Assisting families with disabled children
I am honored to be representing EMC in running the 2013 Boston Marathon to raise money for the Lisnow Respite Center. The Center is a wonderful facility that provides respite care for parents and caregivers of disabled children as well as for adults.
I am part of a 20-member team chosen from all around the globe to represent EMC Corporation in this race to raise money for the Lisnow Center.
EMC is a leader in support for the Respite Center’s Scholarship fund and to date has raised over one million dollars. This is the twelfth year EMC has been part of the Marathon team and EMC has agreed to match the first seventy five thousand dollars our team raises in marathon pledges.
I am certainly excited to run the Boston Marathon--as many of you know, running has been my lifeline for over 28 years. I have run marathons and many half-marathons, but have not run Boston. But as excited as I am to run Boston, I am very excited about the opportunity to help the Respite Center. As our daughter Cathryn has special needs, this cause is very personal for me. I understand personally what it means to have a child with a disability and the extreme toll it takes--not only on the child, but also on the family, emotionally and financially. Providing medical and psychological care for a child with disabilities requires everything a parent can come up with including energy, a positive attitude, prayer, great friends, and unfortunately, a significant amount of money.
Many of you have supported Elisa and me in the physically, mentally, and financially exhausting journey that we continue to walk with Cathryn. We have been so fortunate to have the love and care of friends, family, co-workers, and our church. The names are too numerous to list, but I simply don't know how we would have made it through the last year without every one of you. You are our strength and our hope. You have been our respite center of Charlotte.
Cathryn is now 12 years old and Elisa and I continue to devote all of our resources to help her cope with her disability. Each and every day is a challenge for Cathryn to simply survive in a world that does not really understand mental illness, especially with children.
In July 2011, we reached a point in Cathryn’s treatment where she was screaming out for help that our local resources in Charlotte simply could not support. With the urging of our therapist, we elected to enroll Cathryn in a therapeutic wilderness program, SUWS of Idaho, which teaches coping skills to children with emotional and mental difficulties. This was to be a 28-day experience; instead Cathryn needed 64 days to work with her issues.
After Cathryn returned home in September 2011, we had a relapse in December and we had no choice but to hospitalize Cathryn for almost a month, over Christmas and New Year’s. Our church, family, and friends have supported us every step of our journey and we will forever be grateful.
My manager, Scott Peyser, graciously gave his personal airline mileage to transport Elisa, Cathryn, and me across country for the trips to Idaho. My fantastic Bank of America team, including Trevor Duke, Craig Coe, and Dan Zugelder made it possible for me to step back from my duties as TC Manager to focus on my family during this time.
Diane Arciero, my friend and colleague in New York, raffled an iPad that she personally donated in order to raise money for our medical debts that were directly related to Cathryn’s care. Amazingly, our friends and co-workers contributed to this fund and raised over $7,000 to support the financial needs of our family. I cannot describe the humbling feeling of having friends and colleagues help in this way.
EMC has positively supported my family and me over the past 6 years. Elisa and I feel fortunate to raise our daughters in a stable, healthy, loving environment. We know the necessary tools, skills, and care that are required to support a child with disabilities and special needs. While we were able to create our own support system in Charlotte, we are grateful that a center like the Lisnow Respite Center is available to help others.
For this reason, I am honored to run with Team EMC in support of the Center and will further explore ways to give to others what our family has received from all of you. We are taking Cathryn and Elisabeth to Boston when I run in April. We
will have an opportunity to visit the Center and to meet some of the families who will receive assistance from our fundraising.
Please join me in supporting this incredible organization. Any dollar amount you are capable of contributing makes a huge difference in providing help to other families in need.
With gratitude and hope,