shoe4africa - make the difference!
Why do I run? The simple answer is because I can. I’m privileged to have my legs. My heart has no issues. Because I’m not blind. My knees are functional. My innards are ok. I’m privileged enough to have one job to make ends meet and the given time to practice my runs. I don’t have diabetes with insulin issues, and I know what I’m writing is probably lame as you read it. When I ran my first New York Marathon, I was gunning to make record time and have a PR (personal record). What I found was me in awe with all the diversity of people running this race. They ranged from young to super old, but that wasn’t exactly what moved me. What I saw was a young girl with both prosthetic legs hobbling forward awkwardly but with absolutely great pride and great spirit. I saw a group of three people side by side with the middle person having their right wrist tied with a rope to the right person, and me hearing as I pass, “coming up, we’ll be turning right”. All three were wearing yellow shirts that said Achilles. Throughout the race I saw more than ten of these individuals scattered throughout the 26.2 mile journey. Two miles from the finish line when we are all beaten down and ready for this to all be over, I saw a man pushing a grown, disabled boy in a runners wheelchair, and both of them were wearing running numbers – father and son. Somewhere near mile three, I saw the back of an old man’s shirt where he pinned a note to say “I’m turning 80 today”. I saw right at the start on the Verrazzano bridge a hunched over young boy, putting two arms forward swiftly, yet, at snails pace with a walker, one step at a time. I saw another person’s back that read ‘this is my 29th marathon’. He looked super ancient but also so damn perfect and so damn happy. On the horrid Third Ave. bridge going up, you can hear everyone breathing hard and hating the bridge. I felt tired and ready to stop. One lady passes me using an asthmatic inhaler in her mouth, and then I hear her wheezing heavily out from her chest as she shoots right in front of me. I saw all these people with so many signs: today would have been my dad’s 70th birthday, this is for my daughter who died of cancer, this is for x, this is for y, or I’m running for z. Whatever it was, they were all better reasons than why I was doing it. I’ve been running for more than 20 years of my life and not once have I ever felt so privileged about running until I ran my first NYC marathon. There are people who dream of running this historic race and never get in. When I went to pick up my race number, there were several thousands of people there, and I hardly heard anyone speaking in English. You have no idea how great this race is, how inspiring it is, and how it has moved me to tears. You have no idea how great these people are, who run for a cause dear to them or do it with their limited means. They are truly heroic. And the seed that holds us all together is one thing, because we can, and we will not let anything stop us.
If you read my verbose rant above, people with disabilities or physical challenges do not veer away from the impossible. What comes as blockers are social injustice, economical factors, governmental rules, or environmental constraints. Shoes4Africa has built the first cancer children’s hospital, series of free schools for kids, and provided a path for women to be self-sufficient. Economical empowerment where a number of Kenya’s ladies have become land owners in their own right through this program. Thus been able to become area leaders (Chiefs) and make change in the rules of their community. The women’s empowerment project at the farm involves a vibrant group of power-women. They use a truly holistic approach using their ‘tools’ to break down the barriers of a woman’s role in a male orientated society.
No donation is too small. Every dollar counts and 100% of your donation goes to saving kids lives. How often do you find that?! You’ll find organizations pocketing funds and a meager amount that goes to active usage, but here it is the opposite. As a member of Shoe4Africa running team this year, I am committed to raise a minimum of $3,000 for an opportunity to run in the NYC Marathon. Please support me by making your generous donations right here, any amount is welcome and 100% tax deductible.
Thank you for your support.