Six years ago, I decided that I was going to learn to enjoy running. I started only running every other day for as long as felt like work. When a mile started to feel easy, I tried 2, and then 3, and then 4. A year into running, I was able to run a 10k and enjoy all of it.
Five half-marathons later, I'm about to try a new (and somewhat crazy) distance. In 8 weeks, I'm running the NYC marathon.
When I decided that this was the year to try a marathon, I felt certain that I wanted to raise money for a charity as part of the experience. Spending so much time running is very personally rewarding and I wanted to make sure that I gave something back. A family friend told me about a really amazing charity that had spots in the race and I jumped at the opportunity.
In this, my first (and perhaps only - we'll see how it goes!) marathon, I will be raising money for FACES (Finding a Cure for Epilepsy and Seizures), an organization based at NYU Langone Medical Center dedicated to helping adults and children living with epilepsy through research, education, clinical, and community support programs.
One of the diverse number of projects that FACES is working on now that I'm especially excited to help fundraise for is research on the use of Cannabidiol (CBD), a nonpsychoactive component of cannabis, in treating severe Epilepsy and Seizures. You may have heard of this promising new avenue for treatment on NPR's Fresh Air or in the news (several articles appeared this spring on HuffingtonPost as well as in other news venues).
National Geographic did a very moving and thought provoking documentary about this research recently (which includes the work being done at NYU Langone by FACES):
The money that I raise will go towards funding research on this and other ways to improve epilepsy care as well as funding educational materials and cost-free seminars, scholarship opportunities, and family initiatives. And donations are tax deductible!
That being said, please do not worry at all if (for whatever reason) you decide not to donate. I know how many requests some of you get and I understand completely that it's not always possible to make charitable donations. If, on the other hand, you are interested in supporting FACES, please consider donating (and really, any amount helps!). It's a really wonderful organization working hard to help improve the lives of people living with Epilepsy and Seizures.
If you're interested in learning more, here's a great video about the conditions, what FACES does, and some of the many families that FACES helps: