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MYTEAM TRIUMPH's Fundraiser:

Ben Zimmer's journey to honor his Grandfather in the Marine Corps Marathon!



Welcome to Captain Ben Zimmer’s Marine Corps Marathon fundraising page, hosted by Push America and Ainsley’s Angels.


YES, Ben Zimmer, his sister, Bretta, and great friend Ginny, are going to earn the title Marathoners at the Marine Corps Marathon!    WHY ARE THEY RUNNING?  Read this special note from Ben's sister, Bretta: 

For Sergeant Major Fernand Violette, “Semper Fi” was not a slogan or a catchy phrase; it was a way of life. With his own unique brand of cheerful but stoic dedication, he served our country as a United States Marine for 30 years, fought in World War II and two tours in Vietnam and was awarded too many honors and medals to list.

Despite his amazing career of service in the Marines, I did not know him as a warrior.  I knew him as the most loving, most dependable, most gentile, funniest grandfather anyone could have. He was always quick to smile and play, never too busy for his grandkids, and could turn literally anything at all into a game that would entertain for hours. I recall laughing until my sides hurt because grandfather was singing a song about an eraser.  He was never bored, and taught us without a doubt that life is as good as you make it. And he always made it joyful.

On Father's Day one year, while I was visiting, my grandfather got a tearful call from a man who had served under him, thanking him, saying that he had been more of a father to him than anyone else in his life. I learned that he got a lot of calls like that.  He was the kind of leader who led by example, and I hear that he never raised his voice in anger. His men followed him out of well-earned respect and admiration, never fear.

His family followed him out of love and admiration. We fight every day to keep his spirit of love and dedication alive and to remember to make our own lives and the lives of those we love as good as he did.

We are running this marathon for our grandfather.  I am pushing my brother, Ben, whom my grandfather loved deeply and served tirelessly, because my grandfather would have done the same, gladly.

Sergeant Major Fernand Violette's life was one of selfless service to all he encountered. I am honored to have known him and I was blessed to have had his love in my life-Bretta

We also invite you to click here to read an amazingly well-written article by Ginny Cohen on the things she has learned from running with Ben!

With all of this....YES YOU CAN, donate 20, 50, or 100 dollars right now or you can support our efforts with a book donation:  Click here to purchase the children’s book, Born an Angel, written by the sister of Ben’s friend, Ainsley, and donate it to a local elementary school library! Proceeds go to the Ainsley's Angels Foundation.  Ainsley will also join Ben at the start of the Marathon and we will be posting updates on Instagram and Twitter: @ainsleys_angels


Click the orange button in the upper right of this page or e-mail for a link to make a donation using PayPay and/or for a mailing address should you prefer to donate by check. We will ensure all donations appear on this page as off-line donations.


Who is Ainsley?

Ainsley does not talk or walk; she does not play for fun; but she smiles, while out for a run. An inspiration to thousands, she is an amazing little girl with a smile that will light up any room. Shortly after being diagnosed with an extremely rare progressive genetic nerve disorder called Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy (INAD), Ainsley completed the Surfer's Healing Virginia Beach 5K road race. Her first of many running-aided, wind-induced smiles took our family's collective breath away as she received her finisher's medal and became an official Team Hoyt Virginia Beach (THVB) ATHLETE! Inspired by Dick and Rick Hoyt, and the only running team authorized by the Hoyt's to use their name, THVB provided Ainsley's family with a therapeutic means to fight the devastation associated with learning and trying to live with the fact that your child has a terminal illness. The positive energy surrounding the start line, the children smiling from ear to ear, the togetherness of every member preparing to "roll with the wind", the fearlessness of the athletes, the normalcy of the family, and the love we all have for each other is a therapy like no other. In an effort to spread this amazing experience to as many people as possible, Ainsley's Angels aims to see other families experience what the Hoyt's have experienced 1100 times and what we have experienced nearly 50 times (so far). As such, we created this chapter of myTEAM Triumph to ensure others can "roll with the wind" and live up to the philosophy of, "Yes You Can."



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