Sunday, May 01, 2011

Asking For Help

Asking for help is not always easy. Especially when it is help I know I don't really need. It's about not being lazy; not shirking. It's about integrity. Anyone who has a 3 year old child (or has been one!) has learned this lesson: sometimes it is important to do something just by myself, just to prove I can. Not to prove it to anyone else; simply to prove it to me.

That's what running has been like for me. I started running in June of 2008 and the changes I've seen within myself have been nothing short of remarkable. Miraculous, really.

When I set out to run the Portland Marathon in October 2010, and various people asked if I would be running for charity I knew it was something I just could not do. As noble and good as it would be, it just did not feel right in my heart. Running for a cause would certainly add motivation to my training, but it would also cloud things somehow. Selfish as it might sound, I didn't want to run for anyone else.
I had to do this for myself.
Once I'd run the marathon, and began to think about running another, I was surprised to find the idea of running for charity was still something I did not want to do. I was really hoping to get in to the 2011 NYC Marathon via their lottery system ('cause I'm nowhere near fast enough to get a guaranteed entry based on skill/timing!). Wanting badly to run in NYC though, I told myself I'd run for charity as a back-up plan: something I'd resort to as a way to get a guaranteed entry only if I had to. I felt that way right up until the drawing on Wednesday 27th April, when the website confirmed my fears: I had not been selected via the lottery.

I knew there would be perhaps 100,000 people or more who would be swooping down onto the official charities so I'd have to be quick. I took a break at work and began to actually look through the various charities I could apply to run for. That's when my heart began to change.

I realized there's another reason asking for help is difficult for me: it feels like an admission that I am not good enough, not bright enough, not strong enough. Reading through the charity webpages reminded me that, well, I'm not! I'm not good enough alone! No one is. I'm not bright enough to figure everything out on my own. No one is. And I'm not strong enough to get through this life alone. No one is.

Once I embraced that next-level measure of my own weakness, and allowed the humility to clear my perspective, I realized something else: Asking for help is sometimes easy:
If I have dropped a heavy load, it is hard to ask for help to pick it back up and carry it onward.

But If someone else has dropped a heavy load, and I stop to help them pick it up and carry it onward -- and in doing so realize that this load is so heavy I can't be the only one to help, then asking someone to help me as I help another...that comes easily.

So here I am. Asking for your help.
As I browsed through the charities, one stood out to me. the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF). As a Home Hospice RN by profession, I see the impact of this disease in my day-to-day work. But it is also personal for me. Cathy's mom died of multiple myeloma. She was only 68. Everyone who knew her tells stories of what an amazing woman she was. Vibrant, playful, compassionate, loyal, and loving to all. I wish I'd met her, but I never got the chance. You see, I met Cathy in May 1987, but multiple myeloma had already taken her mom's life in February of 1986. Her name was Josephine Mary (Fanucchi) Thompson -- and I'm running in her honor. I'm running so MMRF can help others beat this disease, get the chance to live to meet their family, and enjoy a full life.
Nearly 90% of every dollar donated to the MMRF goes directly to research!
Will you please support my participation in the 2011 New York City Marathon benefiting the MMRF? Your donation can help make the difference! I have made a commitment to raise at least $3000 by the race on Sunday November 6th. I need your help to get there! Please help as you can. It all adds up! On the right-hand side of my donations page you can select a suggested donation amount, or come up with whatever you feel comfortable donating. For those interested in a per-mile sponsorship, here's the math for you!
  • $1/mile = $26.20 total donation (x only 115 people = $3013!)
  • $2/mile = $52.40 total donation
  • $3/mile = $78.60 total donation
  • $4/mile = $104.80 total donation
  • $5/mile = $131.00 total donation
Would you please consider sponsoring me? It is as simple as following the link above.

For more information, to make sure your money is going to a good cause and a reputale charity, you can follow this link to the MMRF site, and there's an NBC Nightline interview and article here, a reprint of a New Yorker article discussing the creative business model of MMRF here and the ubiquitous Wiki link is here.
Thank you in advance for your support!
~ Keith