It is just past 2:30 on Saturday afternoon.
The bodies of Drew and his tandem partner are framed by stunning cerulean blue from the open hatch of the plane. Drew’s tiny, thickly-accented videographer has just tipped herself out of the plane.
Drew leans his head back against the shoulder of his partner.
I do not hear “one.” Their bodies arch out of the open side of the plane, dwindling quickly from view, as my tandem partner duck-waddles us closer to the hatch.
I jump next.
Drew accepted my pledge to get involved with Blame-a-Thon with zero hesitation, despite the fact that he didn’t know me from Adam. Actually, he had never met Britt in person before either, and hadn’t known Mikey for all that long. Only Chris, his co-host from Best Damn Tech Show, was a long-term friend.
His entire project team had been recruited via Twitter. A day later I found myself equipped with an official BlameDrewsCancer email address, pitching ideas and drafting documents.
So much for taking a break from event planning. That had lasted all of five weeks.
If the scope of Blame-a-Thon started big, then the ideas behind the scenes were gargantuan. We were reaching out to huge sponsors – businesses I’d never before dreamed of contacting as an individual. And, more and more events found their way onto the schedule – LiveStrong night at the Phillies, karaoke, bowling, sponsored evenings at National Mechanics and Buckhead Saloon, and maybe even a night at a local comedy club.
In any other organization I’d be wary of stretching too thin, but BlameDrewsCancer was the inverse. Every time we added another seemingly-insane item to our list, more resources and support emerged from the Twitter community. The pace of blaming and donations (all benefiting our partner LiveStrong) kept increasing.
Through our non-stop conversations I suddenly had a crew of best friends that I barely even knew. I even bought a new phone after a year of waffling just so I could stay in touch with all of their manic happenings.
My windfall of awesome new people is actually part of Drew’s end-game for the charity – he wants to use his experience with cancer to show people battling cancer (and their friends and families) that they can build their own dynamic systems of support through tools like Twitter, and then convert that system into the real world. In fact, Drew wants to help them do it.
Somewhere in there, we started to talk about skydiving. Chris and Mikey had done it before, and I mentioned wanting to tag along on their next trip. Britt said she was game. If Drew wanted to skydive, we could do it as a team, with our final member Amanda acting as ground control.
This is what impresses me the most about Drew, and about Blame Drews Cancer. Drew didn’t necessarily want to skydive. I at no point got the impression that it was something on his “bucket list” of things to do just in case cancer got the best of him. In fact, the idea of it occasionally seemed to send him into a panic attack.
Skydiving was an extreme, scary thing to do, and it seemed to me that Drew wanted to do it – fear and all – just to shove it in cancer’s face. He would pitch himself – cancer and all – out of a plane at an altitude of 15,000 feet to prove that Drew has cancer, but cancer doesn’t have Drew.
We picked a date. On Saturday, July 18 – a day after my six month wedding anniversary – I would leap out of a plane and hope to land all in one piece.