I am OVER THE MOON to announce that I have been selected to run the 2018 Boston Marathon for the Joe Andruzzi Foundation! The Joe Andruzzi Foundation (JAF) is an incredible organization dedicated to making treatment more accessible for families who are battling cancer, with a particular focus on bringing laughter and positivity back into their lives. As I approach my thirtieth birthday, I have made a pledge to do something every month that is new and different with a particular focus on things that involve causes that are bigger than myself. The older I get, the more I am reminded that none of us grow up in a vacuum. We are a community. We are the sum of our parts and without others helping us along the way, we would never achieve our goals, hopes, and dreams.
After graduating from graduate school, I was hired as a counselor in a therapeutic high school in western Massachusetts and quickly gained a new appreciation for the phrase "baptism by fire." This school is dedicated to children with significant social and emotional needs who require more support than the standard education public school programs could provide. There were children who had suffered unspeakable traumas and I saw first-hand how all other cares fall by the wayside when the health and well being of a family member is at risk. I could tell you stories that would break your heart but I prefer to share with you the amazing gift this job gave to me----the gift of perspective. At this school, I witnessed the priceless power of positive thinking and the incredible resilient nature of children. Together we learned to celebrate the small victories and put a premium on the emotional well being of our students because that's where the healing begins.
Because of these experiences, I was drawn to the Joe Andruzzi Foundation which exemplifies this idea of giving a sense of control back to these families. JAF goes toe-to-toe with cancer and challenges families to focus on what they CAN control. They give families the much needed break from the mounting bills and responsibilities and dares them to LAUGH and PLAY---an essential part of healing that is all too often forgotten. The JAF enables people to start thinking that maybe there can be some happiness among all the worry and despair, and perhaps, there is hope for a better day. Coming from the mental health field, this message deeply resonates with me and makes me want to be a part of it in any way I can. Hope is an invaluable gift and JAF works hard to dish out that gift of hope every single day!
Running the Boston Marathon is a life-changing opportunity and a challenge that I cannot wait to tackle! But I cannot do it without your help! So please consider making a donation to JAF and help me cross the finish line!