The Flywheel

Next Meeting: May 11th

The "A" Games

Dr. George Selleck, a former All-American basketball player at Stanford, has developed the “A-Games”, a transformational, youth-driven health and fitness program aimed at providing fun and beneficial exercise and physical activities for teens. The program is designed to improve health, behavior, and academic performance as well as leadership and life skills advancement. Dr. Selleck is a highly regarded counseling psychologist with over 40 years experience in youth sports, coaching, teaching, and child development.


Meeting of Friday, May 4th

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

On a beautiful, bright, sunny day, President EJ Shalaby called the first official meeting at the Richmond Country Club to order. David Keystone led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Herb Cole asked all to join with him in a moment of silence for peace and freedom on earth.

Visiting Rotarians

Pate Thomson visited from the Berkeley Rotary Club.

Sunshine Report

Henry Kelman duly noted that there was, in fact, quite a bit of sunshine today.


  • Josh Surowitz announced that the recent Happy Hour at La Strada Restaurant was a great success, and will let everyone know when the next one will be held.
  • Alan Baer is hosting Poker Night on May 18, and wife Santa will be serving her famous ribs. All are welcome and need not play poker to join in on the festivities. A $50 ‘buy in’ will go to the Scholarship Fund.
  • Josh Genser will be hosting a second Scotch Tasting for those who could not attend the first. Even if you have not bought in yet, there is still time. Contact Josh for details.
  • San Pablo Rotary is holding a Tequila Tasting at Restaurante La Revolucion on May 16. The cost is $100.
  • The Northern California Summit on Children & Youth 2012 will be held May 16 & 17 at the Richmond Civic Center Auditorium. Contact Joan Davis for details and registration.
  • Alan Baer asked for volunteers to work the Club’s booth at the Cinco de Mayo Festival this weekend.
  • Joan Davis will be presenting a Paul Harris Award to Dan Sanders’ wife, Sara, next week.
  • Joan Davis announced that Josh Genser’s daughter, Janet Genser, would be receiving the Prospect Sierra Alumni Action Award in recognition of her extensive and impressive volunteer work she did on behalf of the Richmond Community Foundation.

Happy and Sad Dollars

There were an abundance of happy dollars today:
David Brown
reported his sister is doing great after a bone marrow transplant, and was released from the hospital days earlier than expected. David is also excited to begin flight training tomorrow.
Herb Cole
toasted John Nicol’s attendance at the meeting, and is very happy to be meeting at the Richmond Country Club. Herb was also pleased to announce that he and his tablemates would donate jackets to Salesian High School.
Hank Covell enjoyed greeting all 56 members of a Rotary delegation from Shimada, Japan, sister city of Richmond.
John Wilson
was pleased to run into old friends who also sent their regards back to the Club.
Josh Genser
had a great, well-attended scotch tasting, most of which he remembers.
Alan Baer seconded the fact that most of the evening was remembered, but that all of it was surely entirely enjoyable.
Nick Despota
and his wife returned from an amazing, extended home-exchange vacation in Holland, and quickly determined that the Dutch are the sanest people on earth.
Punctuating the happy dollars was John Nichol, who reflected on the fact that this was the first meeting he’s been able to attend for a “very long time” and that he was “happy to see everyone and to be alive”.

Norm's Nonsense

Old guy to his audiologist: "A few days ago you sold me a hearing aid for my right ear and now my hearing is worse than ever. What's going on?"

Audiologist: "First of all, let's take a look at your ear." After a short examination the Audiologist said: "I've found your trouble, you have a suppository stuck in your ear."

Old guy: "Now I know what happened to my hearing aid."



A Fight to Live

Our guest speaker was Linda Nigma, author of the book “A Fight To Live”, which details her own inspiring fight for medical treatment after being diagnosed with end-stage renal failure.

Linda recounted how, prior to that shocking “end-stage” diagnosis, her physicians missed every indication that she had any problem with her kidneys, whatsoever. As if that diagnosis wasn’t bad enough, Linda was told she was not a candidate for a life-saving kidney transplant because of the large amount of weight she gained as a result of the advanced nature of the disease. Linda’s physicians told her there was little they could do for her and that she, very simply, would not live much longer.

Instead of giving up, for the next 3 ½ years Linda spent every waking hour exercising and meeting with hospitals and physicians in an attempt to find a physician willing to perform the kidney transplant surgery she so desperately needed. During that time, Linda endured uncomfortable, 3-hour dialysis sessions 3 times a week just to stay alive. Through diet, exercise and total determination, Linda lost 196 pounds. Even so, she was still rebuffed by physicians unwilling to consider a kidney transplant unless Linda first underwent gastric bypass surgery (even though she had shed nearly half her body weight already).

As before, though, Linda did not give up. Instead, she referred herself to Stanford Medical Center and discovered there both a hospital and a physician willing to undertake her case. Her tenacity and “can-do” attitude had paid off. Linda’s own sister-in-law was found to be a “perfect match” as a kidney donor and, on December 9, 2010, she received one of those kidneys in a successful transplant operation. Since that time, both Linda and her sister-in-law have recovered, and Linda continues to speak out about the need for personal medical advocates and the extreme determination often necessary to obtain life-saving medical treatment.

- Rotating Editor, David Keystone