Note: this post is selfish. Just warning you.
A few people have asked whether or not I’m doing this as part of a larger Fundraising goal. So, I wanted to take a moment and write about this very specific piece.
Let’s cut to the chase: I’m personally not doing this to raise money for any organization. Before I go any further, though, I really encourage folks to do this as a fundraiser. It’s a fantastic way to stay motivated, to focus on something other than the pain of running (haha!), and to do some good. If you want some of my suggestions, here is what I have done in the past:
1. Raise money for a particular family or friend who is currently experiencing health issues. This past year, it was a great privilege to be part of a team that raised money for my friend Richard Matthew (appendix cancer) and our little buddy Ian Mass (recurring retinoblastoma). Money raised for a specific person is incredibly helpful. See my post on “The Importance of Fundraising“. We still owe a great deal of thanks to all the people who raised money for us when Joli was sick – it really did ease a lot of the pain throughout those years (and it continues!)
2. Camp Sunshine (www.campsunshine.org) is where we spend 1 week during the summer. It’s a camp for families with a child with a life threatening illness. We attend Retinoblastoma week, and it has truly changed our lives. For one week a year, there are dozens of little kids with retinoblastoma (like my daughter, Joli) and they get to feel “normal” — no one asking about their prosthetic eyes, no one teasing them, no one pointing at bald heads from chemo, etc. It’s just a great chance to be a kid! $1500 allows a family to attend Camp for 1 full week.
3. ASPIRE (Asian Sisters Participating in Reaching Excellence) www.girlsaspire.org is an organization that helps mentor Asian American girls to build confidence and self esteem. I’m on the Board of Directors, and truly believe in the importance of mentoring and community responsibility.
4. Any organizations that assist the people and communities of Haiti are high on my list as well.
So, why am I not fundraising this time around?
I need to focus on me. I do. I’m the type of person who puts other people first — every day. I’ve made excuses throughout the years, made choices throughout the years, to put others first. Some of those excuses fell under the “well, that’s just what Moms do” category. Some fell under “I’ve got to further my career” category. Some fell under “It’s easier to focus on other people than on myself.”
While getting fit for the 1/2 marathon and the mastectomy certainly have benefits for my family and my children, I am doing it for myself. I want to be healthy. I want to be in the best shape possible to undergo this surgery. I want to focus mentally and emotionally; spiritually and physically. I want to push through my own pain, manage my own doubts, control and experience my own fear. I want to feel the rush of life, crumble from the tears, and emerge stronger. For myself.
I’m still doing speaking engagements for Camp Sunshine, raising money for families with cancer, influencing an organization for young girls, and contributing financially to the healing of Haiti. I’m just not doing it through my running — not this time around. I’m focusing on me.
Selfish, yes. Necessary, absolutely.
I do hope that my fellow team mates or supporters define ways to make their experience meaningful, too. It’s a long training session, a long run, and a long road ahead!
Peace and love,