Yes, I know…it’s been a long time since I have blogged - Sorry!
Yesterday I was in Columbus, OH representing Good Neighbor Pharmacy at the 10 TV Health and Fitness Expo. It was a very nice event, great expo! They had more fun activities for kids than any expo I have attended before. My first job was to assist local TV Sports reporter Dom Tiberi on the Healthy Cooking Stage. I helped Dom make his spicy chicken and vegetables…I really just stirred the veggies so they wouldn’t burn as Dom asked me questions about diabetes and triathlon training. It was a lot of fun, thanks Dom!
Next was the highlight of the day…and certainly the most unique experience I have had in the past five years as the Good Neighbor Pharmacy national spokesperson - I met Richard Simmons! The first thing he said was “you look so serious.” Maybe that was because I was fixated on his red “flapper-like” tank top.” But he was very nice, exactly how you would imagine him to be. Then, he took the stage! Bad news for me was I was following him! He had about a thousand people singing, dancing and cheering for about an hour…tough act to follow. As he was leaving the stage, he saw me in the wings…grabbed my bald head and gave me two kisses…I don’t think I will ever wash this head again, just kidding.
Off to Flint Michigan tomorrow for the CRIM Festival 10 mile run.
I guess this is a teaser since I don’t know exactly when it will air…but yesterday while in Seattle I filmed a TV spot for KIRO TV’s “Better Northwest” Show. We filmed it in the Fife, WA Good Neighbor Pharmacy. You’ll have to come back to this BLOG or follow me on Twitter to find out when it will air. For info about the Better Northwest show, check out: http://www.kirotv.com/betternorthwest/index.html
That same morning I spoke at Camp Leo in Shelton, WA. There were over 100 kids, staff and LIONS volunteers present. I spoke for about 45 minutes then answered questions for another 30. This was one of the best diabetes camp audiences I have ever spoken to…very enthusiastic, attentive and they asked great questions. Thanks to Camp Leo, the counselors, directors and volunteers for making this experience for kids possible. And thanks to “Shorty” for inviting me.
I returned this morning on a red eye from California…very tired, therefore will break lastweek’s events into two BLOG’s.
Volume 1 - Jackson, MS. I arrived in Jackson last Monday night for a Tuesday morning interview on WAPT - ABC. Then Wednesday I met with D&B Discount Drugs as they were hosting me and planned all the events for the week. My first event was a speaking engagement at Morton High School (the home of New Orleans Saints “great” Deuce McCallister) I spoke with a group of elementary school kids, then later that day it was the High School Kids. Then it was off to East Rankin Academy. Day two was the Scott County Health Fair, I had two speaking engagements then later that day I spoke at the Morton Middle School. I would like to thank Wanda, Patricia and the rest of the AWESOME staff at D&B for making me feel welcome…and for feeding me. If you are in Morton, stop by D&B for a great lunch…they are good at more than just patient care! Thanks to Gary from AmerisourceBergen for “handling” me…nice work for your first time :) I would especially like to thank Wanda and Patricia for their VERY GENEROUS donation to the Iron Andy Foundation. That was completely unexpected but much appreciated. THANK YOU!!! You can bring me to Morton anytime.
I will write about Lake Arrowhead tomorrow.
I am heading to Louisville, KY on Thursday of this week to speak at a JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) back to school event. I was invited there by Roche, who makes the Accu-Chek “Compact Plus” blood glucose meter that I have been using exclusively for the past few years. I am looking forward to meeting the kids and families of the Louisville, JDRF chapter. This will also give me an opportunity to scope out the Ironman course for my return the following week. Too bad I won’t have time to give the Ohio River a test swim.
Last Thursday I was in Southern California, I had a speaking engagement at Camp Conrad-Chinnok…an amazing diabetes camp in the San Bernadino Mountains. This coolest thing about this engagement for me, was that my foundation - The Iron Andy Foundation (www.ironandyfoundation.org) sent a number of kids to this camp. So it was cool for me to actually go there and see first hand were the money we raise was going. For all you donors out there…your money is being well spent. The staff - directors, counselors, medical staff were all amazing. The kids were great too. This session was for kids ages 13-17 and they were extremely receptive and enthusiatic about me being there. Thank you for your warm reception and I hope to be back next summer. Also, thanks to the Good Neighbor Pharmacy stores in Southern California who helped me identfy the children in need of “camperships.”
What??? Wondering what I mean by “quilting in Paducah?” Well, last week I was in Paducah, KY for speaking engagements…all at local elementary and middle-schools. These were great events, as they usually are. I love having the opportunity to tell my story to kids, especially ones who have diabetes. That weekend was also the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes, but I had to miss this and fly to Miami for more speaking. BUT…before I left Paducah I did get to see first hand what thousands of “Quilters” look like. Paducah houses the National Quilting Museum, and once a year is the big Quilters Convention. They literally take over the town. I would like to return to Paducah because the downtown area looked very cool with a lot of history…but forget about getting a table at a restaurant when the quilters are in town.
Anyway, thats all for this week. My whirlwind travel schedule gets a break in May so I will have more time to BLOG (at least with more exciting topics.)
Last week I was in Des Moines, IA. I was the keynote speaker for a large Hy-Vee pharmacy meeting….approximately 600 people were in attendance. Hy-Vee is a Food/Drug combo that has approximately 250 stores, mostly in Iowa and the surrounding states. They have over 25,000 employees and have been in business for 80 years. Hy-Vee is one of those rare companies that once you get to know them - their mission, culture and people - you wish that you worked for them! They are one of the most impressive organizations I have ever seen. When you walk into their VERY large stores you get the feeling that this is a major food/drug chain…but when you see the friendly and helpful people that are tripping over each other to help you, and you are exposed to their pharmacy staff and on-staff dieticians that have REAL programs to help people with chronic diseases like diabetes, it feels more like a small community strore. That’s not an easy accomplishment. One of the most impressive things about Hy-Vee is that in their 80 years they have only had 3 CEO/Presidents…and the current one has only been in that role for a short time.
After speaking, I was presented with a generous donation to the Iron Andy Foundation, an entry into their very popular Hy-Vee triathlon and a Hy-Vee triathlon bike jersey. This was a great event for me and I hope that it wasn’t the last time I get to work with these amazing people!
I just returned from a great trip to El Paso, TX and aside from the crazy weather ( 60 mph winds wind that blew sand everywhere the day I landed, then it was cold for two days…go figure!) But it was a productive trip and I met some great people.
First were two speaking engagements at Canutillo High School where I spoke to a group of HOSA students - HOSA is a national student organization endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education and the Health Science Technology Education Division of ACTE. HOSA’s two-fold mission is to promote career opportunities in the health care industry and to enhance the delivery of quality health care to all people. HOSA’s goal is to encourage all health occupations instructors and students to join and be actively involved in the HSTE-HOSA Partnership. Thank you Robyn and Julie for your hospitality!!! Thank you also to Adam Cooper and Daisy Pavia for your help and support.
Next was a speaking engagement at UTEP (The University of Texas at El Paso) this was a group of pharmacy students and hopefully I inspired them to continue down the pharmacy path because people with a chronic disease need good pharmacists.
The weekend ended with the El Paso Diabetes Association Walk. I had a chance to say a few words and kick off the Walk, then I spoke to the very enthusiastic and appreciative crowd after the Walk. Thanks to all who supported this event.
Finally, thanks to Tim and Ramona from Good Neighbor Pharmacy for organizing a great event.
Off to Oceanside, CA this week for my third time competing in the Ironman California 70.3. I am looking forward to my first race since June, 2008 but I would be lying if I said I was looking forward to the hills in Camp Pendleton.
I just returned form Californina (again). On Saturday I was a speaker at the “Diabetes Day of Hope” at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage (Palm Desert). It was a great event and I had a very appreciative and receptive audience.
This week my training peaks with some long workouts - a 4 hour bike ride and a 2:20 run (in addition to the other workouts of course). Then I begin my taper for the Oceanside, CA half Ironman on April 4th.
Next trip - El Paso!
I just returned home from Salt Lake City…and in the nick of time. If Philly would have had this snow yesterday no doubt I would have been stranded.
Once again I had a successful trip. It began with a speaking assembly at Payson High School, about an hour and a half south of SLC. This event was organized by Jim Webster of Payson Market pharmacy. After the assembly I spent a few hours at Jim’s pharmacy - he had a health fair and I had the opportunity to meet and speak with some of his patients.
Then Saturday had me at the ADA (American Diabetes Association) Expo in Sandy, Utah…just south of SLC. This was the third year I appeared at this event and the second year where I was a “Main Stage” speaker. I would say this was the most successful of the three as the crowd that gathered to hear me speak was the largest. Then later that night I attended the Utah Jazz - Sacramento Kings basketball game…pretty cool. I was interviewed by Fox and NBC as the city is mourning the loss of Larry Miller due to complications from type 2 diabetes. Larry was the owner of the Utah Jazz and beloved by all in Utah.
I was re-united with Tiffany and her husband Nate. Tiffany is a girl I met last year who at 25 was diagnosed with type 1 only weeks before coming the the expo in 2008 where she heard me speak. Apparently I inspired her to not let diabetes stop her from being the athlete she had been all her life and triathlons are definately on her horizon. I have kept in touch with Tiffany over the past year and it was nice to see her again. Thanks Tiffany!
Thanks again to Jim, Mindy, Larry and Mike for your hospitality. I am starting to like Salt Lake City and hope to make it back next year for a fourth time!
Home for awhile then off to California again on the 13th. LOTS of training this week and next as my first race of the year is now only a month away.