Friday, February 27, 2015

Waiting for Inspiration

Over the course of my six seasons on the DFMC team, I have made an effort to communicate frequently with my contact list of donors. This list is filled with family, friends--new and old, work colleagues--past and present, friends’ of family, friends’ of friends, and even kind and generous strangers. I am in awe of the number of people that support me throughout my training and fundraising endeavors. Many, year after year. Thanks to all of you, I have raised, to date, $66,733.60 toward innovative cancer research for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

My communication is most often in the form of an email letter--one that takes me quite a bit of time to write, edit, read, re-edit, re-read and then finally send. I want my messages to be thoughtful, organized, and engaging and I aim for concise...I really do try. All told, I am usually good for about 5-10 email letters each season.

I spend many miles thinking up things to write about and will often laugh out loud during these mobile brainstorming sessions. This past week, I was thinking that I could write a message about my newly acquired talent of blowing my nose while running without falling. Or how I discern between which ice patches to run around and which to attempt to skate over (I made a bad choice last week...). Last weekend, it was car shopping (I am leaning toward the new Toyota Highlander) and attempting difficult math equations in my head related to work productivity (don’t ask).

Despite being over half way through my training season, I have only written and sent one letter so far. It isn’t because I forgot or can’t think of things to write about. And it certainly isn’t because fundraising means less to me this year than in previous years. I have simply been waiting for inspiration.

Today I was having lunch with a good friend who was telling me about a charity walk she does every year. She simply stated, “This is my thing.” And there it was.

Running for DFMC is MY thing. Every aspect of this experience has meaning for me. I must release a lot of endorphins because running makes me feel great all day. My long runs are meditative--I spent quality time alone thinking, dreaming, planning and reflecting. Every dollar I raise is a tangible representation of my efforts that I can then give back to Dana-Farber. My Dad and I spend precious time together driving from Philadelphia to Boston and back, listening to hours and hours of Willie Nelson. Joining DFMC’s In Memory program 3 years ago has connected me to the Smyths--I run in memory of their son, Jonathan. Jonathan and my mom, Patty are buried two gravestones away from one another in Wadsworth Cemetery in Sudbury, MA.

Most meaningfully, everyday that I am running for DFMC, I am connecting with my Mom who died almost 21 years ago.

I believe that there are no coincidences. The Boston Marathon always occurs within days (and sometimes on the same day) of the anniversary of my mom’s death--April 21st. That night in 1994, after our mom died, my sister, Regan, brother, Sean, and I went for a walk around our neighborhood. With our arms linked, we were in disbelief that Mom was gone, but felt confident that she would keep us close forever. Mom immediately gave us a wink by sending not one, but two shooting stars over our heads. Fast forward two decades, we have all been together in April celebrating Mom at the Finish Line year after year.

I like goals. My first year on the DFMC team, I thought reaching my fundraising goal of $10,000 was a bit lofty, yet I have exceeded that total year after year. While I was sitting at my 2nd pre-race pasta party in 2010, I impulsively announced to my family that my goal was to run for DFMC 5 times. Now that I am gearing up for race #6, my new goal is to continue running for DFMC until my fundraising total has exceeded $100,000.

Thank you for cheering me on along the way!! XO AMY

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