Category Archives: Fundraising

Weekly update: we’ve raised over $25,000!

We’ve now raised $25,109 for the GBS/CIDP Foundation. It’s just over two months since we started our fundraiser — thank you for helping us get very close to half way to our goal of $52,000! And we’re making progress on running to raise awareness too — we’re now over a quarter of the way to our goal of 52 races in 2015!

Weekly stats: 48% of the way to the $52k goal, and 27% of the way to the running goal.

How’s the last week?

It’s been a great one, I’m glad you asked! My friend and former colleague Paul Todd donated $200, Lynn Merel donated $35, and Kiera Lynch donated $100. Very cool people! Your donations mean a ton to me, and just as much to the GBS/CIDP Foundation — thank you to all 88 of you for being amazing!

The Foundation also featured the story of our fundraiser in their newsletter. It’s very cool of them to be so supportive of our efforts, and I thank them for being there the whole way with me. They’re great people. I’ll scan the article and post it over on facebook at our page:

We ran two races this week, the Play Ball 5k at the colliseum in Oakland on Saturday, and the Presidio 10k in San Francisco on Sunday. They were both fun in their own way. You can read my race reports over here:

Next week, we’re planning to run the Brazen Racing Diablo Trails 5k up at Mt. Diablo. It’ll be fun to get back to some trail running, and special to be in the shadows of Mt. Diablo. I promise a few great photos!

Weekly update: we’ve raised $24,774!

We’ve now raised $24,774 for the GBS/CIDP Foundation. Next week, it’ll be two months since we started our fundraiser, and I’m blown away by how far we’ve come. Thank you for being so generous, and helping us get close to half way to our goal of $52,000 — we’ve still got a long way to go!

Weekly stats: 48% of the way to the $52k goal, and 23% of the way to the running goal.

What’s happened in the past week?

Since our last update, we had generous donations from Gretchen Dinapoli ($200), Cam Smith ($100), Bhanu Koppaka ($100), and Erin McGowan ($25). Yes, that’s not a typo — Gretchen has donated twice to the fundraiser! Wow. Thank you, Gretchen for being amazing, and thank you Cam, Bhanu, and Erin for your generosity!

We also had an anonymous contribution of $2,000 to the fundraiser, and I hope I’ll be able to reveal very soon the identity of the generous benefactor. It’s a very cool story.

Thank you to all of you — it’s pretty amazing that 85 companies and people have joined together to help the GBS/CIDP Foundation.

The photo above is from last week’s race, the Wildflower Run 5k in Morgan Hill, CA. You’ll notice I’m wearing a new, prototype FiftyTwoFives running shirt, likely similar in design to the one I’ll be producing for every one who’s opted in for a “perk” and donated over $100. Here’s my race report.

I took the couple of days off from running this past weekend, which my body thanked me for! That’s put me a little behind where I should be in getting to 52 races for the year, but I’m planning two races this weekend — I’ll look forward to sharing the race stories!


Weekly update: We’ve raised $22,149!

We’ve now raised $22,149 for the GBS/CIDP Foundation since we began fundraising on February 11. That’s amazing, and I owe you thanks again for your support.

Weekly stats: 43% of the way to the $52k goal, and 21% of the way to the running goal.

Help! Help! Help!

Fundraising has slowed to a crawl. We raised only $50 this week! You can help by sharing the fundraiser with your friends on social media, and encouraging that friend or family member who’s mentioned they’re planning to contribute. I’ll be doubling down on my efforts too!

What’s happened in the past week?

This week, we had a generous donation from Timo Volkmer ($50). Thanks Timo!

As you can see in the picture above, we went running as a family last weekend. We ran the Zimbabwe Run, a one mile fundraiser for orphans in Zimbabwe. My youngest daughter has run the race twice, and this year my eldest daughter Lucy and my wife Selina joined in the fun. Watch Lucy’s race, and read about the race here:

I’m looking forward to running two races this weekend! See you next week.

Weekly update: we’ve raised $22,099!

It’s been an amazing couple of weeks in fundraising for the GBS/CIDP Foundation. We’ve now raised $22,099 since February. That puts us 42% of the way to $52,000, and I’m 19% of the way to 52 races this year.

Please help!

It’s been a great first month, but personal donations have slowed. I need your help — if you can share the fundraiser with your friends on Facebook, you’ll be helping me even more. Just write a few words about why you donated and share this link:

Ready to race in Buenos Aires


What’s happened in the past week?

We had our second major corporate donation to the fundraiser. Thank you, Pivotal for the $5,200 contribution! (Plug for them below, keep reading.)

This week, we also had generous donations from Bev and Ross McNaughton ($100), Daniel Miranda ($50), and Megan Ford ($25).

Thank you to all of you who’ve contributed — it’s pretty amazing that 77 companies and people have joined together to help the GBS/CIDP Foundation.

The running has been great in the last week too. Last weekend, I ran in Buenos Aires, Argentina at the Carrera UNICEF 10k por la Educacion. The picture above is a selfie at the start line, and you can see nearly 20,000 people lined up behind me ready to race. It was an amazing experience, and I’ve posted a race update over here:

Who are Pivotal?

They’re an exciting new company that was formed by the EMC Federation, and they’re building the next generation of enterprise software for all companies. Their most prominent and exciting new product is Pivotal Cloud Foundry, a platform-as-a-service offering. I have plenty of great friends and colleagues at Pivotal (I worked there in 2014), and they’re certainly looking for great new folks to join their teams — ping me if you’d like an introduction! Ping me also if you’d like to learn more about them.


One month, $16,624 raised!

Thank you to those who’ve donated to the FiftyTwoFives fundraiser: you have joined a network of special people! For those who haven’t, I need your help: head on over here and contribute:

We have raised $16,624 in one month ($15,074 through IndieGoGo, $500 in direct donations to the Foundation, and the remainder in matching corporate donations). We are 32% of the way to $52,000, and I’m 17% of the way to 52 races in a year.

How else can I help? (I’m glad you asked!)

If you’re looking to help that little bit extra, please do two things: “like” our page on Facebook at, and “plug” our campaign as a status update to your friends on Facebook (cut and paste this URL:

What’s happened in the past week?

This week, we had our first major corporate donation to the fundraiser. A huge milestone! Thank you, Medallia for the $5,000 contribution! (Plug for them below, keep reading.)

This week, we also had generous donations from Justin Pascoe ($250), Hassan Sawaf ($100), Adrian Colyer ($1,000), Oana Constantin ($50), Aaron Safronoff ($100), Raj Arasu ($250), Ron Gura ($50), Shane Smailes ($250), John Pluhowski ($100), Han-Shen Yuan ($100), Aamer Hydrie ($100), Naren Chittar ($25), and Teresa Langshaw ($100).

They join (in reverse order of donation) Colleen Hawes, Aurora Gillett, Kara Dunford, Stephanie Kochar, Stefan Mee, Debankur Naskar, Guy Schory, Ranjan Sinha, Shalini Agrawal, Dayna Saunders Fullmer, Sanjay Ghatare, Nish Parikh, Gretchen DiNapoli, Janine Shaw, Melanie Plumb, Jim and Penny Walsh, Felicity Broadbent (Woolacott), Shanthi Acharya, Scott Prevost, Ramana Thumu, Jamil Valliani, Farah Ali, Valerie Nygaard, Jenni Johnson, Melissa Berger, Kiran Nagarur, Matt Madrigal, Gene Cook, Wilson Pang, Srini Gottipati, Bhupendra Jain, Venkat Sundaranatha, Brian Johnson, Eliot Gillum, Lilian Chee, Karen Weaver, Oliver Hurst-Hiller, Angela Lau, Mike Mathieson, Antoine El-Daher, VitalFit LLC, Praveen Jayaraman, Katy Chu, Rosie Williams, Jay Weiler, Prathibha Alam, Luis Guitan, Ross and Laura Comer, Dane and Jill Glasgow, and Nate Lyman.

Quite a network of special people! I will thank contributors here every week, starting now.

Who is Medallia?

They are the best company that many of you haven’t heard of, and taking the customer service world by storm. They enable companies to capture customer feedback, understand it in real-time, and take action to improve the customer experience. Their customers include everyone you know and love. If you’d like to learn more about them, ping me — I have excellent connections to the team, and they have open roles for software engineers, PMs, and data scientists.

See you next time!


We’ve raised $7,499!

We’ve actually raised $1,300 more than the total that’s shown on our IndieGoGo Fundraising page. How?

Two amazing people, Jim and Penny Walsh, donated $500 directly to the GBS/CIDP Foundation on my behalf. THANK YOU! They then put in for a matching donation from Salesforce, contributing another $500 to the fundraiser. Thank you, Salesforce!

eBay has an amazing donation matching program too! Angela Lau, Janine Shaw, and Bhupendra Jain put in for the matching donations, contributing another $300 in addition to their already generous contributions. Thank you to them, and thank you, eBay!

So, as of today, we’ve raised $7,499 for the GBS/CIDP Foundation!

Thank you to all 54 of you who’ve donated! To everyone else, please donate — even a dollar makes a difference!

Race 5: Bay Breeze 5k

I’m 9.6% of the way through 52 races in 2015. Only 5.3% of the way through the fundraising for the work of the GBS/CIDP Foundation — but that’s only the first week! I know it’s hard to find time and that you want to donate — so please help me out. And give me a Like over at

Running the Bay Breeze 5k. A gorgeous day for a race in San Leandro, right on the San Fran Bay.
Running the Bay Breeze 5k. A gorgeous day for a race in San Leandro, right on the San Fran Bay.

I ran race 1 in 21 minutes, 32 seconds. Race 2 in 21:21. Race 3 in 21:06. For a 5’9″ guy who’s 45 and who has legs like tree trunks, I’m moving. Kind of like the NASCAR truck series.

Race 5 was the Brazen Bay Breeze, a flat and fast course. Beautiful day by the Bay. Not a cloud. Not a breeze (false advertising I guess).  Great crowd — hundreds of runners in the 5k. I was ready, so was Selina. It was Valentines Day, and every couple at least starts Valentines Day happy. You get the setup — this is going to a fast time, right? (By the way, the girl who sells us flowers at the Farmer’s Market works in the service industry — she says over her years working in restaurants, she sees more couples arguing over dinner on Valentines Day than any other day of the year.)

Oh sorry. Anyway, I ran 31 minutes, 37 seconds. About 10 minutes slower than the first four races of the year. I wasn’t actually supposed to be running — the doctor said no strenuous exercise for a week. I had surgery on Monday — so it was more of a shuffle than a run. I recommend it — running slow, not surgery — it’s nice to smell the roses, look around at the beautiful Bay Area, chat while you run, and have no pressure to get faster.  Don’t tell my doctor. I’ll be faster next week.

Crossing the finish line in a blistering time of 31 minutes and change.
Crossing the finish line in a blistering time of 31 minutes and change.

The race was one of the Brazen Racing series. These guys put on a great show — packet pickup is fast, the races start on time, the courses are marked carefully, they take *free* photos, they have the best medals in the business, and the food afterwards is amazing. Most of their races are hard, in state parks on trails, and with climbs that burn your legs. This race wasn’t like that, it’s probably their flattest and fastest, and their most urban and accessible to everyone. Throw in Valentines Day, and you get a crowd of thousands running the 5k, 10k, and Half Marathon.

Starting the 5k at the Brazen Bay Breeze
Starting the 5k at the Brazen Bay Breeze

Oh, what was the surgery? if you donate $100 and ask me, I’ll tell you 🙂

Several amazing people donated to my campaign this week. Thank you to (in order of donation): Nate Lyman, Luis Gaitan (best limo service in the Bay Area),  Prathibha Alam, Jay Weiler, Katy Chu, Antoine El Daher, Mike Mathieson, Angela Lau, Oliver Hurst-Hiller, Brian Johnson, Wilson Pang, Gene Cook, and Matt Madrigal. You guys are amazing.

Please donate — help people who are debilitated by GBS and its related conditions. It’s a great cause. See you next time.

I’m Running Fifty-Two Races to Fight Guillain-Barré syndrome

I suffered from Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS) in 2009.

GBS affects 1 in 100,000 people. It begins with weakness or tingling sensations in the legs, and can spread to the arms and upper body. These symptoms can increase until muscles cannot be used at all and the person is almost totally paralyzed. It can be life threatening.

My experience with GBS was tough. In a few days, I went from athletic to struggling to walk to the letterbox. It took too long to get diagnosed and I didn’t know where to get help — it was mentally very tough. I couldn’t look after my family, and I wasn’t able to work. It took me over a year to get back to even close to normal, and more than two years to run again. You can learn more about my story here.

Late 2009 -- a few months after I got GBS. Out of shape, but on the road to recovery.
Late 2009 — a few months after I got GBS. Out of shape, but on the road to recovery.

Now I’m doing what GBS stopped me doing for a while: running! I’m going to run 52 races in 2015 to raise money for the awesome work of the GBS/CIDP Foundation. This website is called “Fifty-Two Fives” because my GBS-defiant, fundraising plan was hatched in 2012 with the goal of running fifty-two 5k races in one year. As the idea developed, I decided that I’d count any race that had a timer — it could be a one-mile time trial, a 5k, a 10k, a half-marathon, or even a marathon. I suspect there’ll be more 5ks than otherwise — but let’s see what the journey brings!

Please support me by donating at IndieGoGo. And stick around here and follow my running journey — I’ll be writing about it every week, and I promise it’ll be fun.