Running for a Cause

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finishWhether you are new to running or a seasoned veteran, supporting a charity can be powerful motivator to training.  I know from experience – raising money for a good cause is easy to do and is extremely rewarding. 

For the past few years, I’ve committed to raising money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital in conjunction with my participation in the Memphis Marathon.  St. Jude is a fabulous organization.  Not only is it one of the world’s premier cancer research centers, but no family is ever turned away for inability to pay. I’ve spoken to many families who have been served by St. Jude – they can’t say enough about the good that this facility does for families that have been tragically affected by childhood cancers. Thanks to donations from countless athletes and those that support them, St. Jude is able to provide first class medical treatment, lodging, meals and transportation for families. 

Raising money for a good cause is easy to do.  For my first year of fundraising, I sent a single email to friends and colleagues asking for their support.  In a few days time, I had raised over $1,000!  In the years since, I’ve added a few more emails, blog posts, Facebook messages and Twitter posts.  Last year I raised over $2,000.  My goal this year is $2,500. 

The rewards of fundraising for a good cause are tremendous.  Many organizations will pay the registration and travel costs for participants that raise significant amounts.  And of course there are tax benefits to charitable giving.  However, the most significant benefits are not monetarily tangible.  I take a lot of pride in the fact that I’ve been able to help support the kids of St. Jude.  Being hailed as a “hero” by the families of St. Jude is a touching and emotional experience.  

The experience on race day is especially poignant.  St. Jude families line the course and cheer for runners wearing singlets identifying them as St. Jude Hero’s.  They carry signs and pictures of their tiny loved ones who battle horrible illness that no child should need to suffer through.  Seeing these signs and especially the pictures is truly an inspiration that helps get me through the marathon.  After the event, I not only have a great sense of accomplishment from completing the marathon, but also a feeling of having done something meaningful for others. 

There are many charities to choose from when considering an organization to support.  St. Jude does tremendous work.  Team in Training is another organization that does great work and is very popular with runners.  The Susan G. Komen foundation sponsors races around the world to help fight breast cancer.  And there are many other worthy charities to choose from.  I encourage you to pick one, commit to raising funds and train hard.  Running for a cause will enrich your training and your life!

If you’d like to help me support the children of for St. Jude, please visit my donation page.

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