I wanted to take a few moments to explain why I am running the Detroit Free Press Half Marathon this year.
I am running to raise awareness and funds for the organization I have come to hold so dearly- United Way for Southeastern Michigan. In the year I have worked there I have learned so much about the problems our communities face (and not just Detroit) and I have met a lot of amazing people who are working on solving these problems. Some are fulfilling the immediate needs; making sure people have access to food and shelter and then there are those that are working on the systemic issues in our communities. United Way for Southeastern Michigan partners with so many agencies working on those immediate needs. They have also developed their own programming that focuses on the systemic issues the community as a whole is faced with.
One of the issues they are tackling is education. Making sure children are prepared to start learning the day they walk into a kindergarten classroom, are not starting behind, and are set up for success on Day 1. If you want to learn more about our work, please ask me. I would love to tell you more.
Now I want to talk about why this journey is personal to me. The children are my motivation to push a little harder, but the personal journey has been incredible.For those of you who don’t know, I was in a car accident when I was 16 years old. It was a day that really changed my life (I don’t care to talk about it much, but today I want to share). In the accident, I broke my left ankle and severely sprained my right ankle, leaving me in a wheelchair for about a month and then was on crutches for another 6 months. While I was in a wheelchair my parents had to move my bedroom to the dining room, as I couldn’t use stairs, my dad had to carry me in and out of the car and my mother helped my bathe daily. It was a humbling experience and certainly taught a lot about how important my family and friends were. I needed help with almost every daily task.
The bone I broke in my ankle is called the talus bone. It is one of the worse bones you can break. It is what your ankle rotates with. I broke the bone clean in half and have 3 screws that will stay in it permanently. While I do not label myself as disabled, I certainly have many limitations because of my injury. My ankle hurts every day, some days worse than others, some days I have trouble walking, some days I limp, but I don’t let it stop me. And I won’t let it stop me from running 13.1 miles on October 15th. My doctor has always said those screws will hold my ankle together; what I can do depends on my pain and how much of it I can handle. I’m not telling you this for pity, I am telling you this to ask for your support. I am accomplishing a personal goal as well as raising money. If you would have told me when I was 16 that someday I would run a half marathon, I would have laughed. But I am doing it.
For those of you that have been cheering me on during my training, thank you. And for those of you that have given to United Way in support, thank you. And if you want to come out and see me finish this thing, please do. October 15th @ 7 AM.
Here is the link to donate: https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/team/unitedwaysemdet2017/kellytebay
Thanks for taking the time to read this and thank you for supporting me.