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North Bay Business Journal

Monday, April 14, 2014, 5:30 am

Human Race Flight 26: ‘A Time to Soar!’

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     Editor’s note: Each year the Business Journal runs the Human Race appeal letter from Santa Rosa attorney John O’Brien, one of the event’s biggest supporters. This year’s race theme is “A Time to Soar!” Good luck, John.

    John O'Brien commentaryWelcome to Flight 26 Human Race 2014. Welcome aboard, and fasten your seatbelts as we prepare for takeoff on this year’s flight. It’s my 26th year of participation. My feet (flat) will be flying in this annual fundraising event (May 10) in which I have so far raised more than $360,000 to help stop cancer and save lives. Your purchase of a ticket (donation) this year will help me reach my goal of $400,000 since 1989 and send cancer on a nonstop flight to extinction.

     We have all lost loved ones to cancer or have suffered its consequences ourselves (as I have). Through the efforts of the American Cancer Society, cancer survivorship has greatly increased and with more funds to support research and other valuable programs, the end of this journey and the successful landing of this flight is on the horizon. 

     The theme of this year’s event gives me the opportunity to use many former airline slogans (I’m “Just Plane Smart”) to support my appeal to your generosity:

    1.  “Ding! …Want to get away?” (Join me on this journey to a world free of cancer.)
    2. “Come Fly With Me” (buy your ticket today). I “am ready when you are.” I will “really move my tail for you” (over the entire 10K distance of the race). 
    3. The Human Race is “the only way to fly” (your help is needed for a safe landing). 
    4. “Life is a Journey; travel it well” (by being generous). “Live today; Tomorrow will cost more” (you can’t take it with you).
    5. “Catch a Smile” (especially when I get your money).
    6. At the finish line, there will be “Something Special in the Air” (but this isn’t Colorado).
    7. Like Virgin Airlines’ motto “More experience than our name suggests” and Continental Airlines’ “We really move our tail for you”, my old, tired body will finish this flight and cross the finish line amid cheers, jeers, brass bands, cheerleaders, fireworks, TV cameras, etc., etc., all cheering me to victory (“You ain’t seen nothing yet.”)

     By confirming your reservation ($$) on Flight 26 today, you become a member of my frequent flyer’s (donor’s) club and earn the following rewards:

    1. Ultra Premier ($2,500), or more. I will be your personal assistant for a day (terms are negotiable, and remember my aged body (old) and mind (weak). “It pays to fly!”
    2. Premier ($1,000). In addition to the best seat on this and future flights, you will have my everlasting gratitude and very valuable publicity of your generosity. 
    3. Platinum ($500). You will receive one free hour of my legal services (provided I survive this flight and can still work, and no midnight calls to bail you out).
    4. Golden ($250). You will receive a free drink on your next flight.
    5. Silver ($100). Besides surprise rewards, you can make a donation of $100 or more in memory of, or in support of, a loved one who has suffered from cancer or other illness, and I will dedicate my race to all these honored people. I will also carry their photographs with me, if you provide one, on this flight to honor each of them.
    6. Bronze ($50). All $50-plus donors receive the extremely popular autographed photo of me at the finish line once Flight 26 has landed (hopefully, not on my nose—it’s big enough already!). 
    7. Economy (under $50). (A complimentary small bag of peanuts or pretzels?) You will receive my sincere gratitude for every donation, large or small. Remember, whatever the donation, “bags fly free” (I always carry my bags under my eyes).

     Help me Soar to Success (“I’m” John; “Fly Me”). Help me soar like an eagle, and send cancer on the non-stop flight to extinction. Make your check payable to “Human Race,” and return it to my office, c/o Nina Cooney. Payment of your tax-deductible donation now will save us time and postage later. You can also donate using a credit card by going to my personal web page at the Volunteer Center’s website. 

    Thank you for your support.

    John O’Brien is the senior partner with the law firm O’Brien, Watters & Davis LLP in Santa Rosa.

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