10,000 Thanks and a New Goal

DirtyPanamera660p

Well, it looks like we’ve not only passed our initial funding goal, but we’ve even gone a little over. We didn’t think it was possible to raise so much money so quickly. We are overwhelmed by the outpour of support you’ve all given us. Thanks doesn’t even begin to describe how we feel about your donations and your desire to share our cause with others. Personally, I was touched when we hit our first $1,000. Last week, tears welled when we hit our $10,000 goal. We’ve had many discussions since then about our next step. We debated whether it was right or wrong to increase our funding goal and the sort of message that sends to the people who have already given so generously to our cause.

After days of weighing multiple options, we’ve decided that there is absolutely no way we can simply stop at our initial goal. On July 27th, we depart on the PanAmerica. And this project will reach well beyond our circle of family and friends as it goes national. We’ve seen what the people we know can do to help fight Lou Gehrig’s Disease, now let’s see how the rest of the country can make a difference.

At any given moment, there are roughly 30,000 people diagnosed and living with ALS in the United States. Now that we’ve passed one dollar for every mile that we drive, we’d love to raise one dollar for EVERY ALS PATIENT IN THE UNITED STATES! Fairwell ten grand. You were a sexy fling. Hello $30,000! We can’t wait to see you soon! We know it will be the best $30,000 that everyone involved will have spent this year. If not for the cause, then at least for the adventure. We’ve said it a bunch, and we’ll say it again:

We love each and every one of you. Without you, there is no PanAmerica.

And by the way, I know I’ve been quiet for a little while, but I hope that picture proves that I wasn’t just sitting around doing nothing.

Matt’s Training Mission

First off, congratulations to my cousin Vanessa Tobias, wait, make that Vanessa uhh. . . hmm . . . Vanessa something that starts with an S, and her new husband Phil. . . S. on an awesome and beautiful wedding.

The trip up to the wedding near Kirkwood, CA, which is just outside of South Lake Tahoe, made for the perfect PanAmerica training mission. The 15 hour 900-ish mile round trip gave me a few bits of insight so that I can better prepare for the big event.

I learned that once mosquitoes get in the car with you, they don’t want to leave, so you need to put the windows down for quite a long time to get them out. However, it’s worth putting up with the mosquitoes in order to close the windows when driving past the manure plant.

I also learned that when we are lucky enough to stay in a hotel on our trip, we should make sure they have A/C, fresh batteries in the smoke detector, and at least one f-ing employee on the property after hours (after hours being any time other than about 9:15 am to a little after lunch time). I’m no hotel snob, really. Rob, Trent and I slept on the dirt, in a trailer park, in 29 Palms, in the summer, and it was a thousand times more comfortable than Dante’s 10th Circle of Hell, the Kirkwood Mountain Resort. Seriously, I would like to never stop urinating on this building, unless of course, it was on fire and my stream had a chance of putting the fire out.

$10,000 Down!

From the bottom of all of our hearts, the entire PanAmerica Crew would like to thank everyone who is already involved and showing us this incredible support. We’ve been excited about this trip and hopeful that others would be excited too, but none of us thought that we would hit our fundraising goal nearly a month before we even pulled out of LA.

That’s awesome!

Many of our friends have donated, and you guys kick butt.

Other friends have spoken to some business type folks and drummed up support for us in some pretty big places, and we’re excited to share all that crazy news with you as soon as we get the okay to do so. But just know, for now, that it’s pretty cool.

If you haven’t subscribed to the mailing list yet, now might be a good time to do so. We have a few excellent goodies that we get to start sharing soon.

An Aerodynamic Head

Trent-Haircut

A little while ago, we made a pledge. If we could raise $500 by our deadline, we would shave Trent’s head. If we could raise $1,000 in that same amount of time, we would shave only part of Trent’s head. Well, you guys came through for us and we ended up getting the $500, but just shy of the $1,000 mark.

We Proudly Present:

An Aerodynamic Head

World ALS Day

Today is World ALS Day. Since this is my (Gary Galerne) first post on here, I am going to make this very personal, because I think you deserve it.

If you’re here, you have an idea of what ALS is.  If you don’t, a quick click through our website (The-Cause) or a Google search will tell you what it is and what it does.

What Wikipedia doesn’t tell you is what ALS does psychologically (or financially for that matter), to the people who are suffering from it, and to their friends and family.  For the patient, every thing but your heart and brain are affected: people typically think that ALS attacks the brain in a way much like dementia does.  However, that is not the case: the brain is untouched, but the nerve endings are.  This means that you become a prisoner of your own body while being completely conscious of it: unable to speak, eat, walk, blink, and in the end…breathe.  I watched my father go through this horrific process.  I watched him tirelessly write notes to us on his iPad till his last day.  He feared being in a wheelchair, but I feared the loss of communication.  July of 2012 was the last time I heard his voice. Few things are sadder than the feeling of not being able to help, and then the crushing realization of inevitability.

World ALS Day is about awareness. It’s about getting the word out. So few people know what Lou Gehrig’s Disease is, it’s probably why some still joke about it.  We think it’s clear that it’s no laughing matter. Today is another opportunity to broaden the knowledge of an audience the ALS community doesn’t yet have. It should be shared. And it should be thought of. World ALS Day will now be very dear and close to me, much like my father’s birthday is. Because ALS is considered a rare disease, this day means a lot to so few people. But all it takes is a “like”, a “share”, or talking about it with friends. ALS patients lose the ability to speak, but we still have ours!  Dammit, we should SHOUT this out!

 

The PanAmerica isn’t about “avenging” my father’s unfair passing. It isn’t about a road trip. It isn’t about 4 best friends.  It isn’t about hope.  And it’s not even about my father.  The PanAmerica is an idea.  It’s a message.  And it’s what we are capable of doing.  We can avenge everyone who is affected by it.  There CAN be a cure for ALS, so let’s DRIVE towards one together.  And that is larger than us.

The Birth of The PanAmerica . . .

Not much more than a few weeks ago, The PanAmerica was just something we casually discussed to pass the time on our way to meet some friends. We really weren’t taking it very seriously, just a bunch of “It would be so cool to…” and “Wouldn’t it be fun if…” Nothing tangible, the idea of this trip was just a blob, or a cloud, sort of a shared daydream. While the fantasy discussion was taking place in the front seat, in the back seat a quick internet search revealed that ThePanAmerica.com was available. Another week passed and the “It would be so cool to…” and “Wouldn’t it be fun if…” just refused to go away.

Ten bucks bought the domain name, and once actual money had been invested, the idea of The PanAmerica gained form. It wiggled and squirmed and crawled its way out of the realm of idea and planted itself as a project. A few nights downloading pictures from Facebook, putting together a logo, writing out the story, and all the sudden we had a website; and The Panamerica sprouted little appendages. When the website was shared with the rest of the crew, something happened. There was a sense of excitement that we all felt, the feeling of “Oh man, this could really happen.” Those appendages became legs and arms, and they poked us, and they kicked us, and they grabbed us and wouldn’t let go. We worked furiously to get the website finished and shared it with a few friends and family. Their excitement increased our excitement exponentially, and it fed the creature that The PanAmerica was becoming.

Now we’ve released The PanAmerica to all of our friends and the response has been incredible. Our friends are sharing with their friends and the fingers of The PanAmerica are reaching places we had never imagined. Our website gets visitors from all over the world, we have interest from multinational companies, and the donations are coming in from people we don’t even know. We are blown away at the response we are getting and it is only making us more excited, and feeding the beast.

To everyone who is seeing this, thank you. We think this is going to be a wild ride and we are glad you’re sharing it with us.

The PanAmerica

10,000 miles, 33 states, 4 friends and 1 car. . . for a cause.

On July 27th we will begin an epic journey that will take us around the entire country.

Our goal is to raise awareness and funds for The ALS Association in Gilles Galerne’s name.

As a group of friends embarking on the road trip of a lifetime, we are excited to create memories that will last forever.

We will record it all so that we may share our epic adventure with others, and just like the ALS patients we are hoping to help, our story will live on long after the journey is over and continue to help in the fight for a cure to ALS.

And one day, hopefully not too long from now, a cure to ALS will be found, and we can sit down with all of our friends and family, perhaps over some good food and good wine, and watch the story of the PanAmerica together, just the way Gilles would have done it.

Why are we doing all this?
Read The Story and find out.