I realize this post is a bit out of the norm, but I hope you'll agree that it is a worthy departure.
For several years (3? 4?, memory continues to slip as I near 30) my friend Ryan Asdourian has entertained crowds as Blitz, the Seahawks mascot. He had been a mascot in college (stupid Gators) and has thoroughly enjoyed the chance to pump up football fans here in Seattle. Today I learned that Ryan was diagnosed with MS in Dec '08.
Quite a shock to me, as I know it was to him. I'll spare you all a long winded soliloquy - a message passed on from Ryan is after the jump if you're interested. Short version - Ryan is seeing this as an opportunity to raise awareness and money to help the fight against MS. He has set up Team Blitz for the Seattle MS Walk in April, and hopes to raise $100,000 in all.
I've been an avid reader of this blog for about a year (and a timid commenter over the last few months). I realize this blog may be an odd place for an passionate appeal, but I thought it might be special to see if we can drop up some Field Gulls support. Below is the link to the overall Team Page if anyone wants to donate or join in on the walk (April 11th). I've also included a link to the Team member page I just setup.
If FG vets can Rec this or do anything to help get this post on the main page, I'd be incredibly grateful. Thanks everyone!
"1 year and 2 months ago, I learned I was living with a disease that has no cure. That feeling you have when your foot is asleep, I had running from my ribcage to my toes. It lasted for days.
I saw multiple doctors and had a number of MRIs. All resulted in the same phone call telling me the results were inconclusive and I’d need to come in again. That changed on Dec 7th, 2008.
“Hi Ryan, the results of your brain scan came in and we’d like to discuss the results with you in person.” I think I blacked out for the rest of the conversation but the nurse said something along the lines of it being important for me to come in today and that they had cleared time on the doctor’s schedule if I could make it work. Of course I could make it work.
Multiple Sclerosis, a degenerative neurological disease, directly affects more people in Washington than anywhere else in the US. That afternoon I learned I was part of that statistic.
My mom thought I was dying. For those of you that know my mom, you know she is one of the most loving human beings on the planet. It hurt me more trying to comprehend her pain than to find out I had MS. It was hard on my whole family, but with the encouraging words of my dad, the compassion of my mom, and my brother moving out to Seattle to be with me, they have made it easier.
I know exactly what Lou Gehrig meant when he said he felt like one of the luckiest people in the world. I have an incredible life. In the past few years, I have been to Africa, Europe and South America, shared a stage with Steve Ballmer, been skydiving with Red Bull, and jumped off the roof of Qwest Field to the sound of 67,000 screaming fans.
As most of you know, I spend my days working at Microsoft and most of my other time running around as the mascot for the Seattle Seahawks. Every year I go to numerous walks, runs and charity events for different causes and diseases dressed as Blitz. I had been to Walk MS before, but it only registered as “another walk” to me. But last year it was different, and this year, I am starting my own team. Team Blitz.
The Seahawks have been an unbelievably supportive organization and I will be doing the entire walk dressed as Blitz, the mascot. With the support of the Seahawks and using the mascot as a vehicle for fundraising, I’ve been given the unique opportunity to raise money for a cause that’s important to me and millions of others. I’ve set two goals for Team Blitz this year. The first is to raise $100,000. The second is to win the Rookie Team of the Year award. Lofty? Maybe. Achievable? Most definitely!
If you are getting this email, it means we are somehow connected and I would love to have you involved. I understand you may not have the time or be able to help financially however just by reading this message, you have already helped. If you want to actively get involved, I’ve outlined a few things you can do, any of which, that would mean the world to me.
1. Donate money. Help raise money to find a cure and donate on my team site. Click here. www.BlitzTacklesMS.com (Don’t forget to check and see if your company matches donations – I can answer questions about matching, especially for Microsoft)
2. Walk on Team Blitz. Even if you can't raise money, if you are local to Seattle, on April 11th, walk with me. Mark it on your calendar!
3. Forward this email to someone, or everyone. Sometimes an email is all people need to find a cause they want to support. I know I left people out, so please pass it on.
4. Post a message on Facebook to help raise money and awareness. You can use www.BlitzTacklesMS.com
5. Watch a 6 minute mini-documentary my brother created on the walk – Click here
6. Ask questions. It’s totally okay.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) affects people differently over time. I’m in the early stages and have 3 lesions on my brain, not a day goes by that I don’t notice how it affects my body. It’s slight now and overall, I’m doing well, but many people are not. They struggle with fatigue, they struggle to walk, they struggle with depression, they struggle with life. Help me. Help me inspire hope and remind millions of people that no disease can ever hold us down. Join me.
Approximately 100 times a year, groups and organizations ask me to dress up as Blitz. On April 11th, I ask you to walk for me, so that I can continue to run for you.
www.BlitzTacklesMS.com – Team Page
www.BlitzTacklesMS.com/ryan - Personal Page"
Update: For any of you philanthropic high rollers, Ryan/Blitz has setup some rewards for large donations --
$1,000 Donors - Football will be autographed by a Seahawks player. Recipient will not get to choose which player signs the football.
$5,000 Donors - Winner will get to accompany Blitz for an entire game day from backstage to on the field. The action will come to you as you have a once in a lifetime experience. Winner is not transferrable from the donor and is subject to availability on a first come first serve basis. Maximum of 8 winners total and only valid during the 2010 Seahawks season. Winner must be at least 18 years old and agree to the rules and regulations of the Seahawks and the NFL set forth for any person on the field.