by Doug Powell

As many of you have heard, since 1984, I have had the dream of completing an Ironman-length triathlon. That means I will swim 2.4 miles, then jump on my tandem bicycle (the back) and pedal 112 miles, then change shoes and run 26.2 miles -- all in the same day. That's 140.6 total miles. I think you will agree the challenge of that day is quite daunting, but even more challenging is the years of day-by-day, week-to-week training that Ironman athletes commit themselves to in preparation for that day. I have done several Olympic-distance events in the past, but when I set my sights on "the big one" I realized that I'd have to quadruple my training. To have done that in one year would have been a recipe for injury, frustration, and disaster. So, I decided to make a two-year plan. I have completed one half-Ironman-length event this year, and have another one scheduled for October. After that one, I'll start gearing up again for the big one in the fall of 2010. You might say I am in it "for the long haul."

As you can see, I like challenges. So I'm going to throw out a challenge to all of you reading this. ACB needs the same kind of "long haul" commitment from you to prosper and grow. If ACB and its affiliates knew that a certain amount of money was coming every month, they could plan and offer many more services to us than they are currently able to offer. As the president of the Old Dominion Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired, I can tell you that, because of our share of the MMS contributions people have designated to our affiliate (you can designate up to half of your monthly contribution to an ACB affiliate of your choice), we are able to put in a phone system with an 800 number for our out-of-area members and non-computer users to stay in touch.

So here's the challenge: If you are inspired by my vision of completing an Ironman, or if you are inspired by the vision of ACB and its affiliates being able to offer new services to all of us, please help the MMS program grow. If you are not yet an MMS contributor, don't wait to be asked or harassed or cajoled. Go to or call 1-800-866-3242 and sign up today. If you are already an MMS contributor, please take a look at whether you can increase your contribution and/or help a friend join the program. (By the way, that friend does not have to be an ACB member. See if friends, family, and non-members would be willing to support you and us in this important work -- it's tax deductible.)

Let's make it a big game -- an Ironman game -- a 140.6 game! Let's play to reach $140,600 for total value of yearly contributions by Sept. 30, 2010! Right now, we're over $60,000. If I can do it, we can do it! I'll keep you informed on my training progress through an appropriate ACB communications medium. I'll also keep you informed on our progress in meeting our Ironman goal. Help me get to the finish line by helping ACB get to the next level of financial stability and service to its members. Let's be in it for the long haul together!

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