Welcome to the place on the web where I share my thoughts on a variety of subjects mainly consisting of blindness and related issues, access technology and fatherhood. Then again, you never know what’s on my mind!
Right back at it today, pushing up for children with eye cancer.
Today reminded me that for some reason, the second day is one of the most difficult. I think I heard some extra crackles and pops in my joints. It will get better, right?
In Day 2 we are introducing #Gimme10. This is the other way people can show support and help raise both awareness and funds. The video has a very entertaining example, but simply put, we’re challenging everyone to drop down and #Gimme10 – that’s 10 push-ups. All you have to do is make a video of you and or your friends completing 10 push-ups. Then share the video on your favorite social networks and include the hash tags #PennyPushUps, #Gimme10, #EyeCancer. When you’re done, challenge your friends and family to participate. If you can’t do 10 push-ups, just do your best and share. The alternative is to try the dance performed by my sister Camille called the Camikan!
If you can, for extra awesomeness go ahead and donate $10 to www.pennypushups.org.
With your help we can make more families aware of Retinoblastoma or Eye Cancer which often takes one or both child’s eyes and unfortunately especially in developing nations, their lives.
Coincidentally this year Day 1 of PennyPushUps falls on Labor Day. This family fundraiser and awareness campaign is extremely labor intensive. I’m not only talking about doing the push-ups, in fact that may actually be the easiest part. There’s so much more that goes into the process including producing the videos, coming up with interesting ideas and the most difficult, spreading the word.
Last year when I had the idea, I was really more concerned with the push-ups because of a former injury. Then I began making the videos and audio voice overs on a daily basis. This year I considered not even doing the fundraiser, but I was reminded of not only the purpose, but also that it doesn’t have to be perfect. So what if we are a little late getting the videos out. Maybe there will be some mistakes and not everything will go according to plan. In fact, I am experiencing what appears to be Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in my left hand. When I was younger, I may have taken that as a sign that I shouldn’t go forward with the push-ups. As I am older now, I think I just know something is going to try and mess up my plans, but “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop!”
This year my wife Marlett decided she would take on more of the video production. I think she is really trying to earn the nickname Super Producer Marley Marl, AKA Marlett Scorsese and if she gets in front of the camera, Marlett Brando!
Even more of the family has been showing more enthusiasm for PennyPushUps. We had some fun this past weekend getting my mother and sister involved with some of the videos. You’ll see more on that in the coming days. And now I am proud to present…PennyPushUps Day 1 featuring the Reid girls.
That’s right, the Reid Family is at it again; “Supporting children with eye cancer by turning 1¢ into $$$ one push-up at a time.”
Last year we raised $1875 for Daisy’s Eye Cancer Fund. This year we are striving to raise at least $2,000. During the entire month of September, which is World Childhood Cancer Month, I am committed to completing 100 push-ups per day. To show your support we are asking for donations of what are only pennies per push-up. $30 = Just 1 penny per push-up or $1 per day. $60 = Just 2 pennies per push-up or $2 per day. Of course, we have some of our awesome supporters who contribute $100 and more. I’m not smart enough to work out the per push-up amount, but who cares, they chose to support! Here are other ways to support:
Help us spread the word about a very rare form of cancer, Retinoblastoma (or Eye Cancer) affecting children under 4 years old.
Share this link and future posts with your social network using Face Book, Twitter, Linked In, Googgle Plus… …
#PennyPushUps #Gimme10 Campaign…
Show your support during September by dropping down and #Gimme10. That’s 10 push-ups. Record a video of you or maybe you and your friends doing 10 push-ups. Use the hash tags #PennyPushUps, #Gimme10, #EyeCancer and help us spread awareness and send positive energy and love to the families dealing with eye cancer. Thousands of children around the world going through chemo, the removal of one or both eyes and unfortunately those fighting for their lives. Add a donation of $10 to www.pennyppushups.org and extend you’re support. Post your videos to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Vine…
Invite PennyPushUps to your school club or organization to spread awareness and raise funds.
Opportunities include presentation on my unique experience with Retinoblastoma and a chance to join me in a video completing push-ups. It’s a great activity for schools, clubs or any group interested in community service. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. With all of these available options, won’t you consider supporting #PennyPushUps?
It’s quite obvious that I haven’t been making the most of my personal blog lately. But what may not be as obvious is I have been turning out content. Most of that content has been on behalf of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind. The content that has been the most fun for me is producing two very different audio projects.
First, there’s Talking Advocacy & Government or as we like to refer to it, TAG. This mostly quarterly podcast focuses on explaining various advocacy issues and appealing to listeners to take specific action often to advance an issue or piece of legislation.
The second is a more lighthearted marketing tool known as the Convention Blast. These monthly pieces alternate between the written format and audio. The most fun of course is producing the audio extended commercials advertising the PCB State Convention & Conference, for which I am currently the Coordinator. These give me the chance to interview guest speakers or facilitators about their scheduled presentations. Sometimes I even have the chance to just get a little silly and have fun with the piece and include some musical productions.
This year, I was given the opportunity to speak publicly about my experience with Non 24 Hour Sleep Wake Disorder and the use of the drug Hetlioz. For those unaware of Non24, here’s a description from their website:
“People with Non-24 who are totally blind lack the light perception necessary to synchronize the circadian clock with the 24-hour day-night cycle.”
This caused me to experience extremely erratic sleep patterns for years – making it incredibly difficult for me to concentrate and remain awake during the day.
At some point I hope to share more of my experience, but for now I recommend learning more on Non 24 and Hetlioz. I would really appreciate anyone reading this to go on over to the PCB links mentioned above and take a listen to some of the available episodes. Help us spread the word about the current advocacy topics like HR4040-All about improving education for blind children, HR3749 – Legislation to enable people with low vision to access devices that will enable them to live independent lives or just get more on the upcoming PCB State Convention & Conference. I really had a fun time with the latest episode which features the Students Seminar being held during our convention to aid students with vision loss throughout their college years. If you by chance happen to be a “Hip Hop Head” check out how I put my own spin on “Impeach the President.” Oh no he didn’t! Truly, I did!
I expected to write my thoughts immediately following the final day of Penny PushUps, September 30. This proved to be wishful thinking mainly because of my responsibilities to the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind as its Convention Coordinator.
Following the final day of the 2013 Convention & Conference on October 6, I was able to reserve some gray matter to thinking about lessons learned during Penny PushUps. I can sum these up as follows:
Tell your own story
Take it to the people!
Ten years makes a big difference
Tell Your Own Story
When I first thought about this fundraising and awareness campaign, I envisioned a straight forward video with little in production and editing. While I didn’t want it to appear as an off the cuff presentation, I didn’t want to follow a full script. This was more about reducing the time and effort that goes into production. For several reasons including access to notes, the fluctuations in my voice after the third set of pushups and the extended length of the videos, it made sense to add production and reduce the video size.
I originally expected the video to have a different tone with very specific content, but for various reasons this did not pan out. When it came down to it, the best videos in my opinion as far as content is concerned are those told from my own experience. These were the videos receiving the most positive feedback. It just proves that sharing what we know, ourselves, is the most genuine and therefore probably more compelling to the listener.
Take It To the People
I could have easily titled this, People Are Lazy, but I’m trying to be positive. I initially thought I would be able to simply post videos to YouTube and share the links on the other social media platforms. I was a little upset by the low number of views videos received. Realizing that my personal network was mainly on Face book and these were the folks most likely to sponsor the effort, I decided to start uploading the videos to Face Book directly. Apparently, initiating a YouTube link in Face Book is either time or resource consuming. On the contrary, videos residing in Face Book got a lot more views. Well, no reason to argue or analyze, it was just up to me now to bring the show to the people. This produced more shares and eventually more donors.
Ten Years Makes A Difference…
I can’t help but reflect back just under 10 years ago after losing my sight when I received my NLS Talking Book Cassette player. As I sat on the couch with the player, commercials for the iPod were on every television station. I felt as though technically, I was going backwards. I began learning Jaws only to find out that it wouldn’t give me access to the specific software I would need to continue my job as a developer. Searching the web was more frustrating than productive. Getting instant access to information like the rest of the world seemed impossible.
Today I can honestly say I feel as though the gap is closing as it relates to access. Did we reach the final goal; full access on par with those who are sighted? No, of course not, but we are getting closer. Today rather than receiving that NLS player as I did almost 10 years ago, I would be told I can get the same smart phone many of my peers are using and have access to books via multiple methods including the NLS, Audible.com and Amazon Kindle.
If you would have told me ten years ago as I sat on that couch that I would be able to successfully edit video, upload to YouTube and face Book, use a online crowd funding application to receive and track donations, post messages to social networks and to my own blog, well I wouldn’t believe you. Yet, I did, and man it felt great!
We always have a choice; we can concentrate on the problem and think about what we don’t have or focus on what is possible. I’m choosing to do the latter because there’s a chance I can do something I never imagined. Thinking only of the problem, well the outcome is pretty definite.
I struggle with the final lesson I gained from Penny PushUps. The entire process was done from my home, the Reid Compound. I call it the Compound for several reasons. The specific definition I am referring to is “An enclosed area used for confining prisoners of war.” I know, pretty dramatic, but honestly I felt like this in the early days of blindness. I don’t mean that metaphorically either, I felt confined because I didn’t have the ability to come and go at will. I still feel like this to some degree. In every aspect of my life, I have to ask how will I get there. The idea that I can still be productive with the physical boundaries is truly inspiring, but I’m always fearful of settling into those restrictions and feeling them even if they no longer exist.
I guess it is true that it doesn’t really matter where a seed is planted; it can still grow with the right nutrients.
While Penny PushUps is a fundraising effort, we planned to incorporate awareness.
In today’s Penny PushUps video, we discussed the potentially deadly results of turning Red Eye Reduction feature on by default. Go ahead and learn a little more about this problem and then sign the Change.org petition.
Remember, you can help our progress by donating and then sharing the link, www.pennypushups.org with your online and offline networks.
Today, we took Penny PushUps on the road; and I am driving. That’s right; I was behind the wheel once again. No this was not the Google car or one of the other autonomous vehicles in development. It was our family car.
If you watch today’s video, you will see me behind the wheel driving out of our driveway and then reaching our destination. You also get to see my 5 sets of pushups with varying scenery.
Am I losing my mind? Maybe I am, but it’s for a good reason. We have a goal to raise funds to support children with cancer. We want to raise as much as we can to aid in the mission of “Life and Sight for Every Child.”. I guess we could just hope for the best, but I’d rather end this thirty day campaign knowing I went at it hard.
I would really like to encourage anyone reading this to share it with others. Of course you could share the link to www.pennypushups.org where you can watch all of the videos from the past 15 days and easily select the Donate button. Remember, just $1 per day or $30 for September can go a long way to help children with eye cancer or Retinoblastoma.
And now, we present Penny PushUps Day 15 – On the Road…turn it up high!
No one ever said raising funds for a good cause needs to be boring. I’m having way too much fun with this year’s effort to raise money for Daisy’s Eye Cancer Fund during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
While I haven’t posted every video here, remember just head over to www.pennypushups.org to watch them all. And while you’re there, there’s a button that says “Donate.” Go ahead and click or hit enter on that and just complete the rest of the forms. Select whatever amount you like, preferably a minimum of $30 and watch how good you feel. No I’m serious. Studies have proven that doing for others increases your [fill in here] by [fill in here] %.
I am so happy that family and friends have both donated and are sharing the link with their networks. I’ve been receiving a lot of love from those supporting the effort and just want to keep paying it forward. I’m amazed at what can happen with a bit of effort. We have 18 more days so stay tuned. Become a Penny PushUps teammate; donate, follow the progress and share the posts with your friends. We made it easy with the links that follow the post. Go ahead and use them.
Today’s Day 7 video was the perfect conclusion for week one of the Reid family Penny PushUps Fundraiser; supporting children with eye cancer. It was fun for me because the whole family worked well together producing this episode. We even have my youngest making a cameo appearance in the opening scene.
It is this same spirit of love and cooperation that enables families to get through all that comes with a cancer diagnosis. If a family isn’t cooperating, communicating and working as a team, to manage, the cancer will spread beyond the body and destroy the relationships. This is why it’s important to me that everything about Penny PushUps radiates positive energy.
My only regret is I didn’t make it descriptive due to a time constraint. With that said, for my brothers and sisters with visual impairments here’s the synopsis:
In the opening scene, I am asleep on the couch. While covered in a blanket snoring, my youngest daughter walks in to remind me I have to complete Penny PushUps. I struggle until finally she says I have to do it for the kids. I have to be a super hero.
Now here is where my 40 plus years of being a silly ham comes in handy. I throw off the blanket, well I try. Eventually I get up to reveal I am dressed and ready for the challenge.
In the next scene, as the theme from Rocky plays, I am exiting my house prepared to conquer my 100 pushups. I immediately drop down and do my first set of 20 pushups. This continues 4 more times in various locations in front of my house.
There’s just 23 more days to go. As of today we have raised $600. Not bad! I really believe we can surpass our goal. Will you help? I can promise you I’m going to work really hard to raise funds and spread awareness. You know the motto; “Can’t Stop! Won’t Stop! Now check out the video below: