Saturday, August 11, 2007

Update - Cross Canada Motorcycle Ride
For Organ & Tissue Donation Awareness

Living liver donor Robert E. Crawford and sister-in-law recipient Marilyn Olivo-Crawford are motorcycling across Canada July 21st to August 16th and I’m pleased to support this initiative to raise awareness for organ and tissue donation.

Robert says that access to the internet is difficult to find at times but he will do his best to keep us updated. His most recent report is below. For a day-to-day update of the ride from start to finish click here.

August 9
We got organized and dropped Shelley off at the airport in plenty of time for her 10:30AM flight. We rode out from Winnipeg at about 10:00AM for Brandon. It is only 210km away so we didn’t have to rush. The highway was straight as an arrow and not very busy. This was our first look at the prairies. I really like the huge wheat fields and ranches and seeing the massive irrigation systems in place. You can see so far down the road that it seems like you are hardly moving. We actually passed our first motorcycle on this leg. It was a Harley with 2 riders who were in less of a rush than we were.

The weather was sunny and a very nice day for a ride. With the long straight highway we were able to take some good pictures of the bikes and chase car. Carolyn came up along side of us a few times so that she could take some pictures and for Abigail to wave and blow kisses to us.

Along the route we stopped in Portage for a drink and quick rest. We were recognized by another traveler from our segment on Winnipeg TV. He was very nice and gave us a donation towards our ride. People have been incredible along the way and it is encouraging to know that the message is getting some attention. The chase car and bikes now have many green-ribbon magnetic logos attached to them, thanks to the Kidney Foundation. I think this is helping to get people’s attention to our little entourage.

At 2:10PM we finally arrived in Brandon. John & Charlene Schneiderbanger met us at the local Tim Horton’s (our favorite watering hole!) It was great to see some familiar faces. We sat down and were introduced to Alf Kennedy from the Brandon Lions Club. There are 4 Lions clubs situated in Brandon alone. Alf knows “everyone” in Brandon and is helping us while we are in town. He advised Marilyn & I that we will be doing a radio interview in 10 minutes via his Cell phone. Cool! No rest for the weary.

After the interview we loaded up and followed John & Charlene towards our hotel. The Victoria Inn in Brandon donated 2 rooms for our team for two nights. That was a welcome surprise! We could also park our bikes right outside our window to keep an eye on them.

We had 45 minutes “free” to get cleaned up and ride over to City Hall to meet the media and Mayor Dave Burgess. He spent some time with us talking about the ride and our travels. There were some good opportunities for pictures. The Wheat City Journal and The Winnipeg Sun interviewed us and took some more pictures. I wanted to mention that all the media people have been very kind and helpful with us.

After City Hall we went to John & Charlene’s great home and then we were whisked off to a donated dinner at a local restaurant, Albert’s Bistro and Lounge. Most of us had prime rib that was sooooo good. Others had fish. You can guess who had what?

After dinner I went back with Jacob to John & Charlene’s and did what all other major media stars do….We did laundry until 11:30PM. Carolyn took Abigail to the hotel to sleep and Marilyn went back to the hotel to rest too.

August 10
This morning is bike maintenance time. We have separate appointments for each bike to have the oil changed. These were donated by Brandon RV and Leisure and Forman Honda Power. Both bikes were checked out and ready to roll another 5,500kms. I picked up some cream to help remove burnt on boots from my exhaust. Jacob keeps using my exhaust for his foot rest. It is tough keeping your legs in one place for so long.

At noon we had a live TV interview scheduled with CKX television. We were escorted to the Green-Room that was really burgundy. There was makeup and extra clothes in the room. We all felt like real TV stars. Still no bowl of only Red “Skittles” like my contract clearly states. Oh well the show must go on!

Marilyn & I were ushered onto the floor where the Noon News Show was in progress. We tried not to trip on all the wires and cables. They wired us up for sound and we waited for our queue to come onto the set. It was interesting to see how things work behind the scenes. When it was our turn we sat with the host and she introduced us. We talked about the ride and the need to sign your donor cards.

We also thanked some of the Brandon groups and companies who have helped us so much while we were here. The “Schneiderburgers” will never forget being mentioned on TV. Once we left the set we met Lloyd who is in need of a double lung and liver transplant. He will be coming to Toronto for the surgery in early 2008. We will keep in touch with him to see if we can make it a little easier for him.

After the interview, in the parking lot, we saw the biggest wildlife so far, a huge jack rabbit that was 2 feet long. It was gigantic and Abbey wanted to take it home for a pet. “You can keep it if you can catch it”. I played the odds. We truly looked liked real tourists as Jacob and Carolyn were trying to get a picture of it!

John & Charlene brought us back to their home where they provided us with lunch before we headed out for a personal tour of CFB (Canadian Forces Base) Shilo. John drove us around the base and we got a detailed explanation of all the base functions and areas.

Charlene drove behind in her car with Carolyn, Abigail and their 4 year old daughter Maya. They were able to hear John’s commenting via walkie-talkies. We also were taken through the base museum and saw all sorts of cool artillery, gun carriers and tanks. There is some Russian and German equipment there that is not seen very often. Abbey & Jacob enjoyed playing on the anti-aircraft gun that could be rotated and the barrel raised & lowered. There was a photographer called Lori from the base following us around taking pictures. Next week we will be in the “STAG” one of the base’s newspapers.

Having the base commander give the tour had its benefits. We went into some areas where others can’t go and were also taken to the Officer’s Mess for a drink and some food. We met many soldiers and enjoyed talking to them.

It is hard to think that many of them are shipping out to Afghanistan very soon to face some very real dangers in trying to help that country get back on its feet. It will make the news stories out of that conflict much more real to us now. We hope they all come home safely and soon. Those men & women deserve a lot of credit for what they are doing every day.

After a long but enjoyable day we had some great Buffalo meat burgers and called it a day. Abbey wanted to stay overnight with John & Charlene’s daughter Maya. It has been great for Abigail to have a playmate for a couple of days and be reunited with Maya. Carolyn bought them some beads to make some jewelry. We will pick up Abigail early on Saturday on our way to Regina.

We will be changing chase drivers in Regina. We will be saying good-bye to Carolyn & Abbey as they fly to Vancouver to be there when we finish the ride on August 16th. Carolyn and Abigail will be meeting up with her sister Anita and spend 4 days at Harrison Hot Springs. She will also be finalizing all the details for the wrap up bash in Vancouver with her sister for August 17th. We pick up Ernie & Terri Olivo at the airport at 9:00pm tonight.

Carolyn has been a key reason that we have been able to make this ride a reality. She has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to plan and organize for us. I wanted to be sure that everyone knows how much I appreciated all her hard work in supporting me with this project. It would not have happened without her support. Thank you!

Next stop Regina..

Robert E. Crawford
Cross Canada Motorcycle Ride
For Organ & Tissue Donation Awareness
Email Robert

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

No comments: