I am extremely honored to run in the Boston Marathon in memory of an incredible woman while supporting an amazing organization. Dream Big! works to provide girls from low-income and homeless situations with the equipment, uniforms, athletic footwear, program fees, training expenses, sports opportunities and the supplies they need to participate in sports and physical activities that contribute to their health, education and overall well-being.
Having been an athlete since I could walk (actually, probably before then!), I have experienced first-hand the impact that involvement in sports has in every single one of those areas.
Some more about me!
I “became” a runner a little over 2 years ago. I use quotations because prior to that, running was an activity I will admit I did not particularly enjoy. Having grown up as an ice hockey player, the thought of going more than one mile made me cringe. But, a little over 2 years ago, that all changed. The reason? A woman named Sandy Kelley.
Some more about Sandy Kelley:
An avid runner (2-time Boston Finisher, TC Marathon Finisher, Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, MN Finisher-the list goes on and on), Sandy was a friend and mentor of mine. I first knew her as my sister-in-law’s mother, but she soon became so much more than that. As anyone who was lucky enough to meet her will tell you, she was a vibrant woman who loved life and her family deeply. She had an infectious smile, her laugh could be heard for miles, and she was incredibly welcoming to everyone she met.
It saddens me deeply to say she passed away on May 18th, 2015, after a long and arduous battle with cancer. She was 54 years old.
There are two words that come to mind when I recall how inspiring she was to me throughout the process of becoming a runner. The first word is “brave." She was one of the bravest women I have ever met (before and throughout her battle with cancer), and I look for ways on a daily basis to live this as part of my own life, including when it comes to being brave enough to push myself beyond my perceived physical limits with running.
The second is “believe.” She had a way of pushing everyone to simply believe in themselves and the power of the human spirit. That to be great and accomplish amazing things, we must first believe we can.
Sandy and I talked often about the power of running and its ability to make you feel invincible. She also believed very strongly in empowering females at every age. Dream Big! and its mission aligns directly with that belief and with your help, can make a difference in so many young girls' lives.
“How much should I give?”
Over the past four years Dream Big! has had a direct impact on more than 15,000 girls in need through equipment donations, program scholarships, sports clinics and the Dream Big! Leadership Conferences for middle and high school female athletes.
No contribution is too small and every single one helps!
Here are some suggestions to help Dream Big! continue to make an impact:
$35 will purchase a regulation soccer ball or basketball
$50 will purchase a pair a new pair of sneakers or cleats
$100 pays for an 8-week dance or fitness class for 1 girl
$200 pays for a new bike and helmet
$500 pays for a week long summer sports camp
$1000 pays for new uniforms, equipment and training for an entire sports team
$2500 pays for physical education equipment for one full year for hundreds of children in an elementary or middle school
$10,000 pays for a new community based sports program for 100 female athletes.