Category : General
Category : General
When I crossed the finish line of my first ever 5K in Michael’s honor, I fought back a lot of tears. He had pushed me to victory. No, I didn’t win the race nor did I even come close to first place, but he had gotten inside my heart and gave me the courage to finish! This was such an amazing feeling for me and very much indescribable. It was something I couldn’t wrap my mind around – only the heart can understand something this dynamic. God had planted a bug in my head to get others involved so they, too, could feel exactly what I was feeling. I wanted to share the experience – but how would others receive it or even feel about it?
A good friend of mine, Yvonne Jones, asked if she could be paired up with someone and so Vice President Amy Courts paired her with Brooke, a wonderful young lady with autism (pictured below).
Even though Yvonne is still in the grips of tragedy, as she explains, her loving heart is always giving. “I love the fact that I can run for someone else. I, too, have a very awesome son, Nick, who had a swimmer paired up with him. Nick passed away 2 months ago. After he passed, I thought “what do I do with my life now that he is gone?”
Then one day, God spoke to me. I NEED to run! And within a few weeks, Tim [and Amy] got me hooked up with Brooke and her mom. I haven’t been the same since. I Run For Brooke…but I also RUN in memory of Nick.”
Leanna Jackson, whose child is paired, says “I have spent five years not being taken seriously. My son looks, acts, seems completely normal. Sometimes things feel completely normal, which made me feel guilty, like we didn’t have it bad enough to deserve to have someone run for him. It’s been almost four years since he was in the hospital. He improved so much last year that his surgery was cancelled. [So] then I stopped and thought about it, I looked past my own truckload of guilt and remembered how this affects our lives on a daily basis [and] how he will be different from everyone for as long as he lives. I don’t even know all the ways this will limit him [or] how the prayer we’ve received thus far has made all the difference; how to know that someone was thinking, for however many miles, of him… how even if I feel like I deserve nothing, he deserves all that, and more. All the hope and prayer we’re fortunate enough to receive because [as] calm as things may seem sometimes, he is lucky, blessed, to be alive and when I accepted all that, I felt humbled, a lot less guilty, enormously grateful, and deeply honored.”
And the honor is felt everywhere as, Julie Rager (our official cheerleader!) explains “When I first saw this site, I had a feeling deep down within me that this “family” was going to grow. I am so excited to see the progress of our entire family of 300 wonderful and very special people. This is a group that includes everyone in one way or another, that’s why I call it a “Family.” This group is inspiring with what they do or what they post. I find inspiration and I have a feeling of hope – a hope that anyone, whether you’re a child or an adult, with a developmental or intellectual disability can be respected and well taken care of. Whether you are parents or siblings who have stepped up in taking care of your family, whether you are a support staff who just checks in once in awhile, or you have staff members there at all times in a 24-hour period, this site gives me hope that they will be treated with respect and dignity and to also have the same rights as everyone else and to be free from abuse and neglect. This site demonstrates that all human lives are to be respected. This site fills me up with love and I love to not just see the workout posts, but pictures of all of you athletes showing your love and support by honoring someone else. I love the posts that I see of family members or friends or staff where they offer positive support. I am telling you that I feel surrounded by love everytime I make a post. I was honored to be a part of this family by being nominated as your cheerleader. I am disabled, but I worked with adults that have developmental and intellectual disabilities for over 12 years. I miss seeing “my guys,” as I always called them. The reason I felt so honored is because for the last couple of years I struggled with coming to terms with “slowing down.” It was hard. I have always wanted to make a difference and when I saw this site, I knew that I wanted to somehow encourage all of the athletes. When I was mentioned to be nominated for being a cheerleader, I couldn’t move fast enough to tell my husband. He said to me, “I haven’t seen you smile like that in a long time.” I was so happy that I was included. I take my ‘job’ very seriously.”
It’s not hard to see or hear why it is I do what I do, but I have to ask, who do YOU run for?
rip′ple effect` n. a spreading effect or series of consequences caused by a single action or event. [1965–70] Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
I had never really given much consideration to the ripple effect. While I have certainly made mistakes in my life, I have witnessed the first hand and sometimes the second hand results of my actions but I never really thought much beyond that point. Until now, that is.
I have always believed I could make a difference in this world. I was a police officer in Montgomery, Alabama. I thought for sure I was going to rid the world of the evil that lurks and preys on innocent people. Sure I made many arrests, some with fellow runner Paul Norcross, but there seemed to be ten bad guys to replace the one we took to jail. Then I thought maybe, just maybe, it would be with my music. After all, this year will be my 28th year playing guitar. But much to my surprise (sarcastically), no.
Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t about me. This is about an idea God gave me and how He made it work. I knew what I was doing for Michael was a good thing because of feedback I received from him and his mom, Mary. Soon there were people wanting to join in, which I thought was amazing!
Now it’s time for the ripple effect.
I had just a limited picture of what was really taking place and how people were reacting – that is until I received a comment from Laura Chapman whose son Ben has been paired up with “I Run For…” runner Peter Flagg.
“I wanted to let you all know that I Run for… is now a daily topic in our house. The kids are always asking how far Peter Flagg ran or biked for that day. They ask what others have done and for whom. My older kids are shocked at how many athletes are willingly doing this. You see before we moved from CA, they were never accepted and were always outcasts, even to adults, due to their special needs. They are much more accepted here, but still find it shocking to hear of others actually reaching out to those that are differently abled. So not are you only reaching out and helping those you are paired with, but you are giving some older children some hopes again.”
Now I don’t know about you, but this warms my heart! Especially since Laura adopted Ben, now there is a HUGE heart! You can read Ben’s story here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/laura-spencer-chapman/99-fetal-alcohol-syndrome-awareness-day/135031330765
I would love nothing more than to make these ripples into tidal waves. So I have to ask, who do you run for?
When the whole “I Run” movement started back in January, I had never dreamed it would take off like it has. I just knew I felt really good about running for my buddy, Michael. When I told my good friend Kerri about it, she decided to bring me in for an “on air” interview at the local Christian radio station, Your Q-FM, with her and Josh (The Q Morning Crew).
That interview seemed to be the catalyst in the popularity explosion. It was such an amazing feeling to know people out there cared and loved what I was doing! Moreover, people wanted to participate, to join in the movement. Within a week I had created a facebook page I Run For… and I was pairing up (with God’s help) runners with other blessed people. Shortly there after, the facebook I Run For Group was formed.
So let me fast forward to the present day… “I Run For…” (IR4) has grown to some pretty amazing heights in its short existence. In two months it has reached Australia and Canada with thirty-one pairings as of this writing! I have to admit, I was pretty tickled when I was trying to locate a previous post and it seriously took a long time to reach the bottom of the page!
To me, this is all great, but what makes it outstanding to me is watching everyone’s posts! It’s remarkably uplifting to see so many people caring for others. Parents have been posting pictures and videos of their sweet children and it just melts my heart to get a peek into their lives. Here is what Carol Dublin had to say about it…
“I am training for a half marathon to raise money for clean water in Haiti through Team World Vision. But even more important than that, I run for Bennett.
Bennett is a 19-month-old boy with Down Syndrome, and as he struggles with therapy to learn how to walk, I keep running in his honor.In fact, some days the only thing that gets me to the end of a run is knowing that I am running for Bennett.A pulled hamstring several weeks ago made me change my goal from the full to the half marathon, since suddenly I was sidelined to the elliptical trainer instead of running the miles I needed to run to be ready for the race.Now that I am back to running and as I slowly increase my distances, there is still a bit of discomfort. Part of me wants to stop. But then I think of Bennett, and how hard he is working in therapy. And I keep going.It amazes me how connected I feel to this little boy and his parents even though we have never met. I hope someday we will meet, but in the meantime – I’ll keep running. And training. And racing. For Bennett.”Submitted by Carol Dublin, http://caroldublin.com
“Hello everyone. I am a newbie here, was told about this group by Russ Endurancecoach, and contacted Tim Boyle about pairing me up.Well, I was teamed up with my new friend Ben, his mother Laura Spencer Chapman and I are now friends here on FB. I just got done reading his story and it is very touching. In fact here is the story…https://www.facebook.com/
notes/laura-spencer-chapman/ 99-fetal-alcohol-syndrome-aware ness-day/135031330765… Read it please.Reading it I found a bonding instantly because I am a RN, I’ve worked in ER and ICU setting for years and now work a desk job that I love. Some of the most horrible stuff I’ve seen has all been related to drugs and alcohol so his story just touched me deeply.
Ben, you might not be able to run, bike or swim but don’t worry bud, I got your back for that. Today, I did a bike ride of 17.86 miles for you. Each day, I usually rest on Mondays but all the other days I will do my workout dedicated to you and please know that in no way am I a hero, you and your mom are, you guys are the true fighters I will just be your vessel for running, biking and swimming.”
A couple of months ago I posted a picture for inspiration for my first official 5K run and one of my facebook friends commented on it. His comment was simple yet profound. He said “you can run for me anytime, Tim!”
You see my friend was diagnosed with bilateral hip dysplasia. He was told he would never walk again. He found a doctor who was willing to perform a risky and experimental surgery over a period of two years. He spent a year in a body cast and underwent 17 months of grueling physical therapy five days a week. He DID walk again. The miraculous results were expected to last two to three years. He recovered enough and so strongly he competed in the Olympics… The Special Olympics. You see, my friend Michael Wasserman has Down Syndrome. This “Old Champ” (as his mother, Mary, calls him) stretched out this miracle 24 years and 24 days. He is now in a wheelchair and can no longer run, so I run for Michael!