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Aaron Vagelatos' Fundraiser:

2013 OE Runners

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Aaron Vagelatos

THE STORY:

Thanks for visiting my fundraising page!

As many of you know, I began running a couple of years ago after being upset about how I looked and felt. I ran a race with some coworkers in May 2011 weighing in around 240 lbs. After that, there was no stopping me. A year later, I ran the same race but now weighed in at 160 lbs (see the first pictures)!!!

As time moved on, I decided to up my goals and ran the 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon last year. I surprised myself by finishing in less than 3 ½ hours…surprised myself to the point that I did another marathon three weeks later (Indianapolis) and another in April of this year (Louisville) each being faster than the previous one. After deciding that running 26.2 miles for a marathon wasn’t good enough, I decided to run a 31.1 mile ultra marathon in May. Now, I turn my sights again to Chicago and am running the 2013 Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 13.

As most races are fundraisers for charities, I again decided to join Opportunity Enterprises' marathon team. The OE Marathon Team is a program of Opportunity Enterprises, Inc., a non-profit organization whose mission is to maximize self-sufficiency and enrich the quality of life for individuals with disabilities. Opportunity Enterprises serves over 1,000 adults and children with disabilities throughout Northwest Indiana. Funds raised by the OE Marathon Team this year will support growth and development at OE Lakeside and the programs that are, or soon will be, housed there. The Enriching Possibilities, the Renewed Horizons Adult Day Center, and Daily Living Skills are three programs that serve about 150 clients on a daily basis. By continuing to expand facilities and programs, OE will be able to serve more and more people with challenges and disabilities.  For additional detail about OE, the Marathon Team and Bright Horizons, please see the information below.

So, please support me in my journey to the marathon and the final destination in Chicago in October! Any donation amount is greatly appreciated and so helpful to this great organization! You may make a donation online (chose 0% for the “Optional Processing Fee”), send a check to Opportunity Enterprises, 2801 Evans Avenue, Valparaiso, IN 46383 on my behalf (I have a form that you may find helpful) or give me a cash donation.

Again, thanks again for your support for this worthy cause!

Aaron

 

Opportunity Enterprises, Inc. is a non-profit organization in Northwest Indiana whose mission is to create sustainable life choices and opportunities for individuals with unique challenges and abilities. Opportunity Enterprises provides early intervention, transition, residential, occupational, and educational support services to more than 1,000 children and adults with developmental, emotional, and/or physical disabilities in Northwest Indiana. In the past thirteen years over 3,600 runners have raised over $1.7 million for Opportunity Enterprises. This year funds raised by the OE Marathon Team will support growth and development at OE Lakeside and the programs that are, or soon will be, housed there.

How Will my Fundraising be Used?

Funds raised by the Marathon Team this year will support growth and development at OE Lakeside and the programs that are, or soon will be, housed there – Enriching Possibilities, a curriculum-based program for individuals with moderate to severe disabilities,  the Renewed Horizons Adult Day Center, which serves senior adults with special needs, and Daily Living Skills, a program which teaches basic skills to individuals with severe to profound disabilities.  These three programs serve about 150 clients on a daily basis.

 

In 2007, Opportunity Enterprises acquired OE Lakeside, a 158-acre parcel of land and water on Lake Eliza.  Soon afterward, OE renovated the existing facilities and moved Enriching Possibilities and Renewed Horizons ADC from our work center on Evans Avenue to this lush, natural setting.  The moment these programs moved in, however, more space was needed.  Thanks to a very successful capital campaign, OE was able to raise over $3 million to expand facilities at Lakeside.

 

Funds raised to date have allowed us to begin construction on two projects:  the expansion of our day services building at Lakeside, which will nearly triple the number of clients which can be served there, and the construction of an apartment building including handicapped accessible units which are very difficult to find in Northwest Indiana.  With your help, OE will be able to raise the remainder of the money needed to complete construction, including the purchase of furniture and supplies, and also to support the programs offered at Lakeside.

 

Why is Lakeside Important?

As our community grows, OE has to grow with it.  Did you know that in the State of Indiana, there are more than 19,000 individuals who could potentially come into a service like OE?  In Northwest Indiana alone, there are approximately 2,500 people waiting to be served.  By continuing to expand our facilities and programs, OE will be able to serve more and more people with challenges and disabilities for generations to come.

An OE Success Story, Ricky Brockus

In his late teens, Ricky Brockus was involved in a serious motorcycle accident, resulting in a traumatic brain injury which made him unable to live independently.  Traumatic brain injuries are a bit tricky.  Often, surprising behaviors develop with no rhyme or reason, and it can become difficult to minimize those actions.  Depression is typical as well, especially if the person can remember their life before the accident, which Ricky can.  As a result, for years after his accident, Ricky was reclusive, desiring nothing more than to live his entire life with his elderly father.  He used to avoid group activities and put his hygiene at the bottom of his priority list.  After having lived in a nursing home during his 20’s, Ricky’s father sought help for him from OE.

 

Today, Ricky lives in a supported living apartment with two other men, and attends OE’s Enriching Possibilities Program at OE Lakeside.  While Ricky was a bit hesitant when he first moved in, and tended to stay by himself, it wasn’t long before Ricky began to make incredible progress.  He now engages himself with his roommates, and is no longer hiding in his bedroom.  He actually sits in the living room with his roommates, all three men chatting and making comments while they watch their favorite movie – “Grumpy Old Men.”  Ricky participates in cooking, and even enjoys it!  He is cleaning his home and does his share of the household chores.  If you ask him now why he looks so clean and handsome every day, he’ll say “Cause I’m looking for that lucky lady.”  Ricky  is also showing great progress with his behaviors and his negative self-talk is obsolete.

 

At one point, Ricky’s father had to restrict his visits with his son because he would fixate on wanting to live with him.  Now, Mr. Brockus can visit every weekend, and say good-bye peacefully and happily, knowing that his son is feeling good about himself and his life.

 

OE is privileged to have this lovely man in our services – someone who does not hold back compliments to women, who will serenade you if asked, and who can provide amazing insights into life’s little challenges.  Ricky is surpassing odds, changing his life completely, and, through hard work and determination, has moved from a life of sadness to one of great joy, friendships, and laughter.

$695

MONEY RAISED
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  • Aaron Vagelatos

    $75

  • John and Kim Chomica

    $25

  • Alex V.

    $50

  • Jerry & Andrea Vagelatos

    $10

  • JoAnn & Donn Davies

    $100

  • Nick and Yana Legatos

    $100

  • Letourneau Family

    $40

  • Traci Niles

     

  • Katie Ochs

    $25

  • Fay Donovan

    $25

  • Joseph Del Busto

    $10

  • Gary

    $50

  • Marilyn Lowenstine

    $15

  • John & Marie Lowenstine

    $100

  • Michael Del Busto

    $25

  • Chris, Katie & Matthew Joseforsky

    $25

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139% Raised of $500 Goal

The Team: $139,720 TOTAL RAISED SO FAR

Fundraiser Title

team praxair

Amount Raised

$6,082

 

94% Raised of $6,500 Goal

Fundraiser Title

john hudec

Amount Raised

$4,555

 

101% Raised of $4,500 Goal

Fundraiser Title

Leslie Nuss

Amount Raised

$4,212

 

21% Raised of $20,000 Goal

Fundraiser Title

Jeromy Sauls

Amount Raised

$3,093

 

103% Raised of $3,000 Goal

Fundraiser Title

Shirley Remijan

Amount Raised

$2,657

 

106% Raised of $2,500 Goal

Fundraiser Title

Allie Zikesch

Amount Raised

$2,300

 

92% Raised of $2,500 Goal

Fundraiser Title

Michelle McCaskey

Amount Raised

$2,252

 

113% Raised of $2,000 Goal

Fundraiser Title

Steve Lammers

Amount Raised

$2,165

Donor Comments

Chris, Katie & Matthew Joseforsky

Chris, Katie & Matthew Joseforsky

DONATION: $25

5 years ago

Michael Del Busto

Michael Del Busto

DONATION: $25

5 years ago

John & Marie Lowenstine

John & Marie Lowenstine

DONATION: $100

5 years ago

Marilyn Lowenstine

Marilyn Lowenstine

DONATION: $15

5 years ago

Gary

Gary

DONATION: $50

5 years ago

Joseph Del Busto

Joseph Del Busto

DONATION: $10

5 years ago

Fay Donovan

Fay Donovan

DONATION: $25

5 years ago

Katie Ochs

Katie Ochs

DONATION: $25

5 years ago

Traci Niles

Traci Niles

5 years ago

Letourneau Family

Letourneau Family

DONATION: $40

Proud of you Aaron! Keep it up. 5 years ago