On November 6, I will have the challenge and privilege of participating in one of my 'bucket list' activities -- running in the New York City Marathon. Doing so has been a goal of mine for some time, and I am enjoying the opportunity to prepare myself, mentally and physically, for one of the greatest challenges of my life.
While participating in this marathon will be a life-changing experience for me, it also provides me with the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others -- last year, marathon runners raised a record of over $30 million dollars for more than 190 charities.
I knew immediately which organization I would choose -- Golden Willow Retreat. This sanctuary for grief and loss was founded by Ted Waird, a man who has been a guiding influence, purposeful mentor and unwavering friend to me since I first met him as my 5th grade teacher. I knew that designating Golden Willow Retreat as my 'running' charity would be my inspiration for conquering the 26.2 marathon miles and allow me to support Ted and his unique retreat.
Golden Willow Retreat was founded as the result of a long, painful and life-altering journey Ted unexpected found himself moving through. Serious illness, unimaginable loss of loved ones (including two young daughters), divorce and more provided continual obstacles in Ted's life path. But instead of being defeated by the adversities being hurled his way, Ted found himself growing more and more passionate that no one should have to stumble along blindly on their own personal grief and loss. That passion has become Golden Willow Retreat, where Ted and his team of dedicated, caring professionals honor one's individual pathway through grief and loss to balance and a higher quality of life.
I believe that Golden Willow Retreat doesn't just save lives, but hearts as well -- giving people the ability to find joy and purpose in living again. I encourage you to visit the Retreat's website to learn more about Ted's amazing journey and the Retreat at http://goldenwillowretreat.org.
And so, every mile I run in the November 6 New York City Marathon I will run for Golden Willow Retreat. I'm calling it "Heels for Healing," and my goal is to raise at least $2,600 -- $26 from 100 people -- for Golden Willow Retreat.
For your contribution, which is tax deductible, I will run in honor or memory of someone you'd like to designate or for a specific cause or prayer you may have. When I send you an email to acknowledge your support, I'll ask you to let me know of the person or special message you have, and I'll write it on the shirt I'll wear when I run the Marathon. That shirt will serve as my visual and spiritual reminder of the support and encourage from special people like you, and keep me focused on my even greater purpose for running the race -- Golden Willow Retreat and in honor and memory of the people or requests you've designated.