Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Riley Family, Part II

You didn't miss Part I, at least not here you didn't.

Many of you know Mike Riley. If you don't, here's a little history. He's the past president of ODTUG (for like 37 years or something) and for the last two years, he's served as Conference Chair for Kscope. Yeah, that doesn't really follow, but you know I'm a bit...scattered.

Did you read the link above? OK, well, here's the skinny. Mike has rectal cancer. Stage III. If it weren't for the stupid cancer part, the jokes would abound. Oh wait, they do anyway. Mike was diagnosed shortly after #kscope13, right around his 50th birthday (Happy Birthday Mike, Love, Cancer!). Ugh. (I want to say, "are you shittin' me?" see what I mean about the jokes? I can't help myself, I'm 14). Needless to say, cancer isn't really a joke. We all know someone affected by it. It is...well, it's not fun.

Go read his post if you haven't already. I'm going to give my version of that story. I'll wait...

So, Sunday morning, Game 3 of the World Series went to the Cardinals in a very bizarre way. I was watching highlights that morning as I had missed the end of the game (doesn't everyone know that I'm old and can't stay up that late to watch baseball?). Highlights. Mike lives in St. Louis. He's a Cardinal's fan. Wouldn't it be cool if he and his family could go to the game (mostly just his family, I don't like Mike that much). So I make some phone calls to see what people think of my idea. My idea is met with resistance. OK, I'll skip the people. Let's call Lisa (Mike's wife).

Apparently Sunday's are technology free days in the Riley household, no response. I go for a bike ride, but I take my phone, just in case Lisa calls me back. After the halfway point, my phone rings, I jump off the bike to answer.

So I talked to Lisa about my idea, can Mike handle the chaos of a World Series game?

We hang up and she goes to work. BTW, I asked her to keep my name out of it, but she didn't. We'll have words about that in the future.

She calls back (I think, it may have been over text, 2 weeks is an eternity to me). "He doesn't think he can do it."

So I call Mike directly (Lisa had already spoiled the surprise.)

"What about Box seats? You know, where the people with top hats and monocles sit? Away from the rift-raft, much more comfortable and free food and beer."

Backstory. Mike had finished his first round of chemo less than a week before Sunday. To make things worse, he decided it was a good time to throw out his back. He wasn't in the best of shape.

Mike said he thought he could do it.

OK, nay-sayers aside, let's see what we can do. I emailed approximately 50 people, mostly ODTUG people; board members, content leads, anyone I had in my address book. "Hey, wouldn't it be great to send Mike and his family to Game 5 of the World Series? We need to do this quick, tickets will probably double in price tonight especially if the Cardinals win." (that would mean Game 5 would be a clincher for the Cardinals, at home, muy expensive).

Within about 20 minutes, a couple of people pledged $600.

Holy shit!

At the prices I had seen, I was hoping to get between $50 and $100 from 50 people, hoping. I had $600 already. Game starts. Now it's up to $1100 in pledges. Holy shit, Part II. This might just be possible. Another 30 minutes and were about an hour into Game 4. Ticket prices have already gone up by $250 a ticket. Given that maybe 4 people have responded and I have $1600 in pledges, I pull the trigger. I bought 4 box seat tickets for the Riley family. (I had to have a couple of beers because I was about to drop a significant chunk of change without actual cash in hand, I could be out a lot of money, liquid courage is awesome).

Tickets sent to the Riley family. Pretty good feeling.

Like I said, I was confident, but I was scared. Before the end of the night though, there was over $5K pledged to get Mike and family to Game 5. Holy shit, Part III.

By midday Monday, pledges were well over $7K. I'll refer you back to Mike's post for more details. Shorter: jerseys for the family and a limo to the game.

Here's the breakdown: 35 people pledged, and paid, $8,080. Holy shit, Part IV. Average donation was $230.86. Median was $200. Low was $30 and high was $1000. Six people gave $500 or more. Nineteen people gave $200 or more. The list is a veritable Who's Who in the Oracle community.

Tickets + Jerseys + Limo = $6027.76

Riley family memory = Priceless.

So, what happened to the rest? Well, they have bills. Lots of bills. With the remainder, $2052.24, we paid off some hospital bills of $1220.63. There is currently $831.61 that will be sent shortly. It doesn't stop there though. Cancer treatment is effing expensive. Mike has surgery in December. He'll be on bed rest for some time. His bed is 17 years old. He needs a new one. After that, more chemo and more bills.

"Hey Chet, I'd love to help the Riley family out, can I give you my money for them?"

Yes, absolutely. Help me help them. I started a GoFundMe campaign. Goal is $10K. Any and all donations are welcome. Gifts include a thank you card from the Riley family and the knowledge that you helped out a fellow Oracle (nerd, definitely a nerd) in need. You can find the campaign here.

If you can't donate money, I've also created a hashtag so that we can show support for Mike and his family. It's #fmcuta (I'll let you figure out what it means). Words of encouragement are welcome and appreciated.

Thank you to the 35 who have already so generously given. Thank you to the rest of you who will donate or send out (rude) tweets.

1 comment:

Belly said...

You are one true saint Chet!

My personal religion involves a big bang and evolution (and a flying spaghetti monster).
But if others are right, and there happens to actually be a heaven, then if you don't get to go in I do not have a clue as to whom it was intended for in the first place.

I'll make my donation when I get home tonight.

Erik van Roon