Charity: It's everywhere. Causes, campaigns, clipboard-wielding-happy-faced-people-with-dreadlocks, foundations, organisations, non-profits. It is quite overwhelming in these financially trying times as ordinary hard-working folk try to look after their own loved ones before even wondering where to pledge what support they might have left. For me the support of a cause can transcend a generous financial donation, money is an incredible boost to any charity but awareness is just as vital. Running for Pearl has been going for three years now and we have raised some money to be able to give Pearl the best possible education, we have also given some money here and there to help out other causes that mean a lot to us. As time passes I see that the biggest battle ahead lies in opening peoples minds, yes a lottery win would make her life a lot easier but in real life one must do what one has to. At times I want to scream in frustration at the ignorance to Autism in France but I can only do so much. It is the hundreds of people I have met along the thousands of miles I have run that make the difference. What started as an idea to feel useful has morphed into a locomotive that travels along picking up people as we go. Some get on and ride with us for a while and then disappear, only to reappear again down the line. It is a constant, revolving door of characters that bring individual flavour and approach to what we do. Solidarity is the word that pops into my head when I ponder the journey thus far. No single person is capable of great acts, it is a collective that pushes against the odds, fuelled by passion and love that overcomes. I have not run anything for Pearl in a while because I have been unfit and also have a more than stellar team all over the globe flying her flag for me. This weekend I will run again in a charity event but not specifically for Pearl. Of course her and Dylan are always in my heart when I run, that will never change. But in the nature of giving back what you receive I will run for two causes, with ZERO training.
First story relates to one of my dearest friends, Sam. She lives in South Africa and has supported me spiritually through her relentless optimism and encouragement over the past few years. We have never even met in person but some peeps will be with you all your life, that's just how it goes when the stars align. Sam is no stranger to marathons and even completed Comrades last year. She is also one of the driving forces behind Growing Champions, which in their owns words.....
......is a character and leadership development programme that works with boys (pre-teens and teens) who are talented soccer players, who come from communities where gang violence, criminal behaviour and drug dealing and abuse are the norm. The programme aims to grow boys into men who are leaders. Men who rise above circumstance. Men who care about their communities. Men who understand that their characters, morals and behaviour will determine a successful future. Boys who want to grow into Champions.
|Growing Champions, showing their strength,|
Kind of says it all really, helping kids rise up from whatever circumstance to become leaders and champions. Sam was supposed to run the Township Marathon on Sunday for them but is injured, as I runner I know how disappointing this is. The kids will run it in a relay and I know a united front will carry them across the line. I'll be playing my part too, but we'll get to that in a minute.
Story number two relates to a young lady named Fanny. I do not know her but through a friend of mine in the running community I found out that she is a twenty three year old angel with cerebal palsy. Some ultra runners in her association are organising a run this Saturday night from Versailles to Rambouillet, a distance of 55km. It starts at nine o'clock and is being done by some as a relay, some just doing the outward leg and a few brave ones doing the round trip. Instantly I thought hmmm, Saturday night, zero degrees, no training, 55km, going to see a Deftones concert the night before and playing drums the following Sunday, pass me a pen as I sign up for this.
|Not sure how fast it'll be but we'll get there.|
I have been greeted by most with that your crazy stare. Nope folks, spending my life drinking into the dawn, stoned off my face for nearly two decades was CRAZY. This is LIVING. I have no idea if I'll be fit enough, but I am participating in two movements that are bigger than I or any of the other participants involved. What's the other option? Sit in front of the TV with a cup of tea and then read a book whilst wrapped in my warm duvet, or step outside the comfort and feel the steam of my breath warm my face as I run through the night? No contest. I also get to pay back some of the love and support that I have been blessed to receive and has changed Pearls life for the better.