Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Beth, Joe, Bill, and Barb (from left to right)
"My mom, Barb, has been diagnosed with an advanced, rare form of Melanoma. Her prognosis is not good, but we are hopeful that with treatment and the prayers and positive thoughts of family and friends, she will be well again. She will begin her first round of immunotherapy this coming week at Good Samaritan Hospital, in Cincinnati OH."
Barb started treatment this week in Cincinnati and so far so good. Here's a message from her husband Bill:
Please pray for Barb, Bill, Beth, Susan, Annie, and Pat and keep them in your thoughts has they go through this difficult time. I'll continue to post updates here. If you have an encouraging word to share let me know and I'll be sure to pass it on (email@example.com).
Barb - Keep fighting!! Love ya!!
PS: As for me: I'm still in the process of getting things together to head to Project Walk, which I'm heading there in about 3 weeks! Getting excited!!
Saturday, November 20, 2010
November 19, 2010
This is my second Thanksgiving since my injury and I’m reminded that I have a lot to be thankful for. I’m thankful to have the loving support of my parents who have sacrificed so much for my well being and who continue to do so. I’m thankful for the friends who frequently come by to get me out of the house and who have donated generously to my cause. I’m thankful for the support of the people in my hometown, Etna, CA, who have donated so much time and resources. I’m thankful for the support of the kayaking community, which has been a brotherhood to me for many years – love you guys!! I’m thankful for the support of the amazing people in the outdoor community at large. I’m thankful for the support of the tight knit Nolan family and the community in Cincinnati, OH. I’m thankful for the many people that I’ve never met who have given generously to a perfect stranger. I’m thankful for the support of the amazing people and businesses in the great State of Jefferson. Thank you for your love and support you will never know how much I truly need and appreciate it!!!!
What have I been up to? I’ve been busy getting things sorted out to head back down to Project Walk. I’m officially moving down there around the middle of December even if I have to live in a van down by the river. My plan is to start attending Project Walk shortly after moving down there and stay there through August. I’m excited to see what 8 months of PW will do for me physically and mentally! Come and see for yourself and visit me in sunny San Diego.
I’ve also been working with my good friends Aaron Lewis and Eric Danson to submit a documentary about yours truly to the Ashland Film Festival. Check out the trailer:
I’m still in need of a place to rent down there. We’re looking for 3-bedroom house and have a few options that will work, but we’re still looking. The other need is a caregiver from the middle of April through the middle of June. So if you’re in need of a job and want to live in San Diego for a couple months let me know!! Oh, thanks to my good friend Hungry Joe who is going to be my caregiver from Dec to April!!
Attending Project Walk for 8 months will exhaust my resources, but I feel that it is the best option for my recovery at this point. Not sure what I will do after that, but one thing is for certain is that I will still have a financial need. By next spring I hope to have an account set up where people can donate specifically for medical expenses and then receive a tax deduction. I’ll have more information on that in the coming months. In the meantime, you can donate through the link on the blog or through snail mail.
And now to leave you with a quote I have found to be an inspiration:
“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome” – Booker T Washington
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
October 18, 2010
Invictus by William Ernest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
You may recognize the last 2 lines of the above poem from the movie “Invictus” or the fact that Nelson Mandela would often quote it. This poem really spoke to me and has been a source of encouragement lately. To me the essence of this poem is that no matter what life throws in your direction there is ALWAYS a choice. The choice is to either rise above the challenge or cower before it in defeat. I certainly don’t make that choice everyday, but it is something I definitely strive for. The beautiful thing is that every victory builds upon the last giving me the strength to make the right choice for the next challenge.
As many of you know, I spent two months at Project Walk over the summer, which was an amazing experience. 4 days a week 3 hours a day of pushing myself as hard as I ever have both physically and mentally. Physically I gained a lot of strength in my upper body, added muscle mass to my legs, and increased strength in my core. Mentally I gained the understanding that I’m not made out of glass and I can handle more than I thought. On the first day I was there two guys hoisted me out of my chair and propped me up on a spin bike. At first I was a little freaked out, but then I realized I was fine and told them ‘Let’s do this!!’ The camaraderie that I built with the other folks at PW was encouraging. It was therapeutic to be able to talk to people that are in the same situation with the same attitude as me. I met some amazing people that have amazing attitudes about what they’re going through and I learned a lot from these people. Going to PW also gave me a renewed hope and motivation. It’s good to know that you’re not alone sometimes.
What does the future hold?? I’m planning on returning to Project Walk for a longer stint. I’d like to go for at least 6 months. In order to do this there are a few things that need to come together. The main thing I need to sort out is some care giving while I’m down there. So, if you’re unemployed and want to get paid to hang out in San Diego with me and do some care giving let me know...seriously!!
I want to thank you for all of your support. There is no possible way that I would have been able to go to Project Walk in the first place without all your generosity!! I am truly blessed to have this support!!
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
As many of you know I was in San Diego all summer attending Project Walk. I will post a more detailed post about my experience there in the near future, but for now I just want to say that it was a positive experience and I want to go back. So the money we raised will go towards that effort.
The following list are all the businesses and people that donated! Thank you because without your continued support my recovery would have stopped a while ago!!!!
New Belgium Brewing Company
Caldera Brewing Company
Momentum River Expeditions
Darin McQuoid - Best whitewater calendar ever! Plus its me on the cover!
Traci, RT, Jodi, and Erik (Seattle crew)
Judd Lehman and Sherri Kies
Robyn Jansen and Beth Nolan
Ashland Outdoor Store
Gene and Peggy Allred
Dayton Dean and The River King
Rising Sun Farms
Noble Coffee Roasting
Cave Springs Resort
Thank you for your amazing support! This kind of support is not typical! Gotta love the State of Jefferson!!
Friday, August 6, 2010
Don't forget about my fundraiser coming up on the Klamath! It's going to be fun!!
Right now the following things have been donated:
Silent auction items:
-A day whitewater rafting for 2 on the Upper Klamath
-12' whitewater raft
Food for dinner:
-A keg of beer
We could really use some more donations for drinks(beer, wine or whatever), dinner, breakfast, and the silent auction. So if you can help let me know!! Also, spread the word!
Thanks again for all your support. I wouldn't be here at Project Walk without it!!
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Whether or not you know Matt Thomas, come join us on 20 acres for a riverfront celebration in the State of Jefferson! Live music, dinner, camping, sand volleyball, horseshoes, a great beach, swimming hole, whitewater rafting, and a silent auction. All proceeds will be donated to Matt to help him get additional therapy at Project Walk, equipment to continue therapy at home, and other devices to improve his quality of life. Last y...ear, over 100 people had a blast at the event, so please spread the word to co-workers, friends, and family so we can get a bigger crew this year!
See below for detailed information:
PLEASE RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please indicate if you're rafting or not. As you can imagine, getting food for this event will be challenging if we don't know how many people are coming.
Oh yeah, Matt will actually be there this year!! So please spread the word to anyone who might be interested and let's party!!!
We're looking for volunteers and people to donate time, food, drink, and items for the silent auction. Please check out the facebook page's discussion board:
Or email email@example.com.
When: It starts Saturday afternoon with live music and ends Sunday after some whitewater rafting. Feel free to come camp out Friday or stay till Monday. Just be sure to bring food.
Food: Dinner Saturday night, breakfast Sunday morning, and lunch on Sunday for those that are rafting will be provided.
Cost: Minimum suggested donation of $30 for dinner, live music and breakfast. Minimum $50 donation for rafting, which includes lunch. Sliding scale so if you can't swing that come anyways!!
Where: Paradise Point, CA
Directions to Paradise Point:
1. From the North or South on I-5, go West on Hwy 96 at exit 786. (Near Yreka, CA)
2. Go 60 miles on Hwy 96 to the town of Happy Camp. This is the last remnant of civilization before Paradise Point (Gas, Food, ect.)
3. Continue on Hwy 96 past Happy Camp for about 18 more miles to Paradise Point (very helpful to set your odometer). There will be a small sign on the left and an open yellow gate. Follow the dirt road to the right until you reach the parking area.
4. The turn for Paradise Point is exactly 0.9 miles past 'Coon Creek' River Access. If you get to Dillon Creek Campground you have gone 3 miles to far.
5. If you want to use a google map, Paradise Point usually shows up as Cottage Grove, CA. (Paradise Point sits on the old town of Cottage Grove)
For those who cannot attend but want to donate, you can make a check out to Matt Thomas and send to:
8309 French Creek Rd.
Etna, CA 96027
You can also check out more about Matt at mattnevergivesup.blogspot.
Hope to see all of you there!
I'm over half way through my stint at Project Walk! I continue to get stronger each day. It's a lot of hard work, but I absolutely love it!! Even though I don't have any new sensation I can feel muscles starting work in my core, which has been very encouraging! Making friends with some crazy canadians and some aussies so the social scene is getting a little better, but I miss all my buddies up north! Got to go surfing with Wheels2water.org. It was so much fun and it felt amazing to be in the water!! Check out the pictures:
"It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop." -Confucious
July 9th was exactly one year and my progress has been painfully slow, but at least there's progress! It has been one heck of a year! I'm thankful for my friends and family because without them I wouldn't have made it this far!
Sunday, June 27, 2010
I finished my first full week of Project Walk and I'm exhausted. I love it!!! I'm already seeing favorable results and the bottom line is that I'm going to get a lot stronger, which will help me gain some highly desired independence. The people at Project Walk are great and push me hard in an encouraging way. One of the other patients here had a social gathering last night where I got to meet several other people in similar conditions as mine with similar attitudes. It seems like we're all here because giving up is not an option and we don't believe in words like "never" or "can't". It's been very encouraging and I have actually had some tangible hope. So thanks to ALL of you for making this possible. You have no idea what a blessing you are!
I'll be posting pictures of my adventures at Project Walk here and if you're reading the blog you can view them here or type in the following:
Here's a quick recap for the last month. Had an an awesome send off bbq party in Southern Oregon prior to heading to Project Walk. There were probably 60+ people there. Great food, great beer, and even better friends made it an incredible night. My good friend Aaron Lewis did a documentary about me for his capstone project to graduate from SOU and showed it at the BBQ. Aaron did an incredible job and it turned out way above my expectations. It was very moving! So after all that we packed up the van and headed south to only break down in Redding, CA. We were stranded in Redding for 4 days! No offense against those of you that live there, but ugh…seriously?? Although, the sun dial bridge is pretty cool especially at night. We finally escaped Redding, and now we're in Encinitas, CA. The place we're staying is peaceful, wheelchair accessible, and just out of the coastal fog. It's very nice. So if you need some sun and time at the beach come on down.
We're going to be doing the Klamath River benefit music/dinner/rafting weekend again on the weekend of August 21-22. It's going to be a blast. Mark it on your calendar and get your butt out there for it. There will be an official announcement going out soon. We plan to do a silent auction as well. So we'll be looking for volunteers to help donate time and/or resources.
Now here are some philosophical thoughts so if you're not into that then you can stop reading here. I recently had a discussion about dealing with adversity and it brought up some ideas on the subject. The way I've approached adversity is to have a realistic assessment of the current situation, but don't accept it as the end all/be all. Instead always look for the opportunities for growth and embrace that growth with optimism, persistence, and a positive attitude. One more thing is to also not be too proud to ask for a little help. We all need it once in a while.
If you feel like making a visit to sunny SoCal let me know I'd love to see you. I'll just be here giving everything I got at Project Walk. Also don't forget about the Klamath River Bash. It's going to be fun. Thanks again for all your support. To my homies in Jefferson State and Seattle…miss you guys crazy!!
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Today was my first day at Project Walk and they're not messing around. After a short little orientation it was off to the races and now I'm sore and beat down tired. It's awesome!!
Monday, May 17, 2010
It was great to see my good friend from college, Matt Price. I hadn’t seen him in about 6 years so it was nice to catch up. We reminisced about the good ol’ college days. Remember when you smashed my sandwich between two books. Remember when we almost got arrested at that wedding reception. Remember when you threw my bills out the window on the freeway. Remember when…you get the idea. I showed him around the area and we could have seen a lot more, but I think Price was nervous driving the minivan. He drove slow enough for every Winnebago on the freeway pass us. Here’s what Price had to say about the weekend.
On May 1 a beautiful girl in a beautiful dress picked me up and we headed into Ashland to watch the Kentucky Derby at Tease. It was a fun day hanging out with all the pretty people drinking mint juleps and celebrating Gabe’s birthday. The next day I attended the Etna rodeo, which was a sharp contrast from the previous day. There’s nothing pretty about the Etna rodeo, but lots of fun for sure. I then went and had dinner at the ranch I used to work on. It was nice to visit with Jim and Katie and their family. I forget what a beautiful place Scott Valley is.
I’m getting excited to head down to Project Walk. I’m still looking for a place to stay down there so if you have connections down there…HELP. I’ve been in contact with a couple people that are going to be attending PW at the same time, which is cool know a couple people there. It’s hard not to be just a little nervous. It’s going to be a lot of hard work and the outcome is uncertain.
This week at physical therapy I was able to go for 30 minutes on the arm cycle without stopping and no assistance. When I first started physical therapy after getting out of the hospital I could only go for one minute without stopping and I needed assistance on each revolution. My physical therapist is pleased with my progress. She’s been kicking my butt lately. I think she wants to make sure I don’t embarrass her at Project Walk…ha ha.
Mornings remain the most challenging mentally especially now that its spring. I miss kayaking so much its painful. This is what I was doing last spring and oh how I want to do that again!!
I have to consciously decide to have a positive attitude each morning. Most of the time I’m successful, but not always. The biggest challenge is making the most of each day without losing the hope of a full recovery. There are a few things that have really helped me maintain a positive attitude and maintain hope. First is my faith in God and out of that the belief that ALL things happen for a reason even if I don’t know what that is. The next is the loving support of my friends and family…THANKS!!! The next thing is completely ignoring all the nay sayers and negative nancys out there.
Thanks again for the all the help and support. Project Walk is NOT cheap and without your help it wouldn’t even be an option. Therapy at PW and living expenses will add up to about $7000/month. So thanks for your continued support!!
Keeping the faith,
Thursday, May 13, 2010
In other news, Matt got his standing frame for an amazing deal thanks to another wonderful and kind friend. Along with the standing frame he got a manual wheelchair! Both these items are helpful in therapy, the standing frame is particularly important in preventing bone density loss which occurs over time when all you do is sit (a reminder to office workers, get up often and use those legs)!
Thanks for all your support over the past 10 months!
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
My parents finally got their much needed break. They were able to drive down to Carlsbad and spend some time at Project Walk getting to know the therapists and looking in the area for housing for June.
Friday, March 26, 2010
My parents, who have been taking care of me, want to go on vacation and so I need some substitutes. I need help in various ways day and night from April 6th through April 12th. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you're interested in helping and when you can. Any little bit will help.
Have a great day,
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Saturday, February 6, 2010
The Holidays were fine, but I’m really glad they’re over. December was rough for me emotionally sometimes its tough to keep a positive attitude. Thankfully I had a lot of support from my family and timely visits from my friends, which I am VERY grateful for. If I had a friend off with anyone else I’m quite certain I would win hands down. I’m not boasting because it has very little to do with me I’m just lucky.
I’m not entirely sure why I was so down. Maybe it was the harsh realities of being paralyzed setting in. Or as the ski season set in I knew that, at least for this year, I would not be partaking in one of my favorite past times. I wouldn’t be enjoying that weightless poetry of floating over the crystalline paradise feeling the cold smoke sting my face obscuring my view turn after turn. I’m realizing that my passion for the outdoors, my passion for chasing the white demon in the beautiful mountains and then chasing it again as it flees to the sea was more than recreation it was a lifestyle that I loved more than anything maybe even anyone…just being honest. So adjustments have to be made. While I still look forward to participating in the sports I love so much, I’ve learned that true friendship transcends all. Our ability to perform physically is a constantly changing thing in good ways and bad, but true friendships just continue to grow and develop. It is and has been one of the few consistencies in my life. During this time I realize the importance of good friends now more than ever. I realize the importance of having good friends and the importance of being a good friend. My hope is that I'm as good a friend as my friends are to me.
Speaking of friends. Did I mention I have some great friends? On January 29th my friends put together a raffle to raise money to assist me on my road to recovery. The drawing was held at Caldera Tap House and the place was packed. My friends raised a bunch of money and it was Caldera’s biggest night next to their grand opening. More importantly it was a fun event and seeing all my friends together like that makes me get all choked up. Thank you! You guys rock!!
So, what’s new for me? Right now, I’m working on purchasing a standing frame and applying to Project Walk. Trying to work out the logistics for getting down there including living arrangements, care giving, and how long. I’m hoping to be there by March, but we’ll see. I’m going for sure it’s just a matter of working the logistics out.
Physically I continue to get stronger. My left tricep has improved by 400%. I still can't lift the weight of my arm with it, but it IS getting stronger. Lot's of little gains will add up to a big gain eventually.
That’s all I got for now.
I want to send a huge thanks to Darin, Kyle and Shaggy for putting a bunch of work to pull the raffle off, everyone who attended or bought tickets, all the businesses that donated, and Caldera for being a gracious host. This event just proves the outdoor community is a tight family that I’m proud to be a part of!
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Be sure to check the results because you could have won!
Couldn't do this without you!!
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
The good news is YOU CAN STILL BUY TICKETS AT THE EVENT before the raffle. The bad news is you DON'T have to be present to win (your loss).
Come tie one on with us and enjoy good live music, the raffle drawing, good people, good beer, and great times!!
Raffle Prize Information Found Here
Friday, January 29, 2010 at 8:00pm - 12:00am
Caldera Tap House
31 Water Street #2
On top of all the great prizes that have already been listed, several more have been donated.
The Sportsgrants Foundation is donating a new, never used Jackson Rocker creek boat. Be sure to check out the really cool work this great organization is doing.
The Pomodoro Restaurante in Ashland has donated two gift certificates for $50 each. Thanks for the support!
Monday, January 4, 2010
for my friend matt,
always grounded, beautiful tact
what can be said
spirit floats river bed
he sits so serene
his love permeates every ravine
our God, you are amazing
catch us off guard, open hearts blazing
his life i'm so thankful
body injured, he stays grateful
with so much strength
none but him, know this great length
strength invert weakness
there's beauty in meekness
his purpose, his intuition
leads us all to fruition
first night i was there
his eyes, i'll never forget that stare
i tried so hard to be strong
tears fell, i was wrong
looking back on that moment
he gave me atonement
eager to help him
shrink his worries thin
all friends we compete
love him too much, we'll never leave
thinking back on adventure
brings me such pleasure
with open mind
drive to pilot rock
sip coffee, good talk
spontaneous, down for whatever
memories in my heart forever
these times are different
that was the past
this is the contrast
like a needle to the heart
pulls my mind apart
no matter where i am
my heart is in his hand
his mom i applaud
such wisdom in her nod
his dad big strong heart
with courage from the start
he walked in my dream
let's pray peaceful ending
a great weight will be lifted
the burden, rise, shifted
you are such a blessing
so humble, always composed
in God, future blissfully grows