The weekend forecast

This weekend is the Pan Mass Challenge. My sister, Matt and I will all be riding 191 miles from Sturbridge, MA to Provincetown, MA. Why are we doing this you ask? Here are our top 10 reasons:

1. After getting married just over a month ago, we thought this would be a good bonding experience for me, Matt, and Abby. Matt is so excited about spending more than 48 hours with Abby and me.

2. Lance Armstrong is riding this year. Performance enhancing drugs or not, just to breath the same air as him will be incredible.

3. We look awesome in bike shorts – especially Matt.

4. It is an excuse to wear matching outfits. We don’t have too many of these occasions since retiring our “Gator A” and “Bad to the Bone” swim team shirts.

5. We can eat as many peanut butter and fluff sandwiches as we want and no one will judge.

6. It is a good way to get a dose of “small town America,” something that we lack in NYC.

7. There is free beer at the end of each days’ ride.

8. It is a good way for Abby to meet some guys. And with me and Matt at her side, she is sure to do well. Can someone say wingman?

9. The ride ends in p-town. Enough said.

10. To raise money for cancer research and treatment. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Just as I did last year, I will blog throughout our ride, taking a few minutes every waterstop to update you on our progress. So please follow along as we ride through the towns that line our route and pass by the people who come out to support the PMC. I will try to give you a sense of what it is like to ride for such a worthy cause. Thank you so much to everyone who has donated to my ride. You are the true heroes this weekend.

It is not to late to make a donation. Please visit My Fundraising Page

Pan Mass Challenge – UPDATE

I would like to update you all on my progress towards my goals.

  • To date, I have raised $1,025
    Thank you to everyone who has already shown their support. I truly appreciate it! Unfortunately, I still have a long way to go! There is still plenty of time to make a donate – please click HERE to do so! Remember 100% of every dollar donated goes directly to the Jimmy Fund!
  • In 2011, I have ridden approximately 120 miles
    As a result, I am pretty confident I will finish the first day of the Pan Mass (110 miles) – not so sure how that second day is looking!
  • Matt vs. Molly
    Last year, I was able to keep pace with Matt fairly easily during the ride. So far this year, Matt has crushed me during every training ride. Last year Matt has a stress fracture in his leg that kept him on crutches right up until the Pan Mass. Apparently, that impacted his performance… and I thought he was just lazy. At least I will look better in my bike shorts!

As I have done in years past, I created a YouTube video from last year’s ride. Hopefully this helps you experience what it is like to ride 190 miles to fight cancer.

 
Thank you so much for your support! We are closer by the mile!

Pan Mass Challenge – 2011

 

On August 6th and 7th, I will ride 190 miles across the state of Massachusetts to raise money for cancer. This year I will be joined for the two-day ride with my sister Abby and my husband(!) Matt. This will be the fourth year that I have participated in the Pan Mass Challenge and every year I have become more and more passionate about the ride. 100% of the funds that are raised through the Pan Mass are donated directly to the Dana Farber Cancer Research and Treatment Institute.

 If you already want to make a donation, just click here: http://www.pmc.org/profile/MB0342. To be persuaded further, read on!

 Six months ago I began working for a non-profit foundation called Robin Hood. Our mission is to fight poverty in New York City by finding and funding 200 of the most successful poverty fighting organizations in the city. When I was originally offered the job, I remember thinking that the job was going be fantastic, but if nothing else, I was excited to learn the secret to fundraising from Robin Hood and apply it to my own Pan Mass fundraising efforts.

 Well, after working for Robin Hood for more than 6 months I can report that there is no secret to its success; it is straightforward. Have a mission that you believe in and hold to that mission. We believe passionately in the work that we do and our donors trust us to invest their dollars in the best poverty-fighting organizations.

 My passion for the Pan Mass and the work that is being done at Dana Farber stems from my own experiences throughout my life as well as those gained during the ride these past three years.

  •  Being told in high school that my friend had leukemia and not understanding why
  • Hearing the countless “Thank You for Riding” cheers as you ride along the 190 miles.
  • Seeing a sign in someone’s yard that states “Diagnosed with cancer, age 3. Today, thanks to you, living cancer free, age 8.”
  • Seeing the pedal partners, children who are currently undergoing cancer treatment, at the water stops who are cheering US on.
  • Struggling up a hill and being passed by someone riding along with a living proof* badge *given to riders who have been diagnosed with cancer at some point – some are still fighting it
  • Seeing a friend who was battling cancer standing along the road and cheering as loud as possible, while waving her wig around her head.
  • Seeing my mother cross the finish line in Provincetown just one year after being diagnosed with cancer.
  •  Hearing my dad tell me that they had found his skin cancer early. He was going to be fine.

I know many of you have similar stories, some more tragic than mine. Cancer doesn’t discriminate; it affects us all. However, thanks to your support we are making a difference in the fight against this terrible disease. And since 100% of every dollar raised goes directly to the Dana Farber Institute you can be certain that your donation will count.

 Hopefully my passion for this ride and the battle against cancer is contagious. If you have caught the bug, please make a donation here. Thank you so much for your support.

Little Things Turns One

Last week I passed an important milestone; my blog, Focus on the Little Things, celebrated its first anniversary. My first post was written on March 2nd, 2010 as I was seating on the couch contemplating my life. I had become so wrapped up in the negative aspects that I was unable to see the countless positive things I had. Thankfully one year later, I was so busy enjoying my life that I didn’t even realize a year had passed.This past year has gone by so quickly and I am certainly in a much better place now than I was last year.

I have found a job that makes me excited to out of bed in the morning. I believe so passionately in the work that I am doing and the organization’s mission. I work with people who have high expectations for me and for themselves and people who strive to make a difference in the way other people live their lives. I am proud to say that I work for Robin Hood.

Matt and I are getting ready to celebrate our wedding in less than four months. And while the planning process got off to a rocky start, things are smooth sailing from now until the big day. Just this morning we were able to check off the last “big ticket item” on our checklist. We can not wait to celebrate this occasion with our friends and family. Already the excitement that other people have shared with us, particularly the two amazing people planning my shower, has been incredible. It is such a good feeling to know that so many other people are just as excited as we are, for us to get married.

After two and a half years, I am slowly starting to adjust to life in New York. No, I am not a Yankees fan, and never will be. But I have come to terms with the fact that Matt and I don’t live in Boston, and probably won’t in the near future. Instead of focusing on the things that I like about Boston that New York lacks, I am trying to focus on the things that New York has that I do like. These things include the following: Central Park, Bleeker Street Pizza, the fact that the Today Show is my local news, Union Square farmers market, Matt Kinsella, riding my bike to Piermont, Rubix Kube and frequent visitors.

This year has been incredible. I owe that to my family, friends and of course Matt. I couldn’t imagine a life without him. He has truly helped me focus on the little things, and sometimes the big things, that make life so amazing.

So thanks for following along… hold on tight, this year is sure to be a good one.

I Love My Job

I promise, despite my posts of late, I won’t turn my blog into a complete love-fest for Robin Hood. Although, I certainly could do such a thing.

After working here for just four days, I am filled with such passion for our mission that hope that my blog can help others of you share my passion as well. David Saltzman is one of the people who started it all. Serving as the Executive Director since Robin Hood’s creation, he has seen the organization grow from a non-profit that raised just shy of $100,000 and funded two programs its first year, to its current stats: raising $1 billion raised in total and funding 200 programs in the year 2010 alone. To work with him is truly an honor and you are guaranteed to learn something every day.



Be Robin Hood

I blogged earlier 2011 is going to be an amazing year. Matt and I are getting married, I am committed to making the most out of living in New York, my sister will lead her OWN swim team during conference and the national championships, and hopefully the Patriots continue their latest string of successes with a Super Bowl win. But most importantly, in 2011, I will get to be Robin Hood.

Last week I blogged about some exciting career news that I had to share. And now I can finally announce that, as of today, I am a proud member of the Robin Hood Foundation. An opportunity presented itself for me to leave my previous position and join this amazing organization. And while this position will undoubtably come with many challenges, longer hours than I am used to and a lot of work, I believe that it will be worth it. For the past two years, I have been thirsting for a bigger challenge, a more meaningful mission, and to be part of an organization that is proud of its work. After spending one day in their office, I know I have found all of these things.

I have blogged about Robin Hood before, but for those of you that are unfamiliar with it, Robin Hood is a charitable organization that fights poverty in New York City. Currently, 1.8 million New Yorkers are living in poverty. Together, they could populate the fifth largest city in the United States–larger than Boston, Atlanta and San Francisco combined. These people struggle with the rising costs of food and housing, and fewer opportunities for adequate health care, quality education and secure employment exist.

Robin Hood is changing the fates and saving the lives of these people by applying investment principles to charitable giving. They find, fund and create the most effective programs and schools serving families in New York City’s poorest neighborhoods.

Robin Hood follows an extensive due diligence process to ensure that every dollar invested generates results. Before investing in a program, Robin Hood reviews its strategy, scrutinizes its financial statements, evaluates its management teams, and conducts multiple visits.

And the support doesn’t stop there. Robin Hood protects and leverages its charitable investments with top-notch management and technical assistance. Their in-house management experts help programs with their strategic and financial planning, recruiting and legal concerns, organizational issues and capital needs…with whatever they require. And if they don’t have the expertise in-house, they get it elsewhere. They have access to the top people and firms in New York to get the job done pro bono.

And because Robin Hood’s board of directors pays all administrative, fundraising and evaluation costs, 100% of donations goes directly to organizations helping impoverished New Yorkers build better lives.

So… for those of you wondering what it is like to work at Robin Hood… I can now tell you. I started my first day with an all staff meeting that felt more like a really interesting college seminar on business analytics coupled with a high school pep rally. The obvious intelligence in the room was almost as much as the pride and honor the employees felt for their organization and for each other. The meeting culminated with the presentation of a cake depicting a scene from the movie Robin Hood, which was created, by who other than Buddy, the Cake Boss.

Not a bad way to start the year.

Raise Your Glass

With the new year fast approaching, it is easy to look forward to all of the exciting things that will take place in 2011.

But it is worth mentioning that 2010 was certainly a good year. Matt and I got engaged and many of our friends celebrated their own weddings. Abby took a new job as the head coach for an awesome swim team and has managed to lead them to a top ranking so far this season. Matt, Abby, my mom and I successfully completed the 110 mile bike ride that is the Pan Mass and raised more than 20,000 dollars to fight cancer. Matt and I conquered Half Dome in Yosemite. And although the Red Sox didn’t have their best season, the Yankees weren’t able to defend their World Series title. I started my blog and was featured on Freshly Pressed! All in all, it was a good year.

I already have some good news for 2011 that concerns my employment. Unfortunately, I am not ready to make my announcement official (I know, the suspense is killing me too!). But in the spirit of things, I thought I would post this video that was featured on the Ellen Show earlier this year, celebrating her 1200th episode. Don’t get excited, I am not going to working for Ellen. But watching this made me realize, Ellen has the best job in the world. Not only because she is famous and probably she makes a lot of money (but let’s be honest, compared to Oprah, she is destitute), but because she truly loves what she does. I think we can all be inspired by her passion for life, her infectious laughter, and her killer dance moves.

2010 was a good one, but 2011 is certainly coming in strong…