August 19, 2016
This is not the first time I have fundraised for a foundation. This is not the first time I have dedicated this race to my dear friend Jon Negretti. This IS the first time I am doing both to directly benefit a cause that he cared enormously about. This is the first time that I am trying to make a difference in his name. I am running for The Thomas E. Smith Foundation to cure paralysis!!! So please, no matter how small or large, just make a donation...for Jon.
Jonathan Negretti, was a beautiful, vibrant person, an amazing friend, a true character and one of the last of a dying breed of people that truly put others in front of himself. I always considered him my family and I always will. He taught me about unconditional love, not being defined by your situation, and what it truly means to dig deep within yourself to find the last ounce of hope when it appears there is none. The decades that our friendship stretched were full of the best life had to offer as well as deep pain and tradgedy on both sides. I never tell the full story, but he saved my life when I was 21 years old...the coversations we had about that day were always of love, gratitude, and truth. I never got the chance to tell him that what I realized years later was that he saved my life that day, but his friendship saved my soul and my heart from hardening all those years before and after that day. His friendship is actually what saved me.
When Jon got home finally after his accident , I went to visit him. I gave him a bracelet that had an engraving on it. I was about 16 years old and I asked him 2 things....If there was anything I could do for him? and What did he think about the most since he was paralyzed?....His answers still resonate with me today... He said "You know what you can do for me, sweetie....run like the wind, with yourself not from yourself because you still can, and always take your shoes of at the beach, what I miss the most is feeling the sand between my toes"
SO with that spirit in mind, The Falmouth Road Race is the best place to honor such special person who left all of us way too soon, but despite an early exit made an enourmous impact on the world and so many people, like myself, in it. When Jon passed away I was handed back that bracelet at his funeral. I had the engraved saying tattooed at the apex of my heart..."Courage, Strength, and Inspiration. I Love You Always"
This run is for YOU, my dear friend!!!!!!!
The Thomas E. Smith Foundation wrote -
The Thomas E. Smith Foundation is honored to have a team of runners participating in the 2016 New Balance Falmouth Road Race. We are proud to use the race as a vehicle to raise funds and awareness for those living with spinal cord injuries. Thank you to our runners who are willing to embrace the opportunity to become a direct advocate and supporter for those affected by and living with paralysis, as providing both emotional and financial assistance to those in need are the hallmarks of our mission.