Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. ~Howard Thurman
Over a year ago, I had the idea of running the NYC Marathon as a way to raise awareness and money for EB research. DEBRA already had a team and was looking or new runners. This seemed like a perfect opportunity, except there were two problems. The marathon was in 4 months, and I had not been running seriously for several years. I had dabbled in it now and again, but my training was never consistent or sustained. This is not a problem when it comes to gutting out a 5 or 10K, but a marathon is totally different. Despite my intentions, I had to table this dream.
A few months later, after some serendipitous events, I found out a group of runners was putting together a team to run for EB awareness and fundraising right here in Fort Worth. There are two families in this area with EB children, and they decided to use the Cowtown marathon as a platform to raise awareness. I was already following one of the families on Facebook, and when I saw the first announcement I jumped in with both feet.
In addition to being able to run for a good cause, I wanted to include Sam and Nate in something meaningful. Gina and I had talked for awhile about the importance of doing things for other people, and this was a perfect opportunity. Some friends of ours planted the seed, and we decided to follow along and have the boys ask for donations toward EB research for their birthday instead of presents. For one, we already have enough stuff to last a lifetime. We also want the boys to appreciate the things they do receive from others and not come to expect it.
So, we had a cause, and now we needed a plan. I put together a page on our family blog and posted it to Facebook. I also got my act together and started running more consistently (though nothing like the glory days). As the event got closer, I recruited my co-workers to run with us or make a contribution. I kept running and the donations kept coming in. The goal for our team was to raise $8,012.13 (Whitney Williams, the team organizer, derived this amount based on her son Colt's birthday), and the final tally was $9,600.00! Our family was able to contribute to this total through the generosity of our friends and colleagues.
The day of the big race finally arrived, and the experience was amazing. It was a lot of fun seeing the EB running shirts in the crowd and getting to know each of the families. Gina, Sam, Nate, GiGi (my mom) and PaPa (my dad) were all there cheering the runners on and taking pictures. In fact, most of the pictures below were taken by my mom. Some of the runners, like us, had an EB child in their family. Other people were friends. Some folks had heard about this disease through blogs or news stories and just wanted to be involved. This is the humbling thing about going beyond yourself on behalf of others: you meet incredible people along the way with whom you have a common bond. Some of the runners did the 5K, the 10K and the half marathon like me. I don't know if anyone ran the full marathon, but I'm sure that will happen before long. Everything from the weather to the new friendships was just perfect, and I can't wait to do it again next year.
I don't know what interests you or makes you come alive, but I encourage you to do it on behalf others who can't. Whether it's running or writing or something else, you will be amazed at the generosity of others. Some people are just looking for a cause to be involved in and don't know where to get started. Others already know how great it is to give to others and are eager for more opportunities. You never know who is willing to get involved until you give them the chance. So, find your passion and pursue it with purpose. You'll be amazed at what you discover along the way.