When you do something for reasons greater than yourself and you have a team of amazing family and friends supporting that vision there is nothing you can’t do! When approached by 110%. Play Harder. to be part the 110% Give Harder team to run 110 miles to raise donations to find a cure for breast cancer it did not take but a minute to say ABSOLUTELY YES! My family was touched by breast cancer and 21 years ago we lost our Grammy Young from this deadly disease. She was 62 years old and for 6 months we sat by her side and watched her fight as hard as she could. When she passed away there was, and still is, a void but with that void comes memories of one of the most beautiful and loving figures in our life.
I called my sister, Heather, and asked if she would relay the first 84 miles of the 110 miles to the start of the “National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer” then we would run the marathon course together to the finish line to cover 110K of running each. Heather did not even think twice, she was ready to be there by my side and to help raise awareness and donations! It did not stop there! Our Dad heard what we were doing and he flew in from upstate NY to crew for Heather and I. He loves his babies and we love him 10x more back 🙂
The support we received from family, friend and even those we did not even know both in the form of donations and in cheers was overwhelming! Heather and I were so touched by how many had family and friends that were also touched by breast cancer and also those that donated that had loved ones that had to fight other types of cancer. We began to fill posters of those we were running in memory, honor and celebration of to carry with us for the last part of our run to honor their strength and courage.
The Mission of the Donna 26.2 is to “passionately produce world-class events to raise funds for ground breaking breast cancer research and empower women living with breast cancer.” and the 110% Give Harder Foundations mission is to “seeks to motivate, inspire and lead others to live more active lifestyles while simultaneously giving back to their community.” We are blessed with our health and ability to participate in endurance events and this was our chance to pay it forward.
Heather and I enjoyed running with brothers Jim and Ted! It was the sibling run team but they were running the full 110 miles (our heros)! We also loved hanging out with Dad on our off miles and were thankful when Dad followed us close in the car through the night to make sure we were safe.
The temps dropped significantly when the sun went down on Saturday and in the darkness you could feel the 20 degree temps chilling you to the bone even with 5 layers of clothes on. We remember what a friend told us about chemo and what it was really like and all we could say is, “No matter how difficult this is it is not even close to what chemo feels like!” and we kept moving forward.
As we finished the last 9 miles with the posters in hand we felt like we were flying. We know Grammy Young was there with us and gave us wings. We are proud to say we are on our way to reaching our goal of raising $110K for breast cancer research and to help woman financially that are currently fighting breast cancer. Thank you to everyone who supported us though this journey. We are forever grateful!!
From Heather (my amazing sister and coach…I love you!!)…
Being part of the 110% Give Harder Foundation is still very surreal. I am so completely humbled by the graciousness, love, and support of others. Before we started the 110 mile journey my head was clear, but my heart was full of love, joy, and faith. I knew at that moment I was exactly where I belonged. There were so many memorable moments during the 23 hours and 40 minutes. I enjoyed running with Jim and Ted Philip. Their focus and determination was inspiring. My Dad! He drove the crew car and stayed up all night watching his girls run. His dedication is amazing. Being with my sister Kellie is always what makes these experiences that much more meaningful. There doesn’t need to be words or conversation. Just her and me running. Around 4am, I remember thinking about how serene it was on the streets. I became sad for a moment as I wished my sister Carrie was there too. However, in the next moment I realized she was. I never go anywhere without the two of them. They are a part of me. Now this experience has become a part of me too. Would I do it again? Yes, in a heartbeat, and I would go further next time. Why? Simple, the people we were running for. That is what this was all about. Not me, not a road, and not a finishing time. It was about people. It was for the people we love and are gone, it was for the people fighting, and the people that will fight this battle. With each step I had hope. In the words of John Wesley, I believe that we should “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you can.”