BENEFITING: Magic Foundation
On November 1st, 2014 George Chmiel will attempt to run 155-miles in Antarctica and complete the 4Deserts series (ranked by Time Magazine as one of the toughest endurance tests in the world).
He's running for his father Papa Chmiel, whose enduring back surgery the day the race begins, in support of The MAGIC Foundation, his goddaughter Luci Horvath, his good friend Max Zwain, and the thousands of children who battle everyday with life-threatening growth disorders. He'll be sporting a Red Bandana to honor heroic BC alum Welles Crowther.
Luci's Story: Mike and Jolie Horvath knew their lives had changed forever when Luci was born in August of 2006. Luci was their first child and post-birth tests quickly showed that she had some serious complications. Luci’s first weeks of life were spent in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit undergoing grueling tests, suffering from extremely low blood sugar and fighting to maintain a regular body temperature. After weeks of battling unknown illness and a series of meetings with doctors and endroconologists, Luci was finally diagnosed with panhypopituitarism.
Luci was born without a functioning pituitary gland and because of that her body is deficient of adrenal hormone, thyroid hormone and growth hormone. Without these hormones, Luci’s body is unable to grow and develop like other children. Simple injuries, illnesses or even emotional stress can cause her body to shut down. When Luci crashes, she needs emergency injections to save her life. There are treatments for her condition, but there is no cure. This is a condition Luci and her parents will continue to battle for the rest of Luci’s life.
Luci has no days off. Luci, and thousands of other children like her, have to fight hard every day just to stay alive. It is her courage, spirit, strength and endurance that have inspired me to push my physical, mental and emotional limits.
Max's Story: Max is a 26 year-old young man who has Russell-Silver Syndrome, a growth and endocrine disorder. He is also growth hormone deficient. He has had many health-related issues, spending days or weeks in the hospital for treatments. Often requiring IV treatments at home as well.
On top of these serious conditions, in 2012, it was discovered that Max had severe scoliosis. He had a spinal fusion in July 2013, which is an absolute monster surgery and has suffered from intolerable pain, numbness and further complications, many of which are ongoing. I've seen him in person, in so much pain, where it's simply impossible to move or get out of the chair. No one deserves that. Yet despite it all, he remains optimistic and has an attitude towards life we should all strive for.
As Max has gotten older these challenges have unfortunately continued. It would be easy for him to get discouraged and deflect frustration. Or even anger. Many people would've thrown in the towel and given up the fight. But not him. He chooses the high road. He chooses to be a warrior. And a huge inspiration to so many of us.
People ask me all the time how the heck do you run 155-miles in these crazy locations? Well take a look at what Max endures every single day. If he can battle something so much harder, so much more painful, and do it for years and years and years, I can suck it up for five days and run with his courage, strength and determination.
For all those of you who have donated to the "There's No Stopping Growth Campaign" I want to send a HUGE THANK YOU!!! Your money supports individuals like Max, who represent the absolute best of the human spirit.
The MAGIC Foundation is a national non-profit organization created to provide support services for the families of children afflicted with a wide variety of chronic and/or critical disorders, syndromes and diseases that affect a child’s growth. Since its inception in 1989 the Foundation has grown to include support services for adults who were also impacted by these disorders.
Our Motto: Children have a short time to grow and a lifetime to live with the results!©
George's Story: Prior to his 4Deserts quest, which has now spanned 6 continents and 2500+ miles, George was your typical runner. Didn't enjoy it and clearly wasn't good at it. But he was looking to change his life and make a difference so he committed to improving. He first gained inspiration from his extraordinary goddaughter Luci Horvath. Luci has a rare and severe growth hormone disorder called panhypopituitarism. Her body doesn't produce many key hormones needed to survive. She has no days off. She has to fight to stay alive. Yet she pushes on, time and time again, with a big smile on her face.
It is her courage, spirit, and perserverance that motivated me to start running, and keep running, despite a serious ankle injury. I run beside her. I Run With Luci.
I also run alongside the thousands of other children who fight valiantly everyday against growth related disorders. It's been moving to follow so many of these children's lives over the years. I run for The MAGIC Foundation...the Non-Profit that has dedicated over 25-years of blood, sweat and tears providing support, education and guidance to these families, who are often in desparate need of help. Remarkable work.
And finally for the average Joe's out there, who like me, have been told you're not big enough, fast enough, strong enough, smart enough, tough enough, etc to achieve your stretch goals. And to the dreamers, the underdogs, the has-beens, those coming off the DL or simply those who refuse to give up or give in...I run in our collective spirit!
"Don't ask for an easier life or a lighter load. Be a stronger person. Work harder. Love deeper. Accept responsibility. Be vulnerable. The world owes you nothing. Nor does anyone else. Earn it." - George Chmiel