Now that we are into the "official season", our weekly team run begins with what is called the “Mission Moment”. Each week a member of the team will be asked to tell the group the reason why they have chosen to run for the American Liver Foundation. I have been looking forward to this weekly addition since it was added to the schedule not so much to tell my own story but to hear the stories of others.
In life, your own story and reasons for doing things are always your greatest motivation. This is with good reason: they are what drives YOU. But often, when focusing on a goal or challenge you become so lost in yourself and your mission that you tend to lose sight of what’s going on around you. You become so dependent on looking inward for inspiration that you become blind to the plight of others who may have the same goal or experience reaching it. Often, what inspires or drives someone else to succeed can bring you back “outside” of yourself and provides a sharper focus on the task at hand. Whether from teamwork, camaraderie, competition, or, yes, even apathy: we all have fed off of and gained motivation from others at one time or another.
This week’s speaker was a fellow by the name of Jim who just moments before, no doubt seeing me as a newcomer, had come over and introduced himself. This will be his third year running the Boston Marathon for the Run For Research Team. This does not include his first year when he became part of the team as a non-runner. You see in his first year, 2010, he did not run the Marathon. 2010 was the year he had a life saving liver transplant…at 59 years old…and he ran the Boston Marathon a year later in 2011…and again in 2012. Amazing.
Jim spoke of how much the Run For Research means in the lives of those, young and old, stricken with liver disease. He spoke of how 25 years ago when the Run For Research was started the life span of a transplant recipient was approximately five years. Essentially, undergoing a liver transplant coupled with the side effects of the medications required to survive afterward merely prolonged the misery of these poor souls lucky enough to receive one. Jim stated, unequivocally, that due to the efforts of the American Liver Foundation and it’s charity programs that major advancements have been made in the procedures, medication, research, and education related to liver disease so that folks like him are alive today and able to live normal lives (much less run a couple of marathons).
The point that Jim was making, not as a charity runner but as a survivor who has directly benefitted from and has seen the impact of what the Run For Research provides for others, was that all of us - the runners, the donors, the people in the organization, etc. - DO make a difference.
The phrase “every step I take and every dollar I raise makes a difference in the lives of others” isn’t just fundraising BS. The proof of that was standing right next to me. A few moments later, that same proof was just ahead of me chugging along at his own pace, the pace of a man with a true second wind, up Beacon Street and on the way out to Brookline.
Please check out my personal page as well information about the American Liver Foundation and the Run For Research at:
Thanks for reading! Most importantly, thank you for your kind words and support. I just cannot say it enough. Every little bit helps and is GREATLY APPRECIATED.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and their families! Catch you next week!