What inspires you? What makes you want to get out of bed in the morning, lace up your sneakers, and head out the door? What makes you keep going when you’re tired and sore? What gives you motivation to make healthy choices?
Inspiration comes in many forms. We can be inspired by our families, our friends, or even strangers. We can be inspired by the physical feats of athletes. We can be inspired by the promise of tomorrow, or even the fear of yesterday.
Right now, the thing that inspires me most is my Gang. For five years, I’ve had the privilege of spending the summer with an amazing group of people who are training for a half marathon while simultaneously fundraising for Gilda’s Club Rochester, a non-profit organization that is part of the Cancer Support Community. The people in Gilda’s Gang range from teenagers to retired folks. They represent the entire spectrum of fitness, from those who compete in IRONMAN triathlons to those who have never walked more than a mile. Their half marathon finish times have ranged from just over two hours to just under five and a half.
Everyone in the Gang has been touched by cancer in some way. Some members are survivors. Some are in treatment. Some walk or run for loved ones they’ve lost. Some walk or run for themselves.
In five years, we’ve raised well over $100,000 for Gilda’s Club Rochester, helping to keep the red door open for the men, women, teens, and children who are living with and touched by cancer. In five years, every single Gang member who has queued up at the start line of the race has crossed the finish line – even in our first year, when the weather was so hot and humid, they shut down the full marathon course part-way through the morning.
On Sunday, I’ll be standing at the start line on the Andrews Street bridge in downtown Rochester with my Gang members, proudly wearing my gold shirt and black hat. If you live in the area, come out to the finish line to cheer us on. I promise you’ll be inspired.
One final note: There’s still time to support the Gang in our 2012 fundraising efforts. Click here!