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(Editor's Note: It is our privilege to reprint John O'Brien's annual Human Race fund-raising letter.)

Am I dreaming, or is it really time for the Human Race (yes, May 5, 2012)?  Hopefully, this is not your recurring nightmare to receive my annual letter asking (groveling) for your help ($), to stop cancer and save lives. 

Cancer is scary, complicated, widespread, often fatal (if not caught early) and touches everyone in some way (I have lost both parents, my sister-in-law, numerous clients and friends (and, most recently, my lifetime friend, Jeff Toberer).  As you know, I raise money for the American Cancer Society (over $300,000 to date), the most effective and successful non-profit organization in the world solely dedicated to stopping cancer and saving lives.  It takes money (a lot) to accomplish this goal, which is where you come in (surprise?!). 

 “I have a dream” (thank you, Martin Luther King, Jr.), too, that I want to share with you.

 Just imagine:

-- Cures for all forms of cancer.

-- My rapidly aging (aged) body successfully completing the 10K race course this year before dark and not in last place and show the world what a great athlete (athletic supporter) I am. 

-- I  am not totally embarrassed this year (or arrested) during this event wearing some ridiculous outfit (see incentive prize no. 3 below) (like last year’s cornhead hat).

-- World peace (thank you, Miss America contestants).

-- Someone buys incentives no. 1 and 2 below this year (you can do it).

 -- I raise a total of $1,000,000 before I quit this race some day (hurry, as my clock is ticking -- fast).

-- No more lawyer jokes (a real dream!).

 -- The Republicans finally choose a candidate (please – no more debates).

 -- I finish the race before the children on tricycles, mothers walking dogs and cats and pulling wagons, and LOLs with walkers. 

 -- Each and every recipient of this letter makes a generous donation (I know I can count on you to donate the big bucks). 

Help me make this dream a reality.  In case you need some more incentive for a large donation, I again offer my famous incentive prizes:

1. For $5,000, you will become my exclusive sponsor and you will have a friend for life (who says money can’t buy friendship?).

2. For $2,500, or more, I will be your servant/slave/stooge/attorney (same as stooge), or whatever (be creative) for a day.  Just remember my age (old), back and knees (bad) and mind (weak & simple), and please be nice (we may need to negotiate terms as I’m not that desperate).

3. For the first to donate $1,000, I can display your logo or carry a sign; promote your business, political candidate or other agenda; propose marriage; dump your spouse or significant other; insult your boss; ask for a raise; serve a summons; be a clown (redundant); baby-sit or entertain your boss, children, spouse, dog, or mother-in-law (that costs extra); finish or start an argument or fight; or whatever pleases you (but can’t get me arrested).

4. For $500 (my hourly rate is actually lower), one free hour of my legal services (cheaper by the dozen).

5. For $100, a surprise gift.  If desired, you can also make a donation of $100 or more in memory of or in support of a loved one, and I will dedicate my race to all these honored people (I will again carry their photographs with me if you provide one).

6. For $50 or more, the ever so popular photo of me at the finish line (many thousands now in circulation/recycling).  If I don’t make it, you are invited to see me at my funeral and typical Irish wake (free beer).

7. For less than $50 (oh-come on, you really can do better), my gratitude (every dollar counts).

Whatever amount you can give will help save lives and realize my dream.  Make your check payable to “Human Race”, indicate your donation on the enclosed return envelope 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.  The directions are below*.Thank you for your support.  Sincerely,  John R. O'Brien....

Website donation directions:   http:/www.humanracenow.org/goto/jobrien;  click:  “DONATE NOW,”  enter:   $$Amount;  enter:   your name, address; and  Enter information to pay by credit card.  Note: To avoid surcharges, we recommend that you choose the option “Deduct $--- from my donation for processing charges” under “Giving Option." John O'Brien is the senior partner with the law firm O'Brien, Watters & Davis LLP  in Santa Rosa, 707-545-7010, obrienlaw.com.