Running with a Purpose

I enjoy running.  I’ve been running for about 10 or 11 years now, and it keeps me in better shape (though I fear the jiggle in my belly will never go away) and gives me a reason / excuse for being outside a lot in the nicer weather.  Since I generally run by myself, it also is nice alone time where I can think or pray or just enjoy hearing the birds and seeing what’s going on around my little town.  And when I’ve had a rotten day at work, running is a great stress reliever.  I just really enjoy running.

But I had been thinking for a while about running for a cause.  You know, like the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, which raises money for breast cancer research, or Team in Training, which is for leukemia and lymphoma research.  But while I’m sure those are fantastic organizations, I’m not emotionally linked to them in anyway.  I don’t know anyone right now facing those battles.

We have some friends, Jason and Andrea, who have adopted a little girl.  I found out about a year ago, I think, that their little girl, Abigail, has neurofibromatosis.  HUH?  What is that unpronouncable condition?  What does it mean?  Good question.  I didn’t know, and when I looked on websites about it, there was too much information for my brain to process.  Imagine how Jason and Andrea felt with all that information.  This isn’t just something cerebral for them, but soemthing very real and personal and emotional.  (Andrea has explained Abigail’s condition, known as NF1, on her blog in this post.)

I was on Facebook one day last summer, and I posted about some race I was training for or had finished.  Andrea responded and said that there is a way to raise money for NF research by running — just like the Susan G. Komen or the Team in Training organizations.  It’s called NF Endurance.  I thought about it, looked into it, and even prayed about it.  I didn’t feel like I got any clear answer from God about whether to do it or not, so I just let it drop and stopped thinking about it.

But since I read Andrea’s blog every day (well, not so much anymore since Facebook, Twitter, and blogs — even my own — are now blocked at work so I can only catch up with my social networking on Wednesdays when I work for Chef since we don’t have internet at home… but all that is beside the point right now)… well, where was I?  I should really stop interrupting myself.  Oh yes.  I read Andrea’s blog and keep up with her on Facebook.  And Abigail and the effects that NF1 has on her were before me daily.  And I thought, “Why not just do it?”  Really, joining this team isn’t a lot of work for me.  Or rather, it’s as much work as I want to make it.  I’m going to be running anyway (I already have four races planned for this year: two 5Ks in  April, a 10K in June, and a 15K in September.  And I’m considering a half marathon in October), so why not sign up for something that helps my running make a difference?

I admit, I’m not a great fund raiser.  I’m not a good sales person, and I don’t do well asking for money for anything.  So I don’t really know how much money I’ll raise.  But the NF Endurance organization will provide me with a shirt that I will wear at my races, so that at the very least may raise awareness of this disease.  And I get to show support for Jason and Andrea, who were there for Chef and me during a very difficult time in our lives.

Here is a link to my fund raising page for the NF Endurance Team.  It would be great if you would consider donating.

I would really like to list my races separately on the fund raising page, but right now, since the races I’m running aren’t official NF Endurance races, I can’t figure out how to do that.  (I was told the races don’t have to be NF Endurance races, but it seems to make the whole web page thing a little trickier unless you have just one event.  I’m confused about it right now, but I’ll let you know if I make any progress!)  But just so you know, I am running the Yorktown YMCA 5K on Saturday, April 3; the Cardinal Greenway 5K on Saturday, April 24; the Cardinal Greenway 10K on Saturday, June 19; and the Cardinal Greenway 15K on Saturday, September 25.

So… all that to say that while running for fitness and relaxation and alone time and sanity are all great reasons to run, I now have one more reason to run.

Abigail.

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Thelma
    Apr 01, 2010 @ 12:08:22

    I love love LOVE that you are doing this… your link got me thinking, and turns out, there’s something similar in Canada! Hoping I can run with a purpose too… for Len, for Abigail, and all the others affected by NF1 in so many varying ways.
    You rock, Karen!

  2. rita
    Apr 01, 2010 @ 12:29:46

    Go, Karen!!!
    Hope to join you on one or more of these and will be looking into the NF1 thing.
    It was good to see Abigail and family on their blog and remember meeting them at your house!

  3. Tracy
    Apr 01, 2010 @ 14:54:34

    I think what you are doing for your friend is absolutely wonderful. 🙂

  4. Joe Gunn
    Apr 01, 2010 @ 16:00:02

    Awesome! I am finishing up my degree from Ball State and have been really active with the team since 2007. (I live in Brown County right now though.) I’m team captain at the Indy Mini this year for NF Endurance. If I can ever be of any help to you with team related stuff, just let me know.

  5. Andrea
    Apr 01, 2010 @ 19:50:43

    This is still amazing and wonderful to us. Even if you already would have been running. 🙂

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