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Taking the Oath

December 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Today, I officially began my service as one of Shenandoah County’s two Directors for the Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District. Well, semi-officially. I’ve already sat in on several committee and board meetings, but it was today that I received my certificate of election and took the Oath of Office at the Shenandoah County Circuit Court. However, my term of office does not begin until January 1st, 2012. This is the oath that I took upon my late grandfather Roy Orndorff’s bible:

I do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge all the duties incumbent upon me as a Director of the Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District according to the best of my ability.

Although this is an office that is often overlooked and rarely discussed, even by fanatic followers of local politics, I take my oath very seriously–which is why I wanted to share this with anyone who may happen to stumble upon or follow this blog. This is also the reason that I am using this blog as a source of information about my duties as a Director. I strongly believe that elected officials, regardless of the level or prominence of their office, have a duty to fully inform the public about the actions that they conduct on behalf of the people.

I am humbled by the support of Shenandoah County’s voters and look forward to my service on their behalf. I’ll be adding and updating information here over the next few days to reflect this new step on my life’s journey. Later tonight, I’ll also share some information about upcoming board activities.

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Off Again, On Again

November 29, 2011 Leave a comment

I’m back!

Yeah, you’ve read that one before…..two or three times before, in fact. I have something of a love-hate relationship with blogging. Love getting my ideas out there and having a dialogue, hate the feeling that I “have” to produce and deal with fallout when there’s a line to read between (and there always is, but isn’t that the trouble with ALL forms of communication?)

But it’s true, I am getting back into the swing. For one, I have a real need to communicate. I was recently elected as one of Shenandoah County’s two directors on the Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District’s Board of Directors. It may surprise some, but I really want a platform to connect directly with citizens. I’m not willing to settle for the filter of staff and the media–of course, not that I should be worrying about those things, since I have no staff and the media barely paid any attention to the election itself. But I do want to set a new standard for elected officials, regardless of what level they’re at, to move beyond the filter. They say that a gaffe happens when a politician speaks the truth (is an elected official mentioning this a gaffe in of itself? Pretty meta…..) But I want voters to know exactly what’s going on, and exactly what my decision making process is. Since I already have the blog and the address, way not do that here?

So what else am I going to write about here? Well, business as usual–whatever tickles my fancy. So expect a mix of politics, popular culture, history, and the such. There may very well be something in this mix that someone feels is a mistake to share with the public, but that’s how I operate. I was elected to be a representative of the people…and as a citizen, I have opinions of my own, and I intend to share them. I think elected officials should never tuck away their own opinions, but we’ll see how well it works when you actually share them….

Anything else? Well, my last project on the web was Shenandoah Sunshine. That project, designed to bring out more information on local government and politics here in Shenandoah County, has been on hiatus for quite sometime. I feel it was a noble effort, but I am still re-evaluating the size and scope (after all, I found out very quickly that, with a real job and no source of revenue from the project, it wasn’t as easy as it seemed, despite how desperately it may be needed).

So stay tuned, and keep coming back. I assure you I have plenty to share, and I thank you for stopping by.

 

Introducing Shenandoah Sunshine

May 16, 2011 1 comment

UPDATE: I noticed that a number of people are landing here when searching for Shenandoah Sunshine. At the time of this post the blog wasn’t up, so no link. Of course, the blog is now rolling, and you may find it here.

During my time at the University of Virginia, I first became interested in the art of blogging. At the time, blogging was just getting established as a media platform. There’s not much to it, really–essentially, a blog is really just a website that is updated very frequently, with the newest material presented first on the front page. They’re really not all that different from the earliest websites around–in fact, some of the earliest blogs came online around 1994. What really put blogging on the map was a change in accessibility and tone.

These two changes occurred around the same time. Previously, maintaining a blog required a modicum of web design and maintenance skills, depending on what you were trying to accomplish. During the late 90s and early 00s, however, enterprising web gurus develop software and services that allowed pretty much anyone with the most basic of word processing and web surfing skills (i.e. click here to publish) to start a blog. Additionally, they even offered to host it for you, meaning there was no investment other than time. It was on par with other developments in publishing: first came hand written texts, which was limited to those with the ability and time to expend in copying them. Then there was the printing press, which suddenly made republication even easier, but still that was limited to those who could afford a press (or those who could convince there was money to be made by the owners in selling their work). Then came mechanization, Xerox, and then finally, blogging–pretty much anyone can be read by others now (though you still have to get people interested). Understandably, each of these methods was taken advantage of by those with political interests, in spreading a message about government and politics. Blogging is no exception.

Certainly there were political bloggers before 2002, but it was in that year that a blogger played a key role in forcing then Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) to step down following remarks that he made regarding how the nation would have been better off had it elected then Southern Democrat Strom Thurmond during his explicitly segregationist presidential campaign in 1948. Media had been present at the event the comments were made at, but they went unreported. It was this new intrepid group of bloggers, who both had a motive but could also find an audience within the media that shamed them into making a bigger deal of the store, that kicked off a major change in the Senate’s leadership. Blogs further came of age when a group of right leaning bloggers cast light on CBS’s Dan Rather’s reporting on documents that put President Bush’s National Guard service in a dim light. Those documents were proved through blogger’s efforts to be forgeries. The controversy ultimately ended with Dan Rather stepping down from his post as anchor of CBS’s Evening News after 24 years. The message of these incidents was clear: a new generation of reporters and analysts was emerging thanks to the rise of a new form of media with very little cost to entry (both in terms of experience and monetary resources) and access that even TV and newspapers could be jealous of. More importantly, the media, even if they claimed to loathe the competition, was paying attention, and now, they were not the only ones who would decide what stories mattered.

What was there that DIDN’T appeal about blogging to a young political activist with an interest in writing, the internet, and well, making a difference/stirring up trouble (depending on your opinion of my efforts)? I started primarily writing about state politics and blogged off and on about it under both my name and pseudonyms through 2006. During my bout with cancer, I also used blogging as an outlet, though for a much more personal reason. In 2008 and 2009, my interests changed, and I ran first a blog for the Shenandoah County Republican Committee and this humble blog right here.

These efforts were meant to bring a blogging presence to Shenandoah County, but they largely failed for a number of reasons. For one, I just didn’t promote them right. Two, I never quite delivered on my promise of providing news and commentary for the County. Commentary, yeah, commentary that I frankly got some grief for. But this commentary never developed a following outside of a very small political class, and the news just wasn’t there. I wasn’t aggressive enough in either pursuing stories or just plain providing coverage. The opinion I did offer, and that seemed to draw more attention, was on state and national issues.

Still, for reasons I’ll get into below, I continue to see a real need for a new media resource for Shenandoah County and for political and public affairs coverage in the locality. My professional and personal position has changed over the last few months, and after continuing to play with the idea, I’ve finally decided to stop complaining and deliver.

It is with that background that I announce a new project of mine: The Shenandoah Sunshine Project. What is Shenandoah Sunshine? This project is intended to create a free, citizen powered resource for political and government news driven by the power of new media (including blogging, video and social networking). That, however, sounds supisciously like a simple pitch for advertisers, or a (albeit long) Twitter post. So, in that grand jouralistic tradition, I present the who, what, when, where, why and how of Shenandoah Sunshine.

So who are we? Well, for right now, you’re reading his words. Yes, at the present time, Shenandoah Sunshine is a one man band. However, because of the unique platform of new media, we hope that to be relatively short lived. We want to get other citizens involved in reporting on local politics and government. Even if you don’t have the time or interest in lugging a camera (or even pad and pen) to a local government meeting, we still want to hear what you’re interested in. Every platform we use will include some way for you to interact with us and provide us with tips, suggestions, and story ideas. Beyond that, we also hope to be a platform not only for reporting but for commentary and analysis as well–left, right, center, progressive, conservative, we want to hear from you, and provide you with a platform beyond the limitations of the letters to the editor section of the local papers in which to do it. For my part, I plan on restricting myself to a reporting role, covering meetings and reporting just the facts. If I step beyond that to offer opinion, I’ll be clear to label it as such, but I hope to control myself in that regard. But if my reporting appears to be biased, I certainly want to know that as well.

And just what are we going to provide? Well, think of us as CSPAN for Shenandoah County. We’re going to provide news and analysis about Shenandoah County Government and Politics across various social media platforms (video, twitter, facebook). Again, we are strictly limiting ourselves to just government and politics in Shenandoah County. If you’re looking for box scores, the line-up of acts for the Shenandoah County Fair, or what happened at the Relay for Life, sorry, we won’t have it–that’s not what we’re about. We are purposely focusing on the realm of public affairs within a limited geographic area. In short, we hope to be the C-SPAN of Shenandoah County. We want to provide citizens with a front row seat to government and politics in action. We will provide reporting and yes, film of town council and Board of Supervisor meetings and political events. Even CSPAN could be accused of being biased to a certain degree–even a camera angle or selection could be considered a form of bias–but we feel by providing the source material in a way others haven’t, we will be able to provide both a more comprehensive and less biased form of coverage than has ever been attempted in Shenandoah County.

When are we kicking this off? Well, that’s a bit trickier. In a sense, it starts today with the announcement. We want to hear your feedback starting now. What do you want to hear about? Where do you want us to be? Think we’re full of crap and aren’t needed at all and we should be ashamed of ourselves for even suggesting this project? Let us know….even if that won’t call us off. Again, this is all about getting citizens involved in the process, and that includes us, the media. Yet, today, we aren’t launching any stories. We’ve reserved a spot on the major platforms we’ll be using (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, WordPress), but content will roll out slowly, because, right now, we haven’t started the heart of the project. That will come soon, though. Our first target: redistricting in Shenandoah County. Look for stories and information beginning tomorrow, and full coverage of next week’s public hearing on the issue before the Board of Supervisors.

Where will we be? This is not a traditional media project. Again, we have a narrow focus, and a different platform. We conciously will not have a traditional press outlet, for several reasons. One, for the kind of coverage we’re providing, we just don’t think that our model is an economically viable one. Other projects that have had a larger community focus have folded–there’s been multiple new printed outlets through the last decade that have come and gone. We just don’t have the financial resources to try, and we don’t think its worth it. Beyond that, we think the present outlets do a good job as printed resources for the community writ large, and we don’t see competing wtih them. More to the point, we hope to do something a little different here. As we’ll outline below, we see a gap in local government and political coverage, and I feel that, frankly, county politics is not taken a s seriously as it could be. To try and change this, I hope to go to where the dialogue is–social media. If the announcement of a public official’s child being born or their engagement can draw people’s attention, why can’t coverage of important issues do so as well? I have a hunch that its because nobody’s tried hard enough, and I want to give it a whirl. It might work, it might not–but it won’t be known until its tried.

So that leads us to another question–just why am I doing this? Well, for starters, I think that, quite frankly, there’s just not enough engagement regarding politics in Shenandoah County. Too often we’ll see public hearings regarding property taxes or school spending packed to the gills, but then at the very next meeting there will be one or two people. Same thing with letters to the editor–there will be a deluge when there’s big issues at hand, but then nothing for weeks or months. Should we just live with this? After all, those are important issues–why not let people live their lives the rest of the year? Well, there’s something to that argument–but the problem with that logic is that these issues often become problems only because of decisions that were made in the past, when people weren’t really paying attention. We don’t blame the citizens directly–people often just don’t have options to hear about this stuff. But we think it matters. Too often, as a political office, I’d ask people about who they were planning to vote for in local elections and I’d get the answer, “sorry, I only vote in presidential elections, the only one that matters.” The problem there is that the vast majority of government operations that affect us in our daily lives, from police protection to public schools to, yes, even turning on the water to brush your teeth in the morning, are the function of local government. It might not be the sexiest or most compelling part of politics, but local politics matters. Right now, I just don’t feel that the local media outlets do as good a job as they good. The Hearld, despite being just focused on the county, has unfortunately curtailed in-depth coverage. The Free Press, while far more in depth, has a clear agenda, and the lines between reporting and opinion are far too often blurred in their coverage. The Northern Virginia Daily does good coverage on occasion, bu they cover Winchester and Front Royal as well and therefore have to manage their reporting and don’t get to cover every meeting as they should. We also don’t think that government itself does as good a job as it should. We want to change that. There may be some that see us “attacking the powers that be” on that front, but we don’t see this as an agenda driven effort. If we have any agenda, its on the side of government transparency and civic engagement. That’s all we care about–we hope to be a platform for political discussion, but before we do that, we want to get people talking through unprecedented political coverage.

To expand on that just for a moment–we realize that we may not have a readership that is a cross section of Shenandoah County at first. Likely, our first readers will probably be those already deeply invested in the political process to begin with. That’s ok–that’s why we’re focusing on social media. We want to start a dialogue, and we feel the quickest way to do that is to give people an easy way to disseminate information regarding local government. Again, it may work, it may not–maybe people really just don’t care, and information on redistricting will never be as popular as baby photos. Someone needs to try, though, and it might as well be the nerd who awaits census data more than word of a classmate’s newborn…..I make no apologies on that front, but as I’ve always felt–somebody’s gotta be that guy in a successful society. It might as well be me.

So how are we going to pull this off? Social media is at the core of this project. A blog, twitter, YouTube and Facebook are at the center of this project. You will find us across all three platforms, and for right now, its going to be heavy lifting on my part. But I want this–I see a real need for this sort of coverage, and I feel compelled to try. There will be more coming across the next few days, and we encourage you to stay tuned. Above all, get involved: talk to us, let us know what you want to hear about, critique us. Because this project is ultimately about you, the citizens, and we believe that we can shine new light on the often confusing but always important nature of local government.

God bless this beautiful land we call the Shenandoah Valley, and god bless America.

Regards,
Craig L. Orndorff

Editor, Shenandoah Sunshine Project

The First of May: A Turning Point?

As I mentioned previously, the evening of May First is one that will be indelibly printed on the consciousness of a generation. The college students who witnessed the events of September 11th are emerging as the newest generation of leaders. The high schoolers that saw the massacre of thousands in New York are now becoming established in their chosen careers. And the middle schoolers who may have had to ask their parents why they were gripped with fear and anguish on that fateful day are now figuring out just what they want to do with the rest of their lives. Each of these groups begins this new chapter in their lives with one fact apparent: the mastermind behind those attacks is no more. So just what do we do with that?

Countless pundits and analysts (yours truly included) have pointed to Osama Bin Laden as the Hitler of our generation. Yet while these two figures share much in common, there is much to separate them as well–not the least of all having to do with the scale and witnessing of their respective atrocities. I am sorry if I offend, but Hitler is the far greater evil. He was a man who first co-opted a movement that fed off of the collective misery of an entire nation and shifted it into an ideology based on fanatical nationalism and racial supremacy. He used the movement to chip away at the democratic institutions of a nation to first build it up and then destroy it through his own prejudices and desires. He molded public opinion in his own image, to the point where an entire nation, some knowingly, some on the edges, participated in a slow but massive execution targeted at all who did not meet the image their leader envisioned for this monster he had created. An entire religion was targeted and nearly decimated through his machinations. The worst of all was that those who were called to defeat this beast were mostly not even aware of its scale until it was defeated–we can simply not process what it meant to be a young army private witnessing the horrors of Buchenwald and Auschwitz.

Osama Bin Laden, on the other hand, was undoubtedly a worshiper of death and destruction as well. He, however, was never able to manipulate an entire people into following. His was a ragtag band of “true believers” whose dedication to the principles of Islamism, though appealing to many living in third world conditions, just never caught fire as a mass movement because, frankly, it was unclear just what that would entail. Even the Taliban, which was the only government that came close, and even they never had complete control of the territory of Afghanistan. The nation was bereft with fighting between the Taliban and two former enemies that formed the Northern Alliance. Even today Afghanistan has only a barely functional government. Amidst all this chaos, however, stood a figure calling for the destruction of all that did not see the world as he did. It was never really clear what a world controlled by Bin Laden would look like–the important part was destroying all that did not meet his vision of Allah, which alternately meant Communism and the West. It is indisputable, however, that Osama was able to carry out countless acts of terror using those few fanatics that he could reach.

Read more…

We Got Him: Bin Laden Dead.

These are moments that you remember. Where you were, what time it was, the feeling, the incredible emotions. It’s been quite sometime since a President has spoken to the nation with very little notice–even the events of September 11th, 2001 had a certain timeline to them. When you hear (or in this new media age, read, showing just how things come around) that the President will announce the nation “shortly,” you sit with baited breath. And so it has happened.

I write this as we hear the first news that Osama Bin Laden, the financier and mastermind between countless Radical Islam-driven attacks, is dead, and that the body is reportedly in U.S. hands. It started first with a trickle, with the sudden announcement that the President would speak at 10:30 p.m. What could possibly be happening right now? Libya? Ghadaggi’s son is allegedly dead…

So the speculation began, some suggesting tornadoes, others Libya, but it quickly became apparent (both on the nets and Twitter) that this was indeed a national security matter, but shortly thereafter it was established that this did not have to do with the Libyan situation. Minutes passed and eventually 10:30 p.m. did, but it was first leaked on Twitter that this was Bin Laden, but not via the networks. Finally, at 10:45 p.m., the former standardbearers broke in with their bombastic orchestral themes, and we heard it: Bin Laden is dead, and we have the body.

At this point, all we know is that Bin Laden is indeed dead and we have the body. It is expected that President Obama’s speech will focus on the details of how he was finally brought to justice, but as the minutes click away, television news organizations are left with a huge story but no developments, as the President puts the finishing touches on his speech. So the speculation on just what this means.

So what does this mean? Well, I’m just one man. At the moment, one man filled with a fairly powerful mix of emotions. I feel that this goes for countless across the nation, not least of all those who have or had loved ones serving in what was called the War on Terror. Yet I can help but think about what this does mean. What does this mean? Well, at this moment, it would appear that the largest effect is symbolic. We knew from the get go, when we became involved with a fight against al Qaeda and radical Islam writ large, that we were fighting an asymmetrical, decentralized force. Just how involved was Bin Laden with the day to day operations of an organization that was spread throughout the world and whose primary financiers were pushed to some of the most remote regions of the world? That is something we may now never know. Still, Bin Laden, as NBC just pointed out, was the chief architect of the organization, and at one point its primary financial baker. But the ground troops are still out there. Indeed, we didn’t call it the War on Al Qaeda–it was the War on Terror. For perhaps the first time in military history, war was declared not on an enemy but rather on a form of warfare, or to narrow it just a bit more a form of warfare as used by an ideological yet divided, decentralized force. So I don’t think, by any stretch of the imagination, we can expect a quick return to pre-9/11 lifestyles, or the immediate return of ground troops in Afghanistan. What has happened is we have destroyed the embodiment of what the western world and even many Arabs and Islamists construed to be the embodiment of evil.

This is big not only for the United States, as we have been fighting this enemy for nearly twenty years (if you include our pre-9/11 actions against the organization), but for the Islamic world. The Islamic world has been in a schizophrenic state for sometime–as it currently stands, many states are currently throwing off the shackles of oppression, some largely secular, some steeped in Islam. At the same time, however, many resent the United States for continuing operations in the Middle East and Far East Asia. There has been some speculation that some of the Arabic rebellions could lead to a repeat of the Iranian tragedy, where a secular revolution was co-opted by hard fisted theocrats. This event shows that the U.S. and its allies will not stand for a stateless promoter of such a ruthless ideology. Will this make the Arab world safe for democracy? Perhaps, but perhaps it will enrage those already psychotic (and perhaps beyond saving) souls who insist that a form of theocracy is the only thing that will save them as a people.

So, as you can tell, I ultimately stand with just as many questions as answers. The only thing that seems to be certain is that our military bases around the world at higher alert tonight, because we simply don’t know how this will effect the overall outlook on the conflict and the motivations of those who are fighting for their perverted beliefs. I can tell you, mentally, there is some relief…..we’ve been waiting for this day since the attacks on our homeland, filled with a mix of grief and anger. As Afghanistan fell out of the hands of Taliban, which was harboring al Qaeda, the small, previously barely mentioned nation turned into an anarchist wasteland, battled over by those with fanatical ideological motivations and those driven by the baser desires of power and money. In the middle was the U.S. military, trying to keep the peace and put a democracy into power that sometimes seemed to simply not want to exist, beset by corruption. The grief and anger, though, would change focus, as people began to wonder just why we were in that small, landlocked nation. Lives were lost, including those close to our own little landlocked piece of the world here in Shenandoah County.

So what do I feel? Some relief, some satisfaction, and plenty of lingering concerns about if we went about this in just the right way. But now the deed is done. We now live in a world without Osama Bin Laden and it feels, for lack of a better term, different. But most importantly, a man of true evil who financed, backed, and likely planned countless acts of outright murder in the name of a controlling, destructive ideology is dead, and that’s a good thing.

So we’re still waiting. There’ll be plenty of ink and digital copy spilled tomorrow, and I may have some. But for right now, three parting observations on the procedural aspects of tonight.

One, Twitter, if it hadn’t before, has arrived. I waved off the initial reports, but they turned out to be spot on. They were roughly a half hour ahead of the networks. On a related note, two, there’s no such thing anymore as a confidential source. Leaks are almost unstoppable in this age of new media. Three, and perhaps paradoxically, Twitter may be falling, or we may be witnessing a decline of snark. I saw countless snarky posts tonight, hinting that Obama would be addressing Trump, some minor league outfit staying in their hometown, and various sundry bits of “humor”. While they may have seemed funny to the authors, I did not find them funny. This could have been anything. American lives are still at risk. A pathological hatred of this president is no reason to mock a possibly important announcement that goes far beyond any one man. I loathe his policies, but I strive, even if I don’t always meet my own standards, to maintain a certain respect for the presidency and our government’s institutions. I hope Twitter can grow up too.

And so the President speaks, and I shut up.

I’m Back….and I’m calling all Young Republicans

March 31, 2011 1 comment

Most people don’t think of Virginia’s mid-term state elections as the sort of thing to generate alot of excitement. Turnout is notoriously low, largely due to the fact that a wide swath of local and state level races will go uncontested. Yet with all the news on redistricting, pressing state issues, and the gear-up for a (hopefully) a serious debate on the state of our nation, I feel a calling to become active in politics once more.

That’s not to say that I’ve been sleeping. I was at the 6th District Republican Convention last year, went to my local committee meetings in my role as 5th Magisterial District Chair, and I recently attended the Shenandoah County Lincoln Day Dinner. That said, I just feel like I haven’t been engaged. That is, until now. I have a number of projects brewing, which include the restart of this blog. I know, I know, there’s been a number of false starts in the recent past. However, recent events, global, national and local have compelled me to speak out and get active once again.

With this blog, expect a healthy mix of commentary on issues at all levels of concern to political activists, policy thinkers and engaged citizens. I may not post as frequently as I have in the past, but expect at least one post a day as time allows. I have an emerging career in the legal arena (not as a lawyer, but a vital part of the process nevertheless), but I believe that now is the time for a blog to emerge once again in Shenandoah County.

And with that, I’d like to announce my first project. I am currently trying to bring together young people in Shenandoah, Frederick, Clarke and Warren counties to form a Northern Shenandoah Valley Chapter of the Young Republicans. Right now I am simply talking to interested individuals, but we hope to get off the ground very soon. In forming this group, I hope to launch an organization that puts a friendly and welcoming face to local Republican activism. The group will strive to be youth and family friendly, with well scheduled meetings to fit in an active lifestyle of today’s valley denizens and that also sheds the often stuffy atmosphere of official committees. Yes, involvement in local committees is vital if you want a true say in the way our party is run, but the fact of the matter is that they are not the best introduction to activism. I foresee an organization that emphasizes community, hard work, and enjoyment with others that hold common principles.

So if you’re between the ages of 18 and 40 and want to belong to a group that not only discusses and embraces our shared values but also works to put them into our government, please contact me. And if you aren’t between those ages, please pass this on to young individuals who have an interest in politics. Remember: we can be the next generation of leaders, but we must first know the issues and prove our worth in putting them into practice. With so much going on in the world and so much at stake, now is the time to get involved, and we want to form an organization that appeals to both individuals with a history of activism and those who are concerned about our future but may need a better introduction to what political involvement is all about.

If you want to be part of this, email me at craig.orndorff@gmail.com. Thanks for reading, and I hope to hear from interested folks very soon.

Walking for Lymphoma

Casual readers of this blog may not know it, but I am a three year cancer survivor. In the fall of 2006 I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I actually chronicled my diagnosis and treatment at a previous blog, Big O versus the Big C.  Many times people think of cancer as an “older person’s disease.” However, some forms of cancer tend to strike younger people much more often–Hodgkin’s is one of them. It used to be a near fatal disease–however, due to huge advances in treatment and follow up care, the current five year freedom from progression rate is about 90%. However, this has created its own set of problems, as young survivors have the whole world in front of them yet face their own limitations brought on by both treatment and the disease. Some of us face problems that people our age aren’t used to–like continued pain, clotting issues, fatigue, and memory issues.

One organization going a long way to help on both the research front as well as the survivorship front is the Lymphoma Research Foundation. In the past I have supported ACS and LLS, but lately I’ve moved towards LRF because they have a very efficient fundraising operation (over 85% of their fundraising goes back into programs). Additionally, they support my oncologist at UVA, Dr. John Densmore, through grant money.

To help support their programs and mark three cancer free years, I will be completing a 5k walk in Rock Creek Park, Maryland on May 16th. I know that times are tough, but your small donation can go a long way to help fight this disease and provide much needed support to an under-served part of the survivor community.

5k is that daunting, but as I said the disease has presented some issues for me, as well as my car accident back in September, so I plan on doing some training to be able to complete the walk problem free (and make sure I don’t have terrible blisters from unprepared shoes). You’ll be able to track my progress here at the blog–however, if you’d like to support me financially, click here to donate.

Thanks for taking a moment to read about this endeavor close to my heart. We’ll return to our regular political coverage shortly, so don’t go into withdrawals on me 😉

Categories: Personal