Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Who I Run For

Remember how yesterday I was just overwhelmed and disheartened and overall unhappy?  Well, today I was given the greatest gift and it has turned my attitude around completely.

Today, I was informed that I was matched with a buddy in IRun4.  I Run 4 is an amazing organization that matches runners with children and adults who are unable to run due to illness and/or physical disability.  The only thing they require is that you dedicate your runs and workouts to your buddy and communicate regularly with them.  That's it!  The bond between runners and buddies is amazing and the IRun4 community is full of the most loving, encouraging and inspirational people that I have ever met.  Please consider looking into the organization if you are a runner and if you know of any children who would benefit from being partnered to a runner please consider signing them up to be matched as well.

My buddy's name is Jason.  Jason was born on May 26, 2013. He is the only boy and has 3 overprotective sisters. Jason was a normal healthy baby boy, but at the age of 2 months suffered a near SIDS episode that caused a severe brain injury. His diagnoses as of now are Spasticity, Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE), Quadriplegia, Contracture, joints in multiple areas, anoxic brain damage and potential joint contractures. He is one strong little fighter and miracle child and I am beyond honored to have the privilege of being his runner.

Look at that face! I just want to squish those cheeks!

All day long I was on cloud nine.  Don't get me wrong...all of the things that weighed so heavily on me yesterday are still there.  I still have a lot of decisions to make and things to figure out.  But in light of what Jason and his family fight through every day my issues seem so little and petty in comparison.  It made my heart happy that I could be Jason's running champion and in some way be an outlet of support and encouragement for his family as well.

As soon as the work day ended I headed out to the rec trail to get my run in.  I was beyond excited to run my first run for Jason!  What made it even better was that I got to share those miles with two of my favorite people, my friends Heather and Michele.  This run was so different from yesterday's run.  My body felt like it was floating, my feet were so light and I laughed the entire way.  It was like night and day!

4 miles for my buddy Jason

I truly believe everything happens for a reason.  When I was at my breaking point and thought I couldn't handle it anymore, I was given the gift of a little boy who is fighting so hard just to live.  His life may never be "normal" again but he has so many people whose lives he's touched, who he inspires with his strength and who love him.  My life is already a million times better just by knowing him. 

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