Let’s support my cousin John

I don’t want to play Bubble Raider, Criminal Case, Farmville or any other games my Facebook “friends” want me to join.

Seriously, Patricia Coleman, you can stop asking.

I don’t care if any of my friends just ate a big steak or took a nice walk with his or her spouse. I also don’t care if it’s your birthday, and I don’t want you to wish me a happy birthday.

I want no part in caring about how happy you pretend your life is on Facebook. It seems everyone on Facebook is living the dream and enjoying the good life.

I don’t care if you’re a republican or a democrat. I don’t care if you are a proud and slightly unstable member of the NRA or a card-carrying member of the American Civil Liberties Union.

I don’t want to read any inspirational quotes you didn’t come up with on your own. I don’t want to look at any funny pictures you found on the internet.

I do, however, enjoy one aspect about Facebook. It helps me connect, a little bit, with friends and family I otherwise would have lost touch with.

I find it especially cool to be able to follow the lives of some cousins I otherwise would only see once every 20 years or so. While I still don’t get to see these cousins as much as I would like, it is nice that Facebook gives me a glimpse into their lives.

One such relative I am particularly glad to catch up with is my cousin John Leeming.

John is training to ride his bicycle 3,271 miles in 10 days from Sacramento, Calif, down to Dana Point, Calif., and across Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida on Daytona Beach, Fla.

He’s riding as part of the Ride For Hope Coast to Coast, which is aimed at raising funds and awareness in America of the devastation of sub-Saharan Africa caused by HIV and AIDS.

Each day AIDS and HIV claim the lives of 3,600 people in sub-Saharan Africa, and less than 10 percent of the HIV-positive children in need of treatment are being treated.

My cousin John and the other riders are trying to do something about this heartbreaking devastation.

John’s goal is to raise $7,000, and he’s closing in on the halfway mark four weeks before ride begins. Overall, the ride is hoping to raise $250,000 to help save the lives of so many.

John has been training like a mad man, and I was hoping we could help out his cause.

Click here to donate to my cousin’s ride. Even if you’ve only got a couple of bucks to donate, every penny will help.

Click here to see a news story about John riding 100 miles on a stationary bike outside a coffee shop to raise awareness of his ride. That’s right, he pedaled in place for 100 miles. That right there should be worth a couple of bucks.

Thanks to the great strike of 1959 in the Mining City, I never got to know John very well. I could probably count on one hand how many times I actually can remember talking to him.

John’s father, Jack, is my grandma Jean’s little brother. Jack moved his family from Butte because of the ’59 strike and worked at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for years.

Even though he worked in Vegas, Jack was always very popular in his hometown. If you don’t know Jack personally, ask your parents, grandparents or aunts and uncles if they know the name Jack Leeming. There’s a pretty good chance they’ll share a story about Jack hooking them up with a show in Vegas.

Jack always took care of Butte folks, and now is a good time to return the favor in the name of one of his sons.

John now lives in Reno, Nev., and he has a family that I hardly know.

I wouldn’t have known John was taking on such a heroic challenge if it wasn’t for the website that annoys me on average of 37 times per day.

It would be impossible to tell you how proud I was to see that my cousin is taking on such a daunting task and for such a great cause. Even if you enjoy riding a bike, sitting on that tiny seat for that long cannot be very fun.

If an AIDS-free world isn’t enough for you to help out my cousin John, consider this: He’s one of my few Facebook friends who has never sent me a request to play Mafia Wars.

That right there ought to be good for at least 20 bucks.

— Sportswriter Bill Foley writes a column that appears on ButteSports.com on Tuesdays. Email him at foley@buttesports.com. Follow him at twitter.com/Foles74. 2 comments

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  • Yo Chi Boy
    May 21, 2013, 10:48 am

    Facebook comments….DEAD on. Nice job, Foles.

  • John Leeming
    May 21, 2013, 12:32 pm

    I can’t begin to tell you how much this means to me. I left Butte in 59, when I was three, the recollections and stores my Mom (Margret Leeming) and My Dad (Jack Leemng) would tell; Their pride from being from Butte, and memories of visits to see family give me an abiding affection for the town of my birth. Although it has been more that 20 year since I was last in Butte I still consider it my Home Town. Thank you Bill for writing this article and Thank you Butte for your support of my ride and for the nameless, helpless, children of Sub-Saharan Africa. http://WWW.rideforhopectc.org/riders/john-leeming


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