Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pay It Forward

I had the pleasure of volunteering my time this past Saturday to help a group of dedicated runners and walkers training for the Baltimore Marathon and Half Marathon. Not only did this group run either 21 miles for the full marathon or 13 for the half marathon, but they did it for a greater cause, to help individuals and families that are dealing with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. Each runner has committed to raising a minimum of $1500 for the Maryland Chapter, many of whom have raised hundreds if not thousands above the minimum amount.

I was really struggling this past week to motivate myself to run and to inspire myself to stay positive. I would have been 6 months pregnant this week and I found myself feeling very sad last week. Saturday morning I woke up excited to cheer for the runners and find a sense of hope from these selfless individuals so dedicated to a cause. It did not take long for me to be re-inspired that morning. What an amazing group. First of all, everyone ran with a smile on their face the entire 21 or 13 miles. The "Team Unforgettable" , as they are called, was just that, unforgettable and my motivation for the week ahead, both physically and emotionally. I am in awe of how a group of strangers can come together and bring so much awareness to a cause while inspiring others to challenge themselves to do something that forces you to look outside your own comfort zone and accomplish a goal that many only dream about.

That is when the idea hit me about Paying It Forward. That is essentially what these folks are doing. Many on the team do have a personal connection to Alzheimer's disease, and others still, don't know anyone who has ever been affected by the disease. They are simply good people doing a good deed, paying it forward in the hopes that their $1600 will mean a cure will one day be possible. If more people looked at small deeds having large outcomes, the world would be a better place.

With that said, that is my goal this week, Pay it Forward. I left the NCR Trail that morning feeling motivated to do my first deed. So..I stopped for a coffee and paid for the gentleman behind me, he seemed confused at first, but as we left the Starbuck's, he simply smiled and thanked me for my generousity. Later that day, Efrain offered a homeless man $10, the look on his face said it all, $10 meant he would not go hungery that one day. I will never know if that gentleman passed on my good deed, or if the homeless man did get himself a good meal, but I have to beleive that our small token will play a larger role in someone's live one day. Afterall, that is why people join Team Unforgettable. They know that their funds will not find a cure tomorrow, but it will be a catalyst in finding a cure for someone's father, mother, grandmother, sister and wife.

I have to remind myself that is why I am training for the Richmond Half Marathon. I have made it a goal to raise $1600 for Trisomy 18 Foundation. I know that my funds will help researchers continue to find a way to prevent Trisomy 18 from affecting any fetus. Just recently I joined the Trisomy 18 foundation Facebook Page, and saw a great article on a a breakthrough research at University of Florida, in which they beleive that doctor's may be getting closer to determining what causes chromosome abnormalities such as Trisomy 18 and how this can be prevented in the future. This research is possible because of funds raised through the Foundation. Not only that, but it provides vital awareness and a caring community for families faced with such a diagnosis. No one should have to go through the pain and suffering that I felt this past June, and I will continue to do all that I can to play my small part in making sure Alex's Legacy lives on through my efforts to raise funds and awareness for Trisomy 18 Foundation.

I urge everyone to Pay It Forward in some way in your live. If you have a cause that has affected someone close to you, a friend, a neighbor, a relative, be proactive and do something to make a change. Whether it be training for a marathon, walking in a 5K or volunteering for the Red Cross, your small deed plays a bigger role in someone's life, if not today, maybe tomorrow, maybe next year...it is not important when, but simply that you can and will make a difference and that is all that really matters.

"To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world"

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Live for Today

I spend this past Labor Day Weekend at the Ocean City beach with my parents and my mother in law visiting from Colombia. We had a blast, enjoyed amazing weather and I took a ton of pictures to remember the weekend. This picture is my favorite memory of the weekend. My husband, Efrain, decided to lay in the sand and Elena just laid down right next to him! It was such a simple act but so touching to see her emulate her daddy! To just see her look at him it made that moment seem like a lifetime. My mind of course immediately turned to what I would be inspired to write about this week. Watching Elena get lost in that 30 seconds of sandy bliss, I found my title, Live for Today.

Too many people (myself included) want more in their life. We get caught up the "American Way", " wanting a bigger house, a better car, more clothes, more money, our idea of a better life. But when we take the time to look at what we have today in our life, that is when we should count our blessings and know that God has given us today and we should not waste it thinking about tomorrow. Life is not about what we have, rather what we do, what we give, what we have done. I want to look back on my life and know that I made a difference in this world, whether that simply means being the best mom that I can be, the best wife that I can be or perhaps my life will touch someone else and inspire them to do the same, I want to look back and know that I lived a life that mattered!

I recently applied for a part time job at the MAC Harbor East to work in the Kids Club. I am very excited about the opportunity to work for the MAC and I look forward to being working with the infants and toddlers for a few hours a week. I attended a "Communications Seminar" yesterday evening and I wanted to share one aspect of the seminar that I thought fits perfectly with this weeks inspiration. We were asked to read an article about the new president of the IHRSA, International Health, Racquet and Sports Club Association. The article poses questions about if you can name 10 people who have won the Noble Peace Prize and then asks if you can name 3 friends who helped you through a difficult time? The moral being " The people who make a difference aren't the ones with the most credentials, the most money or the most awards- they're the ones who care."

If we focus to much on trying to impress others with money and material things, we forget how to simply impress others with our compassion and love for life. I left the seminar last night and I was so energized that I decided to run! I couldn't stop, I ran for about 50 minutes and came home to the pleasant surprise of my husband asking me to dinner. It was such a fun evening spent just talking and enjoying the moment. That is how I want to live my life. Each day is new and exciting and I don't want to miss out enjoying the now because I am worried about the future. The article from yesterday goes on to read, "It doesn't matter if you have or haven't don a great job in the past. Everything can change for the better today."

I hope that Alex is looking down and he knows that he is the reason that I am changing my outlook on life. I have not felt this humble and alive in many years. I feel so lucky to be where I am in my life. My sadness has brought me more happiness, and that is something I will forever remember as Alex's legacy in my life.

Til next time, enjoy each day,