Wednesday, October 1, 2008

sunday Sunday SUNDAY (echo, echo, echo)

The Lakefront Marathon is Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! Just a few days until my husband, my friend, my love, brings it all to the finish line. We were dumbfounded by his strength and perseverance last year when he ran it for the first time (pictured here just beyond the finish line upon seeing his firstborn in tears of pride for his accomplishment), but this year my girls and I have even more reason to shake our heads in amazement at this quiet, steady force that is their dad and my husband.

Michael heard about firstgiving after running last year. This vehicle for fundraising was reason enough to get him to toss on a bib again this year, though he had other reasons of his own. Without much ado, he set up his page to support the Special Friends Foundation - an organization that supports Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome research, as well as individual families that need assistance with the impact of RTS.

He humbly asked me if I thought a goal of $2,500 was too lofty. We liked the number because we got Addie's diagnosis when she was 2.5 years old - sounded good to me. But once he flipped the switch on his page, within about 48 hours, we got smacked in the face with a stunning reality.

The reality was that our friends and family, friends and family of others affected by RTS and people we don't even know... had apparently just been waiting to be asked.

The immediate and generous response had little movies snapping in my head. Movies of index fingers I know, index fingers I don't know tapping us on the shoulder, firmly holding out bills to us with hearts drawn on them. Among those with cash in hand, there were those without anything in their hands. Those people had hearts drawn on their palms, which framed their mouths as they hollared to all who could hear "Look! Look what's happening here, be a part! Get involved if you can!" In these movies, I'd look at the hearts on the cash, on the hands, confused, awe-struck and then follow the hand, the arm up to the faces. The smile on these known and unknown faces cleared the fog, cancelled the confusion and allowed us to humbly take these hearts, these bills in both hands and put them in the box marked Special Friends. Oh, yes. People are good. They love Michael or they love Addie, or they love someone else with RTS, or they love someone with any struggle. Or they just plain love.

I'm talking about you. You know who you are. We love you, too.

Michael's training has been tapering down now and he is feeling good. He's ready. I think this week that feels like waiting is a little tough on him. All the weather watching and the short runs leave too much thinking time. But he feels ready. It's a heavy load this year, taking all of you with him, all of the families affected by RTS across the finish line. If there's one thing I know without it doubt, it's that he's got the strength to do it.

So far, Michael has raised 4 times his original goal (the site will be active until December). Impossible without you all handing over your hearts, without Tom and the William Starck Jones Foundation's $4,000 match that will be posted on the site soon. The impact this can have on families, on Addie's friends, cannot be counted, cannot be measured. Saying thank you doesn't seem enough.

Think of Addie's number 1 hero Sunday morning. Think of his feet hitting the pavement, of his steady heartbeat, of the sweat he wipes away. Because you will be with him.


Jessica mommy to Alex/ RTS said...

Will be cheering him on, this Sunday!
Love you guys!

Brandi said...

We will be thinking of you on Sunday Michael! Thank you for running for Nathan. It brought a tear to my eye when the reality hit that you were running for us and all of the other RTS kids!

Mom to Nathan 24 weeks RTS

Kristi said...

I will be thinking of him as well on Sunday.. This is so great. Good luck