly, the Beer Garden seemed to be the most popular event!
All of the other events did really well too! The bounce house was quite a hit for the youngsters, the Gladiator tournament at 7 was definitely a highlight…although it turned into more of a wrestling match, but I’ll let it slide. The winner got a sweet Nascar racing suit (which was donated by Mizzou Alum John Anderson from ESPN, and not Jon Stewart, which I apparently said on stage, my apologies). The face-painting station may have had the longest and most consistent lines of the day. There were tons of kids running around with awesome face paint jobs. And, even my dad decided to get his face painted. Thanks to Tara and Hannah for your artistic abilities. The cow milking station was entertaining, I went undefeated at bags, and of course, I was able to ring the bell at the (kids) strongman competition.

Throughout the day I also got to give multiple interviews. I felt like I was always on camera! There was a master’s student in journalism recording footage for a documentary, the MBA program taking pictures, and I even did an interview with KOMU, which you can find HERE.

Lastly, Krissy came up with the really cool idea to play the movie Gladiator, which is where the inspiration for the blog comes from, on the big screen for us to watch and wind down the night. By this time, most of the volunteers were helping to clean up, and a few of us were down watching the movie. It was an awesome experience. The sound was fantastic, and I could watch that movie a million times without losing interest.

Anyway, the event went off without a hitch and was definitely the highlight of the last 7 months for me. I really appreciate everyone coming out to help and show their support and give me one last hoorah before I begin a summer-long chemotherapy journey. As I’m writing this, I have my chemo pump hooked up again. Ohhhh how I’ve missed it. I’ll cover how the return to chemo went in a blog tomorrow. But, for today, please know that I am feeling pretty great.

The funds will be used to go towards my medical bills and some other costs that have arisen due to the cancer diagnosis. For instance, after losing so much weight, I definitely need a new suit for investor pitches, interviews, events, and most importantly…MY GRADUATION BANQUET!

Thanks for tuning in and again, you folks rock.

My family and I are extremely grateful for each and every one of you.