Abel Alejandrino wrote -
Things happen for a reason.
God will only give you what you can handle.
Where there is adversity, you are given the opportunity to thrive.
These are things that many of us tell ourselves in life when times are tough. This includes what I think about when Cynthia and I try to understand why Ava has to go through so much. When Ava was first diagnosed with nemaline myopathy, a genetic muscle disorder that causes severe muscle weakness and fatigue, I felt like I failed my daughter as a father because I was not able to protect her from this. But I have now come to the realization that this has happened for a reason. God has presented Ava with this special condition so that she can show the world how to fight through and be empowered by any situation.
She is truly revealing her true warrior spirit. When people hear of Ava’s story, they are usually saddened, but Ava continues to illuminate a positive spirit despite all she goes through. She is a true example of hope…and my hero.
I first started this Run for MDA campaign last year to raise awareness for MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association) while bringing sMILEs to MDA (My Daughter Ava). Prior to to 2016, I ran once per week (maybe two or three times on good weeks) and completed only one full marathon in my lifetime. In my 2016 Run for MDA campaign, I challenged my boundaries by running my first ultramarathon and four full marathons with MDA Team Momentum as well as starting a running streak of at least one mile a day and 100 miles a month (accumulating 1707 miles for 2016). This journey has been brutal on my body both physically and mentally. But you know what? Individuals like Ava who suffer from muscle disease have to deal with this pain or discomfort every day of their lives while doing regular daily activities that most of us take for granted. So I figured I can suffer a little bit for the greater good.
I want to thank all of you for the overwhelming love and support. Not only have you held me accountable for my promise, you have been cheering us on from the get-go and you have kept us going strong. You have also helped us raise a lot of awareness and funding for the MDA who fight to free individuals - and the families who love them - from the harmful effects of muscular dystrophy, ALS, and related life-threatening diseases so they can live longer and grow stronger.
Your love and support has been so infectious and will directly benefit Ava by allowing her to attend MDA summer camp in 2017. Ava is also getting involved and challenging herself by joining me on the raceway.
2017 will be a monumental year for Run for MDA with not only Ava putting in some sMILEs of her own but my running CRew, Concrete Runners, hitting the concrete with me...and many of Ava's family and friends wanting to help in our fundraising efforts.
We're kicking off the year with Ava's race, the Legoland Marathon Mile on January 14th. For this 7-yr old fighting muscle disease who sometimes struggles doing daily activities and has a hard time jogging a block, this mile will feel like a marathon. We don't know how it'll turn out but she wants to give it a try and we support her decision to try. With the blessings of her providers and the love from family and friends, Ava is ready to face this challenge head-on. I have been running for my daughter and for all those who can't run or have trouble doing so. And now Ava wants to help in the fight against muscle disease. She too wants to Run for MDA. And I'm ready to not only be her personal trainer but her biggest cheerleader.
'Together we can go far' is the mantra that my CRew will go by as we take on two intense relays in the Spring, one from Huntington Beach to San Diego and the other from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to live unlimited and will dedicate those 500+ miles to all those fighting muscle disease.
So what else is in store for 2017? 2017 is Ava's golden year so I plan to make it a special year. I'll call it my 1-300 challenge, running events in specific running categories.
* 1 mile - Legoland Marathon Mile with my hero Ava - January 14th - Ava's bros along with some cousins and friends will also be running with Ava
* 3.1 mile (5K) - TBD
* 6.2 mile (10K) - TBD
* 13.1 mile (Half Marathon) - TBD
* 26.2 mile (Full Marathon) - TBD
* 50 mile (Ultra Marathon) - San Francisco 52.4 mile Ultra Marathon - July 23rd - this is the original race that started my Run for MDA campaign
* 100 mile (Ultra Marathon) - TBD
* 200 mile (Team Relay) - SoCal Ragnar with the Concrete Runners for MDA Team Momentum - April 7th & 8th - covering 200ish miles from Huntington Beach to San Diego
* 300 mile (Ultra Relay) - The Speed Project with the Concrete Runners - March 10th-12th - covering 344 miles from Los Angeles to Las Vegas
* OCR (Obstacle Course Racing) - Tough Mudder Tahoe CRxMIPxTeamSFOG - June 10th - 20+ obstacles over a 10-12 mile course
* Daily running streak - I vow to continue to run at least 1 mile every day and at least 100 miles per month
For 2017, my main priorities will remain the same: raise awareness for the MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association), bring sMILEs to MDA (My Daughter Ava), and motivate and inspire others as we all Run for MDA. But more importantly, I will continue to pray for Ava, I will continue to hug and kiss Ava, I will continue to help Ava be as active and self-sufficient as possible.
Thanks for taking the time to read my daughter's story and following our journey.
Please stay updated via my 'Run for MDA' Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/RunForAva
#RunForMDA #sMILEs #MDATeamMomentum
#ConcreteRunners #MIPWorldwide #TeamSFOG