Huffman Coding

… with a bunch of Family Stuff too

The Story of Elena

Dear Friend,

I hope this letter finds you well. Chris and I are weathering the transition of our oldest two daughters into college life while spending many a Sunday in gymnasiums watching our high school freshman lunge all over the back of a volleyball court as a Libero. And, after a year off, I am back to raising funds for Pelotonia.

For those who are unfamiliar, Pelotonia is a large bike tour that raises money for cancer research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center-James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute. In exchange for a weekend of cycling, Gatorade, and peanut butter sandwiches, I am required to reach beyond my comfort zone and out to friends to help cure cancer.

After a few years at a large company where I founded a Pelotonia team with dozens of riders and was the co-captain, I have rejoined a smaller telecommunications company where I started back in 1994. My current employer appears to be in transition as it “right-sizes” itself for its market share, so gone are the generous company matching donations, the bake sales, and the raffles I had become accustomed to for a couple of years to help me reach my goal. But finding a cure for cancer is a worthwhile cause and I have good friends, so I am going forward without corporate support or a bright orange cycling jersey with the company logo.

Listening to podcasts is one of my “things” now and, on the drive home from work one day, I heard the story of Elena, a girl from southern Ohio. As a kindergartener suffering with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, Elena wrote literally hundreds of crayoned notes and drawings to her sister and parents in the final months of her life and hid them so they would be found after she was gone. It was her way of reaching into a future she had realized she wouldn’t share with her family. A six-year-old coming to terms with her own mortality. Years after her death, her father still hasn’t wanted the conversation to come to a close and still hasn’t opened the last envelope he discovered in his briefcase.

But the best way to keep a stream of crayon artwork on the fridge, is to cure that brain cancer. And that’s why Pelotonia exists. Every penny donated goes to cancer research. And among other cancers, Ohio State does trials for brain and central nervous system medicines to search of a cure.

And you can help. Go to and read more about Elena then click on the “Donate to my ride” button on the right. Every little bit helps and I will be truly grateful.

See you on the road,


Comments are currently closed.