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Join Alan's Army Today!!

Make a donation to help out disc golfer Alan "Bigs" Sweeton.
On May 6, 2008, Alan Sweeton was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. On May 12, 2008, Alan underwent successful surgery to remove the tumor. Alan is now home and recovering, but faces months of radiation and chemotherapy in order to completely eradicate the tumor and prevent recurrence.

The lone side effect thus far of the procedures is that Alan has a swollen optic nerve that has left him nearly blind, so he is unable to return to work. Fortunately, he has been accepted into some financial aid programs that will help offset what his health insurance won't cover, but every little bit helps. Please donate what you can to help our fellow brother in disc.

Minimum donation is $5. Use the option menu below to add up to $45 to that amount for a clean $50. If you'd like to donate more, simply add more than one of this "product" to your shopping basket until you reach the desired amount.

For all donations of $20 or more, the donor will receive a free "Alan's Army" wristband. The army-fatigue colored band features the text "Alan's Army" and "Armed & Awesome!" Join the army today and show your support.




Discussion Forum

Pasta Dinner to Benefit Alan Sweeton 5 Replies

Started by Dave Townsend. Last reply by Kre Aug 11, 2008.

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Comment by Groundskeeper Willie on March 14, 2009 at 7:35pm
Bigs -

We love you and will continue to pray for your sight to improve.

Best, Hobie
Comment by Park It on January 7, 2009 at 6:27pm
Best wishes! See you around tyler.
Matt, Jessie, & Molly
Comment by Jessie Rockz on January 7, 2009 at 6:20pm
Whats up everyone! Great to see a page dedicated to the army. Hope all is well!
Comment by Pat Burke on October 24, 2008 at 10:41am
our thoughts and prayer's are with you! showing some love from the Dirty Glove!
Comment by Kre on August 23, 2008 at 5:05pm
Just Got some coffee from Frizz Bee Cafe to day yo add to the goodies
some Hyzer Blend and Roc It Fuel plus a Roc with a card stamp King of Twisted Flyer

Thanks Kevin McCoy And Courtney Peavy for there donation
Comment by Kre on August 19, 2008 at 10:29am
Leaving now for Philly to visit the bigwig oncologist, but this has been typed up for nearly a week and needed photos added, sorry about the delay.

This morning was radiation treatment #31 of 33 so we are getting close!

——————————————————————————-

So, after the fantastic benefit dinner on Thursday evening, what could be next?

Well, since I’m sitting in a Radiation Oncology waiting room, I’ll tell you!

On Friday afternoon we were invited to Montgomery Park where the Recreation Department was holding the final day of Rec’n'crew Summer Camp. All three camps (Grades 1/2; Grades 3/4; and Grades 5/6), which are usually at three different sites, come together on this final day for a big party with an ice cream truck, races, games, etc. It seems that the Rec Dept had heard about Alan and decided to run fundraisers for him as a competition in each camp. The kids did a variety of fundraisers from collecting change, to a Bike-a-thon and Dance-a-thon. Alan’s cousin Morgan was in the 5/6 grade group and kept us informed on the progress over a few weeks time.

When we got to the park we met with Lindsay Fischer who coordinated the fundraiser effort. She got the word out that Alan was there and the kids swarmed around to meet him and ask questions. The kids presented Alan with giant checks representing what each group had raised as well as some giant get well cards they had made. Some of the kids were a bit intimidated by Alan’s size so we found a bench in the shade where he could sit down and get closer to their level and the kids had a chance to talk to him. He met one cute little girl who had raised $250 herself and a pair of twin boys who had raised $400. In all, the kids raised over $4,100 for Alan - unbelievable. Many thanks to all the camp staff and the children for their amazing efforts! I took some pictures and have attached them.

Wow!

So now, two quick stories about how people felt led to help Alan:

A old friend came up to me at the benefit dinner on Thursday night. He and I had served as Assistant Scout Masters together for many years and our sons remain very good friends, keeping in touch to this day. This is one of those guys you simply look forward to spending time with, a real salt-of-the-earth kind of guy. He handed me an envelope for Alan and upon opening that envelope later that night, I found a note that said that as God had blessed him in his business, he and his wife felt led to share their blessings with someone who needed help. Accompanying the note was a check for $5,000. So, do parents such as this pass those virtues of thankfulness and generosity along to their progeny? You bet they do - we later opened a card that their son had placed in the collection box at the dinner and he gave Alan an additional $500! What a wonderful blessing, thanks!

Fast-Forward to Friday evening when Ginny and I were preparing a deposit slip to put the Rec Dept. money into Alan’s medical account. Alan reached into his pocket and pulled out three quarters and said, “Include this in the deposit please.” We said, “OK, where did 75 cents come from?” Alan said, “Today when I was sitting on the bench at the park, one of the kids came up to me and said he wanted me to have his ice cream money.” OK, are you crying? I am. How wonderful - that kid is going places.

When I was contemplating an order on-line for wristbands as a fundraiser for Alan, “Alan’s Army” was a no-brainer, but I wasn’t sure what to put on the back-side. I typed in “Armed and Awesome!” but wasn’t sure I liked it and planned to re-visit it. Well, I got busy on something else and eventually submitted the order as it was. I later realized that I hadn’t sat down to re-think the words and was a little disappointed in myself for not doing so. But as it turns out, I couldn’t have possibly put something better. Alan’s Army is indeed armed – armed with prayer, armed with positive energy, armed with generosity, armed with compassion, armed with love. And being armed with all these things, the Army is most definitively AWESOME!
Thanks to you all and God Bless,

Andrew

www.alansarmy.org
Comment by Kre on August 11, 2008 at 5:07pm
Although Alan still feels pretty good and continues to have no problems with nausea, he is feeling more tired and we’ve noticed that his appetite is dropping off a little bit too.



For weeks now we have been humbled by the efforts that people have been making to raise money to help Alan. Everyday a note arrives from a family member, friend, disc-golfer, past co-worker, current co-worker, etc. all in support of Alan. Some notes simply say “You don’t know me, but I’d like to help . . .” Simply astounding. Many friends have been selling 10, 20, 30 wristbands and then coming back for more.



A great crew of people got together and put on a benefit dinner and silent auction for Alan on Thursday night. It was really a wonderful evening filled with love and compassion that poured out into everything that went on. It was amazing to see so many friends from so many different paths of our lives. Not only current family and friends, co-workers, church family, disc golf family, etc., but old friends from previous churches, previous workplaces, Boy Scouts, the Montgomery Township School system - Alan’s classmates (2001) AND Ginny and my classmates (1978 for me, Ginny would prefer I didn’t say what year for her so I won’t - but it was the year before me) and teachers both that worked with Ginny’s mom, Bernice and those that taught us. Alan’s Kindergarten teacher was there, Ginny’s First Grade teacher was there. At one point I looked up and noticed that most of the weight team from the Montgomery High School track team was sitting at a table - from Alan’s era mind you – although we were both Captains of the team – in my era I almost WAS the weight team. (And yes Jim – we most definitely will have a weight team reunion and once again instill fear into the hearts of the folks running the China Buffet.) Township dignitaries were there – the Mayor and Deputy Mayor (also Ginny’s boss,) who donated a home-cooked meal for eight to the auction, and many of the township’s farming and political movers and shakers from across the years (Ginny’s father Maitland was mayor back in the 70’s too.)



It was a magical night of renewing friendships and reminiscing about what Alan calls “back in the day” -- I just wish Alan could have seen it all. He said it sure SOUNDED like a huge crowd. I’ve attached some photos from the dinner and auction items.



We can’t possibly individually thank everyone who made the evening possible and contributed to raise nearly $20,000 for Alan’s expenses, but I do need to mention some key people. Gina Albright had the idea originally and brought it to Shelley Mathisen at Montgomery Evangelical Free Church and these two Brigadier Generals in Alan’s Army then ran with it.



Shelley worked tirelessly on the dinner arrangements from permission from the church to volunteers to food donations to entertainment. Shelley’s Colonels were Cliff and Debbie Banks who did their usual fantastic job of producing a great meal and they and a brigade of helpers (Thank you all!) served nearly 400 people spaghetti, meatballs, sauce, salad, bread, beverages and dessert. Many, many thanks to everyone who donated the foodstuffs and to those who came out and ate them. We were all entertained by the Pizza Guys who were hysterical, The Adoration ladies who sang beautifully (that’s my wife the lovely Mrs. Sweeton up there with them), and the amazing Debbie Arnesen, accompanied by Mark Hahn on the piano, who makes a violin simply soar into your heart, she plays so beautifully. Thank you all.



Gina slaved over the Silent Auction arranging for an astounding array of items to be auctioned off. Gina’s Colonels were her boyfriend Josh and her cousin Mike who helped her sort, label, and auction off over 70 items that were donated – many thanks - what a wonderful job you did! The items ranged from vacations in Maine and the Jersey Shore, to airplane, glider, and stockcar rides, to theatre tickets and home theater systems, to handmade toy chests, wood bowls, baskets, quilts, pillows and decorations; to baskets and boxes full of all kinds of goodies, to gift cards for spas, gasoline, food, movies, local stores, etc. Many, many thanks to everyone who contributed all of these wonderful items and to those who bid on them.



I need to mention a special detachment of Alan’s Army – The Bake Sale Brigade. This special unit was headed up by friend and co-worker Nancy Raymond and her two daughters Emily and Sami (my god-daughter) Homan. They and a cadre of family and friends baked a huge number of goodies and then ran a bake sale during the evening. Many dinner attendees filled their stomachs with a great dinner at the church and then bought wonderful bake sale yummies to take home (not all of them actually got home.) The girls also sold Alan’s Army wristbands alongside the baked goods and in total raised an astonishing $800+ with their efforts. Many thanks!



And while we are on the subject of special detachments, I need to mention my best friend since fourth grade, and Alan’s god-father - Dan Homan. Not only is Dan the Chaplain of Alan’s Army with his constant spiritual support, he is the sexton at MEFC as well, and I fully suspect that besides a bunch of setup duties, he had his hands full of cleanup, garbage, and tables to be cleaned and stowed after the dinner. As always Dan - thanks for being there for us and Alan.



Many, many thanks to all and God Bless,



Andrew
_________________
Comment by Kre on August 2, 2008 at 11:15pm
Wow, it has been a while, sorry folks. Where the heck did July go?



After 20 Radiation treatments and 26 chemo treatments Alan is pretty much doing the same except he is now losing hair at the radiation fields and his skin is drying out there as well. On Monday the radiation nurse gave him some special goo to put on over the Aveeno lotion that is supposed to lock it in while he sleeps. His appetite has lessened some, but is still normal. Last night we went to the local China Buffet for dinner after picking up Alan's new glasses and he mentioned that some of his favorites tasted a little "off". This is another, hopefully temporary, side-effect of the radiation that they had mentioned could happen.



This past Friday Alan saw the neuro-opthamologist at JFK and he said that although the left eye is still non light-sensing he thought the right eye was "subjectively" better. I guess that means not enough improvement to measure at the level its at. Either way, we still hope and pray for significant improvement. On Monday we had appointments with a low-vision doctor and low-vision therapist. Yesterday we picked up a pair of glasses that will not only protect Alan's eyes from things like tree branches he doesn't see, but will hopefully allow him to focus better with the sight he does have in his right eye. On Tuesday an occupational therapist from the Commission for the Blind visited the house and worked with Alan on things like using the microwave and washing machine, folding currency a certain way to distinguish the denominations, etc. We are waiting on an appointment from the mobility therapist.



After the appt on Friday Ginny, Alan, and Amber drove up to Leicester, Mass. (I drove up on Thursday with Joe and Glenn) for the Professional Disc Golf Association National Tour Vibram Open at Maple Hill. Alan and I sponsored Hole 18 and had been planning on working this event for nearly a year. It turns out that our old friends Jim and Debbie Bellina who used to live down the street and we went through Webelos and Boy Scouts together with now live only a few miles from Maple Hill in Worcester, Mass. (Pronounced Wooster)



Ginny, Alan and Amber had a great time spending time with Jim and Debbie on Saturday and then Jim and Debbie also visited Maple Hill to see some top-notch Disc Golf.



Bob and Kyle Enman drove down from Maine to visit and work the event with us. They stayed with Mike Connell about 30 minutes away and Mike came over on Sunday to visit too. Bob and I spotted Hole 18 all weekend. On Friday afternoon one of the tourney staff, Barry, spent some time giving Alan the play-by-play of the action on the green - thanks Barry, Alan appreciated it! We missed Barry on Sunday because he was volunteering for cycling event in Worcester. (BTW - For some very interesting reading about the first internationally recognized black athlete, google "Major Thompson" - thanks for cluing us in Barry!)



Alan may not have been able to spot Hole 18 due to his eyesight, but he was able to contribute on Saturday by answering the phone from the "live scorers" out on the course and relaying them to Lisa who typed them into the web interface. This allowed disc golfers from all over the world to keep track of the action in near "real time."



It turned into a family affair when on Sunday Amber took over the live scoring and single-handedly entered the scores for seven lead-groups across three divisions - way to go Amber!



Alan was able to visit with disc golf friends from across the country and accept donations of signed discs from some of the top pros to be used as fundraisers for Alan's Army.



Ginny kept us all happy making sure we had food, etc.



Besides seeing some great disc golf and spending the weekend working with Bob, one of my personal highlights was meeting Kevin Donahue, the CEO and Chairman of Quabaug Corp. which is better known around the globe for it's Vibram brand of outdoor soles. Vibram has been a staple of my out-of-door activities for many decades. If you don't own a good pair of boots with that yellow logo on the bottom, you don't own a good pair of boots. It is very exciting that an outdoor company like Vibram sponsored a National Tour event - what a leap ahead for our sport! Thanks Kevin! Any disc golfers reading this should keep an eye out for a Vibram sole specially designed for disc golfers. And don't forget the new limited edition Vibram Putter and Mini - get them both at primediscs.com before they are all gone!



Our host, the tournament director and dear friend, Steve Dodge and his extended family (including everyone's favorite - grandma!) and all the staff quite simply run the greatest tournament around if you want great disc golf plus the true feeling of a giant happy family reunion.



Ginny and Amber had originally planned to leave early on Sunday to get on the road home, but Amber was having so much fun doing live scoring and Ginny was enjoying the atmosphere so much that they ended up staying all the way through the awards ceremony. Before leaving, and again the next day, Ginny actually said "We are going to have to plan to do this every year" Wow! If that's not a testament, I don't know what is!



Many, many thanks to Joe, Glenn, Jim, Debbie, Bob, Kyle, McThumber, Misty, Karen, Tom, Grandma!, Lisa, Jason, Barry, Scooter, Cuz, BOB, Scot, Jim, Dean, Mitch, Tank, Lesli, Steve, Maureen, Scott, Avery, Val, Jay, Des, Burl, Dave (aka Phil), Charlie, Nick, Nate, Kelly, Kevin (Mr. Vibram!), Markus, Matt, Craig, Naved, Dr, Doug, Bard, Sjur, Marielle, Scott, Charlie, Daniel, Davis, Brian the Comics Man, and everyone else I didn’t list, and last but most certainly not least, dear friend and TD extraordinaire, Steve Dodge – you all gave us a weekend to remember! The Sweetons may have missed their Maine and Jersey Shore vacations this summer, but our long weekend in Central Massachusetts with our loving Disc Golf Family was just the respite we needed.



God Bless,



Andrew





BTW – Don’t forget the Alan’s Army Benefit Dinner and Silent Auction being held on August 7th from 4-9PM at the Montgomery Evangelical Free Church in Belle Mead NJ. See alansarmy.org for details



ALSO – On Labor Day Sept 1st – the Alan’s Army Disc Golf Tournament, Dinner, and Silent Auction to be held at Pleasant Hill Disc Golf Course in Scarborough, Maine. See mainediscgolf.com for details









Andrew F. Sweeton
_________________
Comment by Kre on July 22, 2008 at 9:26am
I feel a little strange typing up an update about money, but Alan needs it and he can’t type right now, so, so be it.



We do very much appreciate all the support we have received so far from the Army, and if you can help Alan financially too, that is great, but if you can’t, please note that we continue to ask for prayers for Alan above all else and appreciate them greatly.



Many thanks to our workmate Larry Squitieri for donating the hosting, his talent, and his spare time to put together a website for Alan’s Army! Larry’s done a fantastic job so for all the Alan’s Army updates in one central place go to:



http://www.alansarmy.org/









Alan’s Army Wristbands – wear them with pride!







Alan’s Army wristbands are being given away with any donation of $20 or more to help Alan with his medical expenses.



You may get them personally from a member of Alan’s Army at:



Dragan Disc Golf Course, Auburn, ME – Pro Shop (Bob Enman or staff)



Enman Field Disc Golf Courses, Brunswick, ME – Pro Shop (Bob Enman or staff)



GfK Custom Research, Princeton, NJ – Deenu Shaik, Joe Venanzi



Montgomery Evangelical Free Church, Belle Mead, NJ – Shelley Mathisen



Rutgers Disc Golf Course, New Brunswick, NJ – BOB Graham



Pleasant Hill Disc Golf Course, Scarborough, ME – Pro Shop (Bob Enman or staff)



Sedgley Woods Disc Golf Course, Philadelphia, PA – Becky Sonnheim



Tyler Disc Golf Course, Newtown, PA – John Birkrem, John McGinley



Or you may get them on-line from our friends at the MaineDiscGolf.com Pro Shop at: http://www.mainediscgolf.com/store/index.php?act=viewProd&productId=119



Thanks for your support!





Benefit Dinner and Silent Auction – August 7, 2008



A Benefit Dinner and Silent Auction will be held at the Montgomery Evangelical Free Church on Thursday, August 7th -- see the attached flyer.



To volunteer to help at the dinner or donate a food item for the dinner, please call Shelley Mathisen at 908-874-4634 or email mefc@mefc.org



Here is a note from Gina concerning the Silent Auction:



Dear All You Amazing Members of Alan's Army,



Hi, my name is Gina Albright, and I am one of Alan's friends who are coordinating the pasta benefit dinner to be held on Thursday Aug. 7, 2008 at Montgomery Evangelical Free Church. In addition to the dinner, I thought it would be great to raise some extra funds by having a silent auction! However, I need YOUR help! I am recruiting any volunteers to make baskets for the auction....They can be whatever you think of (gas card, coffee basket, movie basket, summer sun, picnic supplies, wine basket, lottery scratch offs, body lotions/bath supplies, and the list goes on!) If interested, please email or call me so I can begin to organize this part of the event!!

email: ginabeana1216@aol.com

cell: 570-561-5121



Looking forward to hearing from you soon!!



Thank you for your time and consideration, Gina





To purchase tickets in advance see Shelley Mathisen at the Montgomery Evangelical Free Church, Belle Mead, NJ or you may get them on-line from our friends at the MaineDiscGolf.com Pro Shop at: http://www.mainediscgolf.com/store/index.php?act=viewProd&productId=123



Thanks to everyone for your support!



God Bless,



Andrew
Comment by Dave Townsend on July 20, 2008 at 10:44pm
I may have missed some of the smaller updates, but the brunt of them are now posted.

You will have to work your way up from the bottom (sorry for the inconvenience,) but they are all here for you to read
 

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