I’ve failed at many things in my life. I’m terrible at math, my diets often end before the day is over, my budgets end even quicker, and I only got 7/20 on my juggling test in high school. I try not to let failure get to me too much; everything is a learning experience, and failure often contributes to the biggest lessons out there.
Still. Failure -especially public failure- can sting. A lot. And be super embarrassing and make you feel like a piece of crap. Failure sucks.
For the last few years I’ve signed up to do the Ride to Conquer Cancer, a 2-day, 220km ride from Toronto to Niagara Falls. It’s hard, but it’s a lot of fun, and each year the ride raises millions of dollars to help cancer research. It’s an awesome, awesome, wonderful event.
The big catch is that you have to raise $2500 to ride in it. It’s a lot of money, but it’s doable. For two years I was able to raise the money fairly easily through friends, fundraisers and colleagues, and it really is amazing how generous people can be when it’s for a good cause (and when they’re impressed by the physical demand it’ll take!) Two years I shone, and even recruited a pack of people to ride for me. I was excited about riding again this year.
I guess the world had other things in mind?
It’s hella-hard to fundraise when you’re overseas for a good 70% of your fundraising time. It’s also hella-hard to fundraise when you don’t have colleagues who say things like “I keep meaning to donate – chase me and bug me until I do it, okay?” (and a company that matches donations made dollar for dollar). And hey, you can easily get caught-up in life sometimes, and before you know it, your “I’ll plan that big fundraiser next week” idea falls off the table and time runs out.
I didn’t raise the money this year. I was about $1950 short of the $2500 minimum. I failed. Hard.
I could have done more. I could have sent more emails while I was overseas, I could have sent more emails when I was back home, I could have chased people who I know donated in the past, I could have posted more on Facebook, I could have planned a massive fundraiser night and not let the stress of “no job/new job/busy job” get to me, I could have held a garage sale…I could have done more.
People donated to me thinking I was going to do this, and I let them down. And it’s embarrassing and infuriating and likely something I’ll remember and feel shame about for a really long time.
I’m sorry, guys. I failed.
Now, this said, I still helped send $553 to cancer research, and I know that every dollar counts towards helping fight this terrible disease…so that’s great! So many people donated to me and I’m happy and honoured they did. Legit, I feel like a big failballs to them and to the RtCC organization itself.
I feel like I need to do *something* in order to honour these fantastic donations (and volunteering with the Ride was out since you *still* have to raise $2500), SO I’m going to ride 100km in my own little cancer-conquering tribute. I know it’s not as epic or as long or as impressive…but it’s still a decent ride, and it’s the only thing that popped to mind when I was crying and thought to myself “How can I make it up to them?” If you have an even better idea, I’m all ears! And if you donated to me and want to punch me in the stomach for not being able to fundraise as much as I needed to, I’m cool with it. We’ll meet up.
Failure is a shitty thing, and it’s all that much shittier when it’s attached to “YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO DO THIS AND HELP CURE CANCER YOU ASSHOLE” things. I’m sorry. I’m embarrassed. I feel horrible. I’ll make it up to you.