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"

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