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15 March 2014

An appeal for Mike Riley, cancer victim

Who is Mike Riley?

This will be a blog post like no other I have ever written.  I make it a very deliberate point to not make this blog about marketing, sales, or any kind of commercial appeal.  That isn’t why you, oh Gentle Reader, are here.


This blog post is an appeal, but it is not related to commerce of any sort.  It is an appeal for a man who is a friend of all EPM geeks – Mike Riley.


Have you ever wondered how EPM came to ODTUG in the first place?  Or why ODTUG has been such a comfortable home for EPM?  It is largely due to one man – the very same Mike Riley, former ODTUG board member, past president, and current conference co-chairman who is the subject of this post.  Success has many fathers, and Mike was not alone in his support of all things EPM at Kscope, but he was the primary guiding light.


When I reflect on what ODTUG has done for my professional education, network, and career it is a little hard to credit given its impact.  I am firmly convinced that my Oracle ACE Director award (not to mention my continued employment) would have occurred in, oh, about 6,000,000 years (I may be underestimating) if ODTUG had not opened its collective arms and welcomed me and all of you into the community of professionals that make up ODTUG.  Professionally, we owe Mike a debt of gratitude.


ODTUG is too big for Mike to have met and touched every one of you (although I have seen Mike work a room – it certainly isn’t for lack of trying), but for those of us who have interacted with Mike in depth, we personally owe Mike a debt of gratitude.  This obligation stems from the fact that Mike believes in the best in all of us.  I have watched Mike take flyers on people that he barely knew, given them the room to succeed (or fail and that in particular takes a special kind of courage), and unwaveringly support them as they became fully fledged volunteers in ODTUG.  Not many people have that insight, maturity, or altruistic concern for others.


If Mike is reading this, I know like all good modest Midwesterners (my family hails from Michigan so I get it) he is a bit uncomfortable with praise, especially publically delivered.  Mike, I would not write the above if every word wasn’t exactly how I feel.  Try not to blush.  :)


This post is not intended to be a hagiography (the above is the unvarnished truth) but instead that appeal I wrote about.  What do I mean by appeal?  Mike Riley has stage III rectal cancer.  As horrific as that sounds, I should note that this is not an obituary.  He is under treatment; Mike has undergone radiation, surgery, and now chemotherapy.  Getting and beating cancer is not for the timid.  Despite the almost unimaginable difficulties he has undergone his spirit remains and he is tough.


His family – wife Lisa, daughter Morgan, and son Cameron (What an excellent choice in male names.  Ahem.) are all tough too.  They need to be.  Mike and his family are always in my thoughts and prayers.  Cancer is a cruel bitch of a disease.  And that’s where you can materially help.  

Enter OracleNerd

Chet Justice, fellow Oracle ACE Director, Kscope14 database content chairman, OracleNerd, and super nice guy has initiated several fund drives for Mike.  The first was an informal one to get Mike to see his home town St. Louis Cardinals play the Boston Red Sox for the 2013 World Series.  Chet then really got serious and set up a GoFundMe charity drive for Mike and his family.  Its goal is $10,000 and is almost there – a testament to Mike’s friends and the ODTUG community (I am not too sure that both sets of people aren’t one and the same).  


Please ignore that fact that the fund has almost reached its goal because the medical monetary needs of Mike and his family continue – insurance does not cover all expenses and they add up rapidly.  Remember how I wrote cancer is a cruel bitch?  First it destroys your body, then it destroys your savings.  Cruel is an understatement.

Please give generously

The ODTUG community, and Essbase hackers in particular, are generous, kind, and thoughtful people.  We are obligated to Mike for his pioneering work in giving so much to the EPM world.  He is also one hell of a nice guy and he needs our help.  Edward Roske has asked you to do this; I am asking again.


I wrote in the first paragraph of this post that this would be a blog post like no other I have ever written and in over 150 posts I have never written about a person or appealed for money.  I likely, God willing, never will again.  The exigencies of Mike’s medical situation demands that I do.  And they demand that you reach into your heart and help him.


Give generously, won’t you?

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