Submitted Tour of Hope 2005 Rider Application

I finished and submitted my 2005 Bristol-Myers Squibb Tour of Hope Rider Application. What a relief. The most important tasks for this weekend were the 2004 tax return for Kathleen and me and this application, and I'm glad to be done with both of them.

I already talked about the Tour of Hope Rider application process and how it was going to be difficult to stand out since the first applicant screening was going to be done entirely on the basis of a web-based application process. What I didn't know at that time is that the length of the answer to each "essay" question is quite limited. Some of the questions on the form specify that the answer must be completed in 800 characters or less. I'm not sure if that's the case for all of the answers or not, but the form forced me to keep my answers quite short.

I'm going to include in this article a copy of the answers I drafted to each essay question, and the final answer I submitted. I'm sure you will agree that some potentially interesting/useful information had to be cut.

  • Question 10: If you are a caregiver, please describe your loved one's experience with cancer, the type of treatment received, and your role in supporting them through the experience:
    • My original answer:
      Peter Andreas Frank, one of my closest friends, died in August 2003 after a 10-year struggle with benign and malignant brain tumors. Ultimately he developed a glioblastoma that killed him. He was treated by Roger Stupp at the Multidisciplinary Oncology Center in Lausanne, Switzerland in a clinical trial testing the efficacy of Gleevec on terminal brain tumors. I visited Peter on a number of occasions at his home near Frankfurt, Germany and later near Zurich, Switzerland. I spent a week with him in May 2003 to help his family care for him. This was right before he entered the hospital for the last time. When I returned home from Switzerland, I wrote a one page letter each day to Peter and faxed it to his family so they could read it to him. I still have the letters.
    • What I finally used:
      Peter Andreas Frank, one of my closest friends, died in August 2003 after a 10-year struggle with benign and malignant brain tumors. Ultimately he developed a glioblastoma that killed him. He was treated by Roger Stupp at the Multidisciplinary Oncology Center in Lausanne, Switzerland in a clinical trial testing the efficacy of Gleevec on brain tumors. I visited Peter on a number of occasions at his home near Frankfurt, Germany and later near Zurich, Switzerland. I spent a week with him in May 2003 to help his family care for him. This was right before he entered the hospital for the last time. When I returned home from Switzerland, I wrote a one page letter each day to Peter and faxed them to his family so they could read them to him. I still have the letters.
  • Question 12: Have you supported the cancer cause in the past? If yes, provide examples of the ways in which you have participated local cancer events or activities.
    • My original answer:

      I write a weblog called OperationGadget.com which initially covered electronic gadgets and sports technology. The site has a following within the recreational cycling community, so I first started talking about the cancer cause on Operation Gadget when LiveStrong Wristbands came out. I've been wearing a LiveStrong wristband since June 9, 2004. After I wrote about buying a LiveStrong wristband, I saw an immediate surge in traffic to the site. I continued to talk about LiveStrong wristbands through the Tour de France, discussing which pro cyclists were wearing them, how they were being sold in France, how the money collected was being used, and where the wristbands could be purchased in the United States. In all, I've written 31 articles about LiveStrong since June 2004. As a result of these efforts Operation Gadget became a resource to the worldwide cancer community and is read by 125,000 unique visitors per month.

      After the Tour de France I wanted to stay involved, so I decided to sign up for the Tour of Hope D.C. Fundraising Ride and write about the experience of participating. I raised over $2,000 from friends, family, and readers of my weblog. I posted 30 articles about the Tour of Hope including profiles of the 2004 national team riders, information about the course, my training, maps of the DC Fundraising Ride course that I created using a GPS unit, my thoughts on the experience of participating, and about 50 digital photos.

      Almost by accident, I got involved in Breast Cancer Fundraising after that, providing information about the Target Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Wristband Program and the Living in Pink Wristband Program. Due to Operation Gadget's very high ranking with major search engines, many people seeking information about those programs visited my site as well. Amazon.com has reported that people who visited Operation Gadget bought [ tens of thousands of ] Target breast cancer wristbands from them in the six months ending March 2005. I have no way of knowing how many LiveStrong wristbands Operation Gadget readers bought from the LAF On-line Store since my site was not part of a link-tracking program with the LAF.
    • What I finally used:
      I write a weblog called OperationGadget.com where I have talked in great detail about the Lance Armstrong Foundation, the LiveStrong Program, the Tour of Hope, and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. This website has about 125,000 unique visitors a month. The site has become a resource for the worldwide cancer community by connecting motivated people with reputable fundraising programs. [ Tens of thousands of ] cancer awareness wristbands have been purchased by readers in the last six months.
  • Question 13: One of the main objectives of the Tour of Hope is to raise public awareness about cancer research and participation in clinical trials. Why is this important to you?
    • My original answer:
      I believe that greater involvement in cancer drug clinical trials by adult cancer victims is critical to future progress in the fight against most cancers. I did everything I could to help my friend Peter Andreas Frank and his family in their battle against brain cancer. Through his participation in a clinical trial of Gleevec that took place at the Multidisciplinary Oncology Center at the University Hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland, I learned that a very small percentage of adult cancer victims participate in clinical trials. This is in stark contrast to the situation with childhood cancer victims. My wife is a pediatric resident at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ. Through her work in the hematology-oncology unit, I learned that the majority of childhood cancer patients participate in clinical trials, and that many researchers attribute the dramatic progress in cure rates among children to that degree of participation. I want to make more people aware of the gap between clinical trial participation in children and adults, urge adult cancer victims to get involved, and urge doctors to better connect their practices with the cancer research community.
    • What I finally used:
      I believe that greater involvement in cancer drug clinical trials by adult cancer victims is critical to future progress in the fight against many cancers. Through my friend Peter Frank's participation in a Gleevec clinical trial at the Multidisciplinary Oncology Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, I learned that a very small percentage of adult cancer victims participate in clinical trials. This is in stark contrast to the situation with childhood cancer victims. My wife is a pediatric resident at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ. Through her work in the hematology-oncology unit, I learned that many childhood cancer victims participate in clinical trials. I want to make more people aware of this participation gap.
  • Question 14: Do you have any experience with public speaking? If so, please describe.
    • My original answer:
      I was president of the New Jersey state chapter of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute alumni association for six years. This gave me the opportunity to speak at a number of large gatherings of alumni each year. I currently serve as a member of the seminar instruction staff for the Atlantic Amateur Hockey Association Officiating Program. I present hockey officiating training information at seminars throughout New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania in September and October each year.
    • What I finally used:
      I was president of the New Jersey state chapter of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute alumni association for six years. This gave me the opportunity to speak at a number of large gatherings of alumni each year. I currently serve as a member of the seminar instruction staff for the Atlantic Amateur Hockey Association Officiating Program. I present hockey officiating training information at seminars throughout New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania in September and October each year.
  • Question 15: How comfortable are you with publicly sharing your personal cancer story and the need for cancer research participation? Site an example of a time when you shared your story in a public setting.
    • My original answer:
      I've written extensively about the experience of raising money for the Tour of Hope and riding in the Tour of Hope Washington D.C. Fundraising Ride. I've also corresponded with thousands of people about the LiveStrong Yellow Wristband Campaign, the Target Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Wristband Program, and the Living in Pink Breast Cancer Wristband Program. I've spoken about my experiences at a Rensselaer Alumni Association meeting and at a meeting of one of the hockey officiating associations to which I belong.
    • What I finally used:
      I would be very comfortable. Over the past year, I've written extensively about the experience of raising money for the Tour of Hope and riding in the Tour of Hope Washington D.C. Fundraising Ride. I've also corresponded with thousands of people about the LiveStrong Yellow Wristband Campaign, the Target Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Wristband Program, and the Living in Pink Breast Cancer Wristband Program. I've also spoken about my experiences at a Rensselaer Alumni Association meeting and at a meeting of one of the hockey officiating associations to which I belong.
  • Question 16: What do you hope to gain by participating in this ride?
    • My original answer:
      I want to write about the entire training and participation in the coast-to-coast ride because I think that the Tour of Hope and the Lance Armstrong Foundation could benefit from another writer who could deliver the amount of web-based information that Chris Brewer did in 2003. For me personally, I want to make a transition from mountain to road biking. I want to train like a professional cyclist for an entire summer. I want to get my weight below 185 pounds. I want to do something beyond ice hockey officiating to demonstrate that I am capable of amateur sports achievement at the highest level.
    • What I finally used:
      I want to write about the entire training and participation in the coast-to-coast ride because I think that the Tour of Hope and the Lance Armstrong Foundation could benefit from another writer who could deliver the amount of web-based information that Chris Brewer did in 2003. For me personally, I want to make a transition from mountain to road biking. I want to train like a professional cyclist for an entire summer. I want to get my weight below 185 pounds. I want to do something beyond ice hockey officiating to demonstrate that I am capable of amateur sports achievement at the highest level.
  • Question 17: The Tour of Hope requires intense training for 14 weeks along with nine days of 24-hour relay-style cycling. Are you and your family prepared to give your full personal, emotional, and physical dedication to the demands of this Tour? Describe your plan for managing your training for the Tour including family and professional obligations.
    • My original answer:
      I work full time from a home office and most of my consulting clients are on the West Coast. I have an extremely flexible schedule. I can plan my work around the demands of an intense training schedule and have done so for the past two summers. My wife and I have no children, so we have additional flexibility in that area as well.
    • What I finally used:
      I work full time from a home office and most of my consulting clients are on the West Coast. I have an extremely flexible schedule. I can plan my work around the demands of an intense training schedule and have done so for the past two summers. My wife and I have no children, so we have additional flexibility in that area as well.