Eric Anderson wrote -
On May 17th, I'll be competing in Ironman Texas to raise money and awareness for the greatest cause in the world - Riley Hospital for Children. If you know me even a little bit at all, you know that there's nothing in this world I care more about than those kids and that hospital. While in college my life revolved around Indiana University Dance Marathon (IUDM), a cause that absolutely consumed me and continues to be on my mind (and wrist) every single day.
This may seem horribly last minute, but I was originally planning on using a certain triathlon in early October to raise money. My training hasn't exactly gone according to plan, so qualifying for that is going to take a small miracle...but that's not the point here.
There literally is no one organization, cause, or motivating factor that drives me more than the kids at Riley. After graduation, I tried for a few months to find any cause that could generate even a fraction of the passion I have for Riley and for IUDM, and it just wasn't working. After a chat with one of the most inspirational people I've ever met in November, the passion that had been missing in my life was suddenly re-ignited, and I committed to this triathlon.
Since then, every length of the pool I've swum, every pedal stroke I've taken, and every mile I've run has been focused on those kids. The past few years I've spent my summers racing bikes for a team called Racing for Riley, and it's going to be an honor to be able to fly the Riley flag down in Houston. I'm going to give it everything I have on April 26th, and hope that you'll support the cause as I do so.
If you're not familiar with Riley, officially, Riley is Indiana’s only comprehensive children’s hospital, with pediatric specialists in every field of medicine and surgery. Riley treats all patients, regardless of their family’s financial standing, and serves over 150,000 patients a year. Riley is more than just a hospital though. Riley is a source of hope and comfort for people everywhere. The moment you set foot in the building, you know you are in the best company and care in the entire world. The miracles that happen on a daily basis and the millions of Riley kids whose lives have been forever changed by the incredible staff there are the most inspirational combination I could ever imagine.
If you're not familiar with IUDM, officially, IUDM is the 2nd-largest student-run philanthropy in the nation (and maybe the world). Thousands of selfless college students work year-round to raise money leading up to the main event: a 36 hour, no sitting, no sleeping dance marathon in the fall. IUDM is truly a life changing experience that provides an environment thriving on faith in each other, hope for the future, and inspiration to achieve. Those four letters have grown to shape my life in ways I never thought possible, and the people I've met have made me who I am today. There's not a chance I'll ever be able to give back to Riley or IUDM as much as they've given me, but I'm certainly going to try.
Look, this is not something I'm doing just for a cool finish line picture or another medal to hang on the wall. This is purely about the kids, and I hope that you'll help me in spreading the word about Riley, IUDM, and all that those two organizations represent. If you want to help out:
1) Donate! Even if it's just $1, every little bit helps.
2) Spread the word! The more awareness we can raise, the better.
3) Send me some love! I have no idea what my body's going to do on April 26th, but words of encouragement are always appreciated.
And hey, as we all learned at IUDM '11, out of difficulties grow miracles.
FTK, RW, ALC, OMAM, DTF,
For what it's worth, in 2009 and 2010 I used a fancy website to raise funds, and was planning on doing the same this time around. However, the project Casey and I have in the works isn't quite ready for prime time, and at the end of the day I want people donating for the cause, not for the site...so spread the word and donate!