Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Why hello everybody! I hope all is going well in everyone's day/week.

I am in  the midst of putting the final touches on the next round of SWIM For A Cure. In doing so, I realized that I never officially announced the next beneficiary of SWIM For A Cure. I bolded, underlined, and italicized "officially" because, technically, I announced it by dropping not-so-subtle clues. Some of you may have seen some statuses on my Facebook page, or you may have seen the big-assed banner on my homepage promoting an upcoming event, (which I will detail later in this blog post).

Nonetheless, I would like to officially announce that this second round of SWIM For A Cure will feature not only 1 beneficiary, but 2. Both beneficiaries were formed as a result of Neuroblastoma.

What is Neuroblastoma?

Neuroblastoma is a cancer that develops from nerve cells found in several areas of the body. Neuroblastoma most commonly arises in and around the adrenal glands, which have similar origins to nerve cells and sit atop the kidneys. However, neuroblastoma can also develop in other areas of the abdomen and in the chest, neck and pelvis, where groups of nerve cells exist.
Neuroblastoma most commonly affects children age 5 or younger, though it may rarely occur in older children. (Source: Mayo Clinic).

The Children's Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation (CNCF) is dedicated to raising Neuroblastoma awareness and to raising money towards a cure for the disease. To date, the CNCF has funded over 1.5 million dollars in Neuroblastoma research.

I had the pleasure of joining the CNCF President, Pat Tallungan, and the rest of the CNCF staff earlier this month at their 7th Annual "Allie & Friends Golf Classic" in Lake in the Hills, IL. The event was spectacular, and it featured current Indianapolis Colts players, Ryan Diem, Jeff Saturday, Dallas Clark, Gary Brackett, and several others. A handful of ex-Chicago Bears and current Green Bay Packers players also donated their time to the event and cause.

After attending the event I was blown away by the passion and organization of every staff member. Needless to say, I went home thrilled to begin working with the CNCF.

*The CNCF will receive 20% of book proceeds through the SWIM For A Cure eStore along with 50% of online donations between 6.1.11 - 7.31.11.

The second and final beneficiary is CURE FOR KUBICA

Alec Kubica, a recent graduate of Lake Park High School, is the sole reason why I initially became interested in Neuroblastoma. I initially heard about Alec and his story from a close family friend last March. 

Last summer, Alec was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma. Within weeks of of his diagnosis, Alec began his first of six rounds of chemotherapy at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Since being diagnosed, Alec has undergone a multitude of procedures, including a tumor removal from his skull and a stem cell transplant.

Much like SWIM readers relate to my story in their own way, I relateed to Alec's current battle. Though the illnesses are completely different, I can fully appreciate the daily battles of being ill and the emotions involved with every procedure. I can also fully understand the financial toll an illness takes on a family. It is because of this understanding that I have included Cure For Kubica as a secondary beneficiary to this round of SWIM For A Cure.

*Alec's family will receive 20% of book proceeds through the SWIM For A Cure eStore and 50% of all online donations between 6.1.11 - 7.31.11. The money will go towards the cost of medical/parking/lodging expenses.

Now that you know the stories and you are updated on the upcoming cause, you should know about an upcoming event...

Egg Harbor Cafe in Wheaton, IL is opening their doors to SWIM For A Cure, and they will be donating 10% of your bill to the Children's Neuroblastoma Caner Foundation. The only catch is that you need to BRING IN THE FLYER when you come to the event and present the flyer to your waiter/waitress. The hours of the event are 6AM - 2PM.

I will also be at this event signing copies of SWIM. 20% of the book proceeds (on 6.11.11) will go to the CNCF and 10% of the book proceeds will go to Cure For Kubica. I, however, will only be signing copies from 9AM - 2PM. (You wouldn't want to see me at 6AM... trust me).

Check out the official page for the event and make sure you forward this blog post to all your friends.

I hope to see a lot of you at the event!

Take care and enjoy your night.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Someone You Should Know: Nick Murway - NickPhoto.net

Last month I had the pleasure of working with a great guy named Nick Murway. Nick is a recent Photography graduate of Columbia College Chicago.

I was in desperate need of some photos due to certain bloggers/e-zines requesting "never before used" photos. After browsing Columbia's online student portfolio, I narrowed my selection down to Nick.

Long story short, I am posting this blog for a handful of reasons:

1. I'm happy with the finished product.
2. I had a great experience at the shoot.
3. Nick's a really nice guy.
4. He's fresh out of college, and anyone fresh out of college needs help promoting themselves.
5. He's someone you should know.

If you happen to need a photographer this summer, check this guy out.

Nick Murway's Website: www.nickphoto.net/
See the photo I used on my website (bottom right): www.billcoonbooks.com

We couldn't resist taking a pic of the book with this sign...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What Are You Doing This Saturday?

Three weeks ago I attended a living kidney donation informational seminar in Chicago. The event was sponsored by the Living Kidney Donor Network (LKDN.org) and those in attendance were individuals who are in need of a kidney transplant, and individuals who were recently notified by there doctor that they should begin preparing for the possibility of a kidney transplant within the coming year. I was in attendance after being asked by LKDN's President to serve as mentor/veteran of transplant.

While I was at the event, I struck up a conversation with Jorge Mariscal. Jorge is a 21 year-old college student who was diagnosed with renal failure in 2005 during his junior year of high school. Since being diagnosed, Jorge has been undergoing dialysis treatments with the hopes of someday receiving a kidney transplant. However, there is a major roadblock standing in the way of Jorge's future––money.

Jorge's insurance only covers the cost of dialysis. Unfortunately, it does not cover the cost of transplant. 

Jorge is being managed at Loyola University Medical Center, who has set the price of a kidney transplant at $100,000. Thus far, the Mariscals have managed to save $15,000.

This Saturday, the Mariscals will be hosting a benefit for the Jorge A. Mariscal Kidney Transplant Fund.

The event will be held in Melrose Park, IL. Below I have posted an image of the informational flyer, which details the festivities and event times. Definitely check it out if you are in the area. 

I realize that a good portion of this blog's readers either live across the country or across an ocean, so for all of you, I guess I ask that you take away the simple thought of how disgustingly greedy our world/humanity has become that there is now, undoubtedly, a price tag on life.