Running the Boston Marathon to revitalize sports programs in areas impacted by hurricane Sandy.
On April 15th I am proud to be running in the 2013 Boston Marathon for Dream Big!, a charity whose mission is “Helping low-income and homeless girls achieve their dreams by providing the basic items necessary to enable them to participate in sports and physical activity, helping to lay the foundation for healthy, active lifestyles and quality learning experiences.” Dream Big!, though a Massachusetts based charity, has offered assistance to their neighbors in need and here is how it all happened.
On October 29th, life in Long Beach and surrounding areas was turned upside down by the devastation suffered by Hurricane Sandy. Within a few short days, the support started pouring in and as a city we came together to start the rebuild and to get our lives back on track. It certainly hasn’t been easy, and there have been days when you just want to give up, and we still have a long road ahead of us. However, the thought of our beautiful beaches coming alive again is what is keeping us going.
If you know me personally, you were probably aware that I was scheduled to run the NYC Marathon on November 4th, and while it was ultimately cancelled I had previously made the decision not to run so that I could focus on helping my fellow Long Beach residents get back to some sort of normalcy. I also did not feel it was right to pull much needed resources away from recovery efforts for the marathon.
Fast forward just 3 weeks later and imagine how I felt when I got an email saying Dream Big! wanted to speak with me regarding my Boston Marathon charity application. I immediately thought “how could I do this?” “how could I run for an organization in Boston when there is so much needed right here in Long Beach?” It didn’t seem right, but I agreed to speak with Linda of Dream Big! and explain the situation and my plan was to say “thank you, but it is just not a good time”. Linda understood but then proposed the most wonderful idea … would I be interested in running the Boston Marathon on the Dream Big! team and have a good portion of the funds I raise go towards girls sports programs in Long Beach? Linda said she would make some calls and get back to me…..just 24 hours later Linda contacted me again to say that her and the Dream Big! Board of Directors saw the importance of helping children impacted by the storm and that a portion of the funds raised by me for Dream Big! could be used to provide girls and the programs that serve them, in storm impacted areas in NY with equipment grants and program scholarships. I was absolutely floored, I thought I was dreaming and I broke down crying after Linda told me the spot on the Dream Big! Marathon Team was mine. True to her word, Linda forwarded me my welcome package, along with the tremendous offer that 80% of all funds I raise for Dream Big! would be distributed to provide girls and the programs that serve them in storm impacted areas. I will be working with our local recreation director, coaches, schools and other youth organizations to revitalize the existing sporting programs compromised by the storm, and to bring the opportunity to participate in the programs to those who have not been fortunate to do so.
As many of you know, I have instilled the athletic spirit in my daughters. From swimming, soccer, dancing, ice skating, gymnastics to running, Katherine & Elizabeth are always on the move and I truly believe that sports not only have a positive physical impact on their lives, but also on their overall wellbeing. While we have been very fortunate to have the means to allow our daughters to participate in a whole host of activities, it breaks my heart to see some kids sitting on the bleachers or watching through the fence because they do not have the means or confidence to be a part of an organized sporting program.
Over the next 5 months the Dream Big! Marathon Team, made up of myself and 14 other runners from around the world, will work to raise over $75,000 for Dream Big!. My personal goal is $5,000 (and remember, 80% of what I raise for Dream Big! will be available for sporting programs in areas affected by the storm) and I hope you will join me in support of this important cause by sponsoring my 26.2 mile marathon run with a donation to Dream Big!. I am appreciative of any support you can give to this remarkable cause. No donation is too little, no gesture too small. For more information on Dream Big! go to: www.dream-big.org