Terra Sigillata

I’m deeply appreciative of all who’ve come out to support my student and former lab intern, Jen, who is riding in her brother’s memory in the Philadelphia LIVESTRONG Challenge 100-mile bike ride for the Lance Armstrong Foundation on 10 Sept 2006.

http://www.livestrongchallenge.org/06pa/jenforjon

Jon, a Carnegie-Mellon graduate student, crew coach, and all-around monster athlete, died in late June of a bacterial infection secondary to his treatment for osteosarcoma. He was 23.

As promised, here’s an update that shows her tremendous progress since our last post, when she was still around $2,000 and the entire Jon’s Crew team at about $9,000..

With your help, Jen is now over $10,000 ($10,448, precisely) toward her $15,000 goal with about 10 days to go until the ride. Moreover, their team, Jon’s Crew, stands at $23,764 toward their $30,000 goal. The team has even recruited three additional riders such that their recruiting goal of 10 team members is now at 11.

Jen’s even crushing the 2nd place fundraiser, Justin Samuels, by more than a factor of two. Jen and Jon’s elder brother, Matt, ranks 3rd on the team in fundraising. Not that they’re competing at all with one another.

But, as I said last time, most heartwarming to me are the names I recognize scrolling through Jen’s fundraising page – some family, friends, and even some fellow bloggers. With a new paycheck coming in today, we hope to throw a few more doubloons her way as well.

Jen and I were planning to ride together two weekends ago but her uncle was still working on the brakes for her bike here at the university. For the LIVESTRONG event in Philadelphia, she’ll be riding Jon’s bike that he used for his own cross-country cancer research fundraising ride a couple of summers ago.

So, I’m not really concerned that Jen will have the drive and conditioning to complete the ride. Still, we’re trying to catch up to do a little riding together this weekend even if Ernesto washes us out a bit.

I figure that offering myself up to be humiliated by a 19-year-old woman on a bicycle is the least I can do to support this marvelous cause and memorialize a great young man.

With the extended Labor Day weekend here in the States, I’ll issue just one last update next Thursday before Jen heads up to Philly to meet Matt and the rest of the team.

On behalf of Jen, her family, and the memory of their beloved Jon, I thank you personally for your support.