Halfway there! Literally.
July 12, 2017
BENEFITING: BUILDING BRIDGES WORLDWIDE
ORGANIZER: BUILDING BRIDGES WORLDWIDE
Hey everyone! Thanks for taking the time to check out my fundraising page for the NYC Marathon.
This year started out tragically with the loss of a dear friend, Rachel Alpern, to suicide. It took weeks for me to process that she was gone. If you knew her, you understand why. If you didn't, I'll try to explain.
Rachel was a powerhouse, strong and athletic yet packaged in a petite frame. There wasn't much that slowed her down. She hiked mountains with weighted packs, rode her bicycle to work whatever the season (even with a cast on her wrist!), and wasn't afraid to rumble out on the ice rink playing coed hockey. Are you getting a glimpse of who she was? Not so fast...she was also graceful and feminine, routinely attending adult gymnastics classes. Cool, right? She truly had the perfect smile. Everyone said so.
Rachel was a paramedic/firefighter before becoming a physician assistant. Helping people was fuel for her. She loved volunteering with the DMAT emergency response team and had participated in medical mission work a few times. She was generous and seemed to thrive when giving back, though she was equally supportive of her close friends and family. Rachel was eternally working on being her best self.
I've long aspired to run a marathon but have been too chicken to try. I've finished a few halves, my first a "celebration" of my 40th birthday. Ouch. But what a rush! I guess that's how 26.2 ended up on my bucket list. I recall sharing this with Rachel and her saying, "Not me, I'm not a runner. But I'll be cheering you on at the finish line!" Funny thing is she went from couch to 10k without hesitation while a group of us were on vacation in Mexico. See that picture of us with our medals? She was also the friend who asked me to go on a hike one random Saturday afternoon and we happened to land on a trail that took us from Frisco to Breckenridge - then back again. A mere 18 miles. Oh my. She was always up for a challenge, and so am I in her honor.
Buried in Queens, NY, Rachel is resting near many family members who love and miss her tremendously. I'm grateful for the opportunity to run the NYC Marathon in her memory and on her turf. Fundraising is a requirement for my participation. In searching the available charities that best encompass Rachel's spirit, one stood out. Building Bridges is a non-profit organization committed to constructing schools, orphanages, clean water wells, medical clinics, and bridges in impoverished communities around the world. She would have been the perfect volunteer for this team! Please consider a tax-deductible donation to this great charity that works to end poverty and build communities one at a time. Telling Rachel's story also highlights the importance of suicide awareness and its persistently increasing significance. If you have the time, check out this article in the NY Times dated April 2016. The statistics are alarming. https://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/04/22/health/us-suicide-rate-surges-to-a-30-year-high.amp.html
Many thanks for listening and any support you may be able to provide.
Dawanda R. Pesicka, Marathoner in Training
(Thank God I have some time to polish the rust off of my transmission!)