Thursday, August 30, 2007

making people aware

From a note we received along with a recent donation:

"Making people aware is the best help you can get"

I believe that pretty well states why I started this blog. So, if you're reading this and want to help in the fight against PKD, please do what you can to help make people aware!

Monday, August 27, 2007

A weekend away!

In celebration of our upcoming 15th anniversary, Jeanne and I got to spend the weekend away up in the Finger Lakes, thanks to my parents, who agreed to take our three kids for the weekend. We stayed in Corning, NY, which we found had a very pleasant historic downtown area with nice restaurants which we dined at both Friday and Saturday evenings. On Saturday, we took a hike through Watkins Glen State Park in the morning,

had lunch on the shore of Lake Seneca,

and then spent the afternoon visiting several wineries and tasting many different types of wines. Here's what you get when you ask someone to take your picture right after a wine tasting:

and here's what you get when you give them a second chance:

As you can see from the pictures, the scenery is absolutely incredible! On Sunday, we visited the Corning Museum of Glass, where Jeanne took part in doing some glass blowing to make a Christmas Ornament for our Christmas tree. Here she is in action:

It was a great weekend! Thanks, Mom and Dad!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

four weeks until the walk

Well, the walk is exactly four weeks from today. I finally got the new motherboard for the laptop in the mail yesterday, and I'm happy to report that I'm posting this from the laptop, as I've gotten it up and running again as of this morning!

The highlight of the week for me regarding walk activities came on Tuesday. I had posted a bunch of information outside my office regarding my walk participation. A knock came on my door Tuesday afternoon and a smiling face introduced herself as Karen. Karen, I learned, has PKD and, as is usually the case, a history of it throughout her family. She had noticed the information I had posted outside my door and wanted to know more about what was going on. In talking to her, I was surprised to learn that even though she was diagnosed with PKD eight years ago and is actively monitoring her kidney function and very well informed on recent advances related to PKD, she was unfamiliar with the PKD Foundation and didn't realize there was a walk for PKD. I filled her in as to my own personal involvement and pointed her to the website so she could learn more about all of the great things that are going on to help fight PKD. It was a very rewarding feeling to have made this connection.

Besides that, I am happy to report that the donations are still coming in, and we are still working hard to distribute the Walk for PKD posters which Heidi sent.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Matthew's first birthday

We went down to Rick and Sheila's yesterday for my nephew Matthew's first birthday party. Perfect weather, great food (and plenty of it) and great company made for a great party! Cindy changed her mind at the last minute and decided to make the drive from PA so we were able to get all seven grandchildren together - which is always a treat! Here's a great picture of Dad with all of "Pop-Pop's Pals" and "Pop-Pop's Princess".

Spent this evening catching up on sending out a bunch of overdue "thank you"s, gathering up offline donations for sending to the foundation, and other administrative tasks related to the walk. I think I'm finally caught up - for the moment. Now I just have to get some files off of the other (broken) computer so that I can sort through who I've already mailed letters to and who I still need to send to. Here's where we stand:

Counting the various offline donations which aren't included, we are well over $4000!!

Jeanne's started delivering some of the pamphlets and posters that Heidi sent up to us. I'm going to start trying to distribute some myself this week.

Jason's been sleeping really poorly lately - and as a result, so have I. So, I'm about to turn in and call it a night.

Thanks again to all our supporters!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

midweek update

Well, the good news is I got the van door fixed! I found some really helpful online guidance at Sometimes I wonder how I survived before the internet. I suppose I should send Al Gore a personal thank you.

Unfortunately, on the other hand, I've had to declare the laptop officially dead. I've order a new motherboard and hope to have that in the next few days. Of course, I had a bunch of information related to the Walk for PKD collected there, so I'll have to do without that until I get the computer up and going again.

I spent some time over the last couple of days gathering up all of donations the team has collected from various different sources. I've almost got my arms around everything again. I've decided to create a spreadsheet to keep track of everything, rather than relying on the online system the PKD Foundation has in place. Our "official, unofficial" total (which includes donations I haven't yet sent in and other donations which got sent directly to the foundation) is now $4030.55!!!! Thanks again to all those who have supported us!

I've also decided to use this blog to keep track of our total and as a place to personally thank everyone who has donated to the team. See the right sidebar, where you can also see our new "team picture".

...and, oh yeah, today we finally got a Wii!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

back from family reunion

Went up to Vermont for the annual family reunion over the weekend. As usual, we all had a great time. It's always very nostalgic for me to return to Waterbury, where I have so many childhood memories.

The good news is that we got a new battery for the camera. But, we were all so busy having fun, I neglected to take many pictures. But, we did manage to get a new official "Team Teddy Bear photo". Unfortunately, since my mom had to be on call for work this past weekend, she was unable to join us, so we couldn't include her in.

I hope to get around to tallying up our new team total soon, including all of the donations which aren't included on the web page. However, we've got a broken door on the van, and our laptop doesn't seem to want to boot, so realistically, I may not be able to get to this until the weekend. The good news is the donations keep coming in! Thanks to you all!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

doing even better than I thought

Well, I found out today that several people have donated to Team Teddy Bear, but were inadvertantly donating in such a way that their donations weren't being credited to us, and I wasn't even aware that the donations were being made.

What people are expected to do is to hit the "Support Bob!" button on my page or the "Support Team Teddy Bear!" button on the team page. Turns out there is another button on the top of the page labelled "Donate Now" which I hadn't even noticed. If you click on that button, you can make a donation to the PKD Foundation - but it is completely independant of the Walk for PKD. I can't say I can blame someone for hitting the "Donate Now" button when that is exactly what they are intending to do!
So, the good news is we've raised even more than I realized. The bad news is that I am going to have to try to track down all of the people who donated this way so that I can properly thank them and send them receipts. I wrote to the PKD Foundation letting them know what is happening, just in case there is something they can do to help prevent these "silent donations" from occurring

When I was talking to Katie at the PKD Convention, she mentioned something about a new system to handle the donation process next year. Hopefully, that solves problems like this one, and allows for easier tracking of offline donations. With some of the changes they've made, it's turning out to be a lot of work this year to keep track of everything - but it's all for a good cause!

Heidi, who runs the Hudson Valley walk (see her page at, sent us along a bunch of posters and pamphlets to distribute around the area. Jeanne is going to try to stop by some nephrologist offices and dialysis centers tomorrow. It would be great if that leads to some more walkers and more teams in the Hudson Valley walk.