BENEFITING: The Children's Room
ORGANIZER: The Children's Room
EVENT: Boston Marathon 2014
EVENT DATE: Apr 21, 2014
As a young child I was carefree and confident, until my father died suddenly of a heart attack. I was 4, my brother was 6, and my mother was pregnant with my sister. At the time I lacked any understanding of death, but was acutely aware that my life was forever changed. Through training for the marathon last year, I slowly began to regain the confidence I possessed as a young child.
I was still running when the bombs went off at the finish line. Once again I was reminded of life’s unpredictable nature. Very quickly my goal of completing my first marathon became a goal larger than just a test of my own physical strength. This year, as I trudge through snowstorms and rack up countless miles in the freezing winter, I will constantly be reminded of how difficult life can be and the mental toughness needed to persevere.
One of my favorite stories from The Children’s Room happened during our first meeting after the marathon. A little girl from my group looked up at me and, in the most innocent and heart-felt way, said “thank you for running the marathon for us.” To her, the “us” was probably her family, but to me the “us “is all of us who lost parents or other loved ones too young. The “us” is the reason I found the strength to run a marathon in the first place and the reason I’m back this year to finish what I started.
Runners who had reached the halfway point before the marathon was stopped are not required to fundraise this year, but I have chosen once again to raise money for The Children’s Room. Through my 6 years and counting of volunteering with 3-5 year olds I am constantly amazed by their ability to support each other. When a child shares their loss and another child responds “me too!” a powerful and healing connection is made. In a very natural way, children will share stories while drawing a picture or creating a cemetery in the sandbox. There is a level of openness and comfort talking about loss and grief at The Children’s Room that teaches children and families the important lesson that no one needs to grieve alone. In addition to working with amazing and resilient children and families, I have met many fellow volunteers with similar stories. For the first time in my life I have friends who understand my loss through the powerful connection of a shared experience.
The Children’s Room offers services free of charge. For this reason, individual fundraising and donors are critical to its survival and growth. Please consider once again in 2014 supporting my run and a great cause.
Thank you in advance!
P.S. To read more of my story check out my blog post for the John Hancock Extra Mile blog!