Monthly Archives: August 2008

Committed or Needs to Be Committed?

Committed or needs to be committed? It all depends on your point of view.

Run Tommy Run

Run Tommy Run

On August 27, 2008, Tommy Neeson will depart from Bangor, ME for a 2,300-mile run (4 Million Steps) to Miami, FL. This journey will last 75 days. Tommy will run, on average, 31 miles per day. On top of that, Tommy will not have the “luxury” of a support vehicle. Instead, Tommy will carry all his supplies in a baby jogger.

I think a lot of people would say Tommy needs to have his head checked. That’s one point of view. BUT, when you hear why he is making this epic run, you will likely think otherwise. Let me share my point of view, starting first with Tommy’s story.

Randi at 6 months

Randi at 6 months

In 1998 Tommy’s youngest daughter, Randi, was diagnosed with brain cancer a few weeks before her second birthday. Randi’s hard battle lasted 6 ½ months before it took her life. During Randi’s battle, Tommy’s wife would stay with Randi in the hospital during the week, and Tommy would stay with her on the weekend. I can only imagine how stressful things got as a separated family tried to cope with a terminally ill child.

With a couple months left to enjoy their time with Randi, the Neeson family learned that they could be together, as a family, by staying at the Ronald McDonald House in NYC. While the doctors, nurses and the medications were there to treat Randi, the Ronald McDonald House was there to treat the whole family. And, believe it or not, there were some great memories for them during that time. The Ronald McDonald House provided the opportunity for Tommy and his family to spend those remaining months as a family. Those are memories they will always be grateful for, and this is what is motivating Tommy to run 30 miles a day for weeks on end down the east coast to raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

What’s my point of view? I think Tommy is COMMITTED. Committed to greatness. Committed to inspiring everyone around him to be better people. Committed to having Randi’s spirit live on.

And this is why Atayne is committed to supporting Tommy every step of the way — yes, all 4 million of them. In return for testing the rigors of a 2,300-mile run on some Atayne shirts, we will be supporting Tommy by:

  • Donating $5 to Tommy’s fundraising efforts, for every shirt we sell during the Virginia Beach Half Marathon Expo on August 29th and 30th. (Tommy and his family live in the area.)
  • Arranging for a group of runners to greet Tommy and run the last few miles into Washington, DC with him on September 19. (If anyone knows Mayor Adrian Fenty, also an avid runner, we want to invite him to join us.)
  • Promoting Tommy’s run on our website, blog, at events, and through press releases.
  • Soliciting other sponsors and helping to fulfill his wish list.

Check out Tommy’s website and consider how you might help us support Tommy. Whether it is a donation, joining our run with him into DC, organizing your own run with him, or helping to fulfill something on his wish list, I am sure Tommy will appreciate all the help he can get. And if you have an idea on how Atayne can support him further, please email me or post a comment.

To close, I want to share Tommy’s point of view, in his own words.

“There is a Chinese Proverb that goes:

‘If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day, go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.’

What are you doing for happiness? Me, I’m going for a run.”

Know a similar story to Tommy’s about someone who is committed to doing something epic to make this world a better place (and some might think needs to be committed based on the boldness of his/her vision)? We’d love to hear it!


The Wait Is Almost Over…

Waiting For Atyane

Waiting For Atyane

Just a quick post to let everyone know that the website has launched! I hope everyone has a chance to look over and share with their friends ( We encourage you to leave your thoughts and recommendations as a comment. We want to continually evolve this site with the help of the Atayne community.

And if you are on Facebook, check out our new page. Hope you all become a fan.

Atayne Launches with Some Trashy Competition

A few weeks ago I wrote about the Atayne investor dinner in my “What Keeps You Up at Night?” (June 25) blog. Since then, things have kicked in to high gear. Following that meeting, substantial seed funding was secured. The call for support in my June 25 blog was answered as people showed their belief in Atayne by responding to the blog (via personal emails or comments) and by visiting the website to sign up for the email list. We are now running full steam ahead. The website is set to launch this week (as my girlfriend is pushing me to hit the magical 8-8-08 date) and sales will follow about a week later. There is not doubt this success is due in large part to the Atayne community.

On top of all of that, we took part in our first official event on Saturday, July 26 in Portland, ME. Atayne was one of the sustainability sponsors of the Zone Urban Epic (ZUE). Atayne’s participation was not your typical “plaster your logo on everything” sponsorship. No, we decided to get a bit more creative in our visibility and simultaneously do something positive for the environment.

Will Run 4 Trash

Will Run 4 Trash

While the ZUE entrants ran for pride, glory, and accomplishment, Team Atayne ran for trash and a cleaner environment. Following closely behind the race participants on the course, Team Atayne collected trash of all types to leave the course even cleaner than the ZUE athletes found it. Additionally, through an innovative partnership with upcycling firm TerraCycle, we had collection stations for energy bar wrappers, nutritional gel packs, swim caps, polyester-based sports apparel, bottles and cans, and more. What did we do with all this so-called trash? Not send it to a landfill! Working with TerraCycle, Atayne will use as many of those “trashed” materials to make eco-friendly products ranging from tote bags and purses to sports apparel and shoes.

Overall, Atayne’s particaption in ZUE was a great success. We made some new friends for Atayne and collected over 100 lbs of trash from the second segment of the run course (just 3 miles)! For me, it was a rather startling load and yet another wake-up call for the problem we have with waste in our society. (See my June 5 blog for more.)

Team Atayne

Team Atayne

These results would not have been possible without the help of some incredible volunteers. A group of 5 college students/recent grads dedicated their weekend to picking up trash. There was nothing glorious in it for them: just a free shirt and the knowledge that they did something good for the environment.

The evening before the event, Mike and I decided to provide them with a small monetary incentive. But instead of straight pay, we set it up as a competition. Might as well get into the competitive spirit of the event. We would split the group into two teams. The team that collected the most garbage would win $100. Not a ton of money, but enough to get the competitive juices flowing.

Instantly upon announcing the competition, it was on. The teams divided, and the “trash” talk began. Mike and I sat back and smiled as a group of 21 to 22 year olds got excited about the prospect of picking up trash.

Saturday morning we were out at the event bright and early. While setting up, Mike and I talked about how once the collection was over we would help the teams sort what was collected and educate them on what can be reused or recycled and what must be thrown away. This would be a great opportunity to educate this young group on being good environmental stewards.

Back From the Run

Back From the Run

Later that morning when the group, led by Mike, returned from their collection run they were all a bit sweaty but all were smiling ear to ear. They dropped the 9 completely full bags of trash at my feet and joyfully started telling me about their run. After several minutes they stopped, and I asked, “Okay, but who won?”

One of them quickly answered, “Who won? No one won. We all joined forces.”

This caught me by surprise, and I then noticed Mike smiling at me. On a day when we thought we would be teachers, we turned out to be the students. Without saying anything, our young volunteers reminded us that when it comes to saving our planet, we are all on the same team.