September 22, 2013 No comments Article
Okay, so it’s been far too long since I’ve written in this blog. It has been a bittersweet couple of months for me personally. This incredible group of people who have joined me in my dream of matching runners with children and adults with special needs is growing so fast. We hit the 5000 member mark in just seven short months. What an amazing feat! We are in every single U.S. State, including, the District of Columbia. That is miraculous! I would love to be able to say it was all me but it wasn’t, God dealt the cards on this one. He is my Ace in the hole so to speak.
You can never know His reasons for doing things. Yes, I know everything He does is for my ultimate good. I would be lying if I said I didn’t wonder why he chose to make I Run 4 (IR4) the booming success that it is and not other ideas, or the ideas of others. I am blessed by this nonetheless.
Every day I read as many posts as I can and try so hard to respond to them but I can’t even put a dent in the totality of comments on this incredible page. I have read on several occasions that it is the most inspirational page on Facebook!
Today, as I was feeling a bit low, members of the group came to my rescue. Many said the group is their daily inspiration and told me to Kerri On! Okay, you may be saying to yourself“whoa, what the heck does Kerri On mean, and can’t these people spell?”
You see, Kerri On means to live life full of love. Love out loud. Kerri is the person who interviewed me when I first started running for Michael. She was the catalyst. Then a few months later she introduced me to Michelle Walters, Executive Director of Vessel Christian Foundation, the wonderful organization whose umbrella IR4 is under to be a 501(c)(3) organization.
Kerri never hesitated to promote others. She was never selfish. Her connections allowed her to do some awesome things and be in amazing places but Kerri loved to give those opportunities to others. She got a thrill out of watching others experience those surreal moments instead of herself.
Earlier this month, she went in to have her Lap-Band removed and did not come out. Kerri passed away at the age of 47. I was so lucky to have her as a friend, confidante, and mentor. To honor the amazing person she was the I Run 4 Remembrance group is now the I Run 4 Kerri Remembrance group.
The news of Kerri’s death came on the heels of my father’s emergency brain surgery. He had a lesion on his brain that would have killed him if he were to go another 24 hours. Thankfully the pressure was relieved and he is healing faster than first expected (you can never keep a Marine down). But wait… there’s more.
Just weeks before the incident with my father, IR4 suffered two losses. Both were just days apart. Two of our little buddies left all of their pain behind to walk hand in hand with Jesus – just like Kerri is doing right now.
Issac Radic (Lori Anderson) was matched with runner Amber Lindemoen. He was blessed with Down syndrome. He was just 9 months old when he passed away July 23 due to complications from surgery. He was a beautiful baby and the first buddy I had met since creating IR4. I was fortunate enough to hold this precious child in my arms and look into his eyes.
Gabriel Jimenez (Mayte Jimenez) of Mexico passed away on July 20th. Gabriel suffered from a condition called Leukodystrophy the same disease that took Nick Jones (Josh and Yvonne Jones, IR4 Board Members) back on Feb. 9th.
So I suppose you are all wondering why I’m writing such a sad blog today. Here is the answer. Because this is a side effect to being matched up with a child or adult with special needs.
Please know it’s not a bad thing. We are here to make their time, no matter how short it is, as great as it can be. While they may never be able to run and feel the freedom we often take for granted, they can live vicariously through us – to help them feel alive and loved. We aim to teach others about the GOOD in our buddies, about the HUMANNESS in our buddies, to bring JOY into their world and their parents world.
If you aren’t in this amazing group and you are a runner, ask yourself the next time you lace up – why am I doing this? Who do YOU run for?