I've been thinking lately about what sparked that inner "I need to do something." feeling. This isn't the first time I've gotten it, and I was mulling it over one night when I couldn't sleep. :) It's a feeling I get that I have to do something...anything. After thinking about it I discovered the common thread is cancer. I found it really interesting that there was a common thread...
The first time was when I discovered a pre-k student of mine was in recently in remission and his oldest sister (a middle schooler) was also battling cancer. The family had to travel back and forth to Boston a lot and they were a large family. It seemed so unfair...so I organized a raffle at the school. We raffled off brand new new bikes and raised money for the family. The Salem's Children Charity learned about what we were doing and donated hundreds of dollars in gas and restaurant cards in addition to what we raised. I realized it feels really really good to be able to help someone. I also learned that there are tons of people out there willing to pitch in.
The second time I raised money for the Jimmy Fund by walking the route of the Boston Marathon. Now I have to admit that on this one, the thrill of experiencing the marathon route pushed me to walk 8 hours more than the cause. However, it was incredibly moving...seeing the posters of people fighting for their lives at each mile marker. There was little fanfare (not sure why I was expecting crowds like at the actual marathon...maybe because walking 26 miles is still pretty challenging) and it was more introspective than I had anticipated.
The third time cancer really pissed me off...it hit too close to home when my aunt was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia almost a year ago. Doctors thought she would need a bone marrow transplant at some point during treatment. F U cancer....we're on it! We held a local bone marrow drive and added close to 500 people to the bone marrow registry! "We" were a team too numerous to count who pulled together and hosted an event with an amazing turnout. I knew we might not find a match for my aunt, but anything is possible! It was equally important to get as many people in the registry as possible so that someone out there waiting might benefit. My aunt ended up receiving a stem cell transplant and is in remission.
By the way? Are YOU in the registry?? It's simple and painless. Go to www.marrow.org.
Then several months ago I was reading the local paper and read the Fitzgerald's story. I followed them on facebook and through their blogs. They lost their little girl and that feeling came back. You suck cancer. You are unpredictable and turn people's lives upside down in an instant. You know no boundaries...no one is too young...and to be honest I was pissed at the unfairness of it all. I'm a mom and a teacher...children are a big part of my life and it made my heart hurt to imagine it.
I hope that by running I am letting the family know that their little girl touched people she didn't even know. That 5 months from now I'll still be running in her honor. I also hope that the money I raise will help the family get on their feet, or create a foundation in their daughter's name, or whatever else they might need.
So I took that "feeling" and this time I ran with it...and will continue to run with it for eight more races!!