I always strive to be honest in my writing, but this time, I need ratchet up the level of bluntness.
Blunt Truth #1: Team Drea 2017 feels kind of adrift.
Blunt Truth #2: This is 100% my fault, but I am asking for your help to fix it.
There are two problems, which I guess would qualify as Blunt Truths #3 and #4:
• our needs are changing, and the Team Drea model needs to change with it, and
• I am too busy to do it all.
When I look back on the launch of Team Drea in 2015, I feel a wave of nostalgia for the excitement of creating something new out of the wreckage of my ALS diagnosis. Team Drea saved me from drowning in sadness at a critical time when I could have slipped under. The team gave me new purpose, a new project (and you know how I love projects…).
I was equally as proud of my friends who did their first 5k as those who tackled an Ironman. One friend discovered a gluten allergy during her training, and now feels better than she has in years. Some went from not knowing the sports involved in triathlon to becoming triathletes. Everyone ran farther than they thought they were capable of.
We kept growing in 2016, ending the year with having raised $150,000 and creating a spiffy new organization, the Team Drea Foundation (the TDF). While I thought the main goal was to inspire others to be brave, they taught me it was still okay for me to do so, too.
With two years of momentum clicking along, I thought Team Drea could operate on autopilot a bit while I focused on corporate sponsorships and new partnerships.
I was wrong.
We’ve lost some of our old members, either because they’re not planning to race this year or because they feel like they’ve tapped out their networks on fundraising. And with it, we’ve lost their enthusiasm.
(Here’s the mea culpa…) I’ve insisted that people sign up every year so I know they still want to be part of the team. I did that because I never wanted to assume that people wanted to stay involved year after year – also, practically speaking, I needed to know what races people were doing. But now we’re down in numbers…at the same time that I’ve been branching out and setting up new fundraising projects that require volunteers and enthusiasm.
So that’s the problem.
Compounding that, I set out a lot of ambitious goals for myself this year. I’m keeping up as best I can with 5 workouts a week (swimming, pilates, lifting, swimming, triking), writing classes, and house hunting in a crazy market when 95% of houses don’t work for us.
If you make it, you get to break it
So we’re changing the model. I’m opening up Team Drea again to anyone who wants to help the Team Drea Foundation raise money for ALS research (or help me not lose my mind!).
Here are 10 ways to get involved:
- Race and fundraise (same as before)
- Recruit a friend to race and fundraise
- Volunteer for a race that benefits the TDF (IMMEDIATE help needed! Tarheel 10 Miler on 4/22 and Cary Duathlon on 4/29 – sign up via the links. There will also be other volunteer opportunities later in the year)
- Connect the TDF to a possible corporate sponsor – this could be asking your employer for a donation or introducing me to a friend who owns/manages a business so I can pitch a partnership or fundraiser
- Bake or make goodies to sell – TD members have sold cakes, cookies, girls’ headbands, a quilt(!), artwork, knitted hats, etc. to raise money
- Organize a fundraiser or Team Drea get together – it could be around one of my 12 races this year, an Ales for ALS event, or a restaurant/bar/trivia night that’ll give part of the proceeds to the TDF, or anything else you can think of
- Help me with social media – I can’t keep up with Instagram and Twitter
- Help me with graphic design – various needs: new t-shirt, brochure, flyers, etc.
- Encourage other Team Drea members financially (almost everyone who reads this blog does that anyway)
- Anything else you can think of – most of our greatest ideas have come from Team Drea, not me.
Even if you don’t know how you want to contribute yet, but you’re committed to doing something, please let me know (text, message, or comment) and I will add you to our closed Facebook group as a member of Team Drea. There you will meet incredible people who are challenging themselves every day to be brave, love joyfully, appreciate their healthy bodies and the gift of life.
Blunt Truth #6: I worry that my slow progression lets people forget how dreadful ALS is. Take my friend, Kevin:
Blunt Truth #7: Kevin and I need your help.