Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Running for a Reason

Last year, I accomplished something I was very proud of. It wasn't becoming a runner, it wasn't getting up early in the mornings to run, it wasn't entering all kinds of races. In fact, it wasn't even running my first half marathon.

Last year, I was faced with the rejection of not getting a lottery spot in the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon. As a second chance, I was offered a spot if I could agree to raise $2000 for the American Cancer Society. I agreed, and my fundraising career was born. Running for the ACS gave me even more focus. I dedicated training runs and felt compelled to complete them to thank my donors. I heard stories from friends that have been affected by cancer. I wrote posts for the ACS Determinators blog. It was life-changing. I knew I was helping.

People have asked me if I'm raising money again. I am. But this time it's way more personal. In December, my twin sons were born in New York City. We knew that Ellis had a congenital heart defect and that he wouldn't be with us for very long. He lived for fifteen days. Fifteen precious gifts that can never be taken away. Fifteen days of laughing, crying, and living.

Three days before he left us we contacted an organization called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. NILMDTS is an incredible group of professional photographers who volunteer their time to come to hospitals and do family photos with children that have passed away or that will soon. On New Year's Day, we were visited in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit of the New York Presbyterian Hospital by Rachel Elkind of Brooklyn, New York. Her generosity, ability, compassion and caring can never be repaid. Her gift to us is something that we will cherish forever. Ellis was atypically aware that day. His eyes were open, he stayed awake as long as he could for the photo shoot and we got great shots. The next day, he died.

This year, I'm running to support Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. It's an important organization that provides comfort, relief and happiness to way too many families. We were lucky. We were blessed with fifteen days and we were blessed with amazing photos to remember.

Please donate. I love the support and you're truly making a difference.

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