Johnny Strong and I served together in the Marines. We had been in the same squad together the entire time we were in the fleet. He was assigned to be the driver of the humvee we were in on our second tour and he was one of the most outstanding people you could meet. He was a bit quiet, but a hard worker and always ready to give what he could.
On June 12th, 2007 he was shot and killed while on a foot patrol in Northern Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He and I used to talk about what we wanted to do when we got home and he had it narrowed down pretty well. He wanted to be apart of the video gaming industry. He wanted to learn how to build video games. We talked a lot about video games since we were both gamers but he was definitely on a higher level than me.
In 2003, two men who drew a comic strip called Penny Arcade, (www.penny-arcade.com) started a charity called Child's Play Charity. The charity sends money, video games, electronics, and other games to kids in Children's Hospitals across the US and have extended to some international locations as well. ( www.Childsplaycharity.org ) I am going to be raising money for this charity in his honor. He never got a chance to be apart of the industry and I want to help associate him with it in a good way.
In Seattle, Penny Arcade also hosts PAX, the largest video gaming convention in North America. PAX is now PAX prime, since in 2010 they have started a PAX East in Boston and this year is their first to have one in Melbourne, Australia. My goal for my fundraiser is to ride a bicycle from their PAX East, which usually starts in early April, to their PAX Prime, which usually starts in early September.
I have planned out a route, it's a bit over 4,400 miles. I plan on making the ride with a support vehicle and having supply pickup spots pre-planned throughout the route. The route is based off of visiting the most Children's Hospitals along the way so I can blog throughout the trip and show people how Child's Play is helping children when they are at such horrible lows in their early life. I am hoping to raise $100 per mile, with a widget on the website tracking my mileage and the dollars donated. I hope for it to become a bit of a race between me and the donations.
So that's the gist of what I will be doing. I have a good deal of people already pledging support for me and will be speaking with my company management (I'm a personal trainer) about sponsoring me.
The tentative route I have planned is here: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/2239525
I'll have around 126 days to complete the ride, which doesn't include the days off.
What do you all think?