My scheduled race for April is where I really want to focus on here. The UCP Life Without Limits 5K. I blogged about this one last year as well, but due to a nightmarish night immediately prior to the race that involved taking my 11 month old daughter to the ER and being there all night I ended up missing the actual race. Everything turned out to be ok with her by the way; but that was one night I will not forget for a long time. But that was then, and I am looking to talk about the now.
So my take on the story is this: If you follow my blog or running facebook page you have no doubt heard me go on about my Uncle Mario who has served as a running mentor and sounding board to me over the past year and a half. What you may not know is how big a part in my life he and his family (my Aunt Andrea and cousins Madison and Ashley) really play. Tessa spends one day with Aunt “Drea”, as she calls her, every week, as well as Uncle Mario and their amazing daughter Madison. (And Ash when she’s home from college)
You’ll see in the message below, but long story short, my cousin Madison has Cerebral Palsy, and as such, their family has long been associated with United Cerebral Palsy of Philadelphia (or UCP for short). UCP stepped in and provided assistance on multiple levels, impacting them for the positive right from the start. They explain it much more eloquently than I ever could below. What I can say though is that the benefits of this association have been incredible. Its one thing to know that an organization is out there doing good for others, it’s entirely another to see first hand the “others” that they are helping and know that it’s your own family. So needless to say, this is a cause I will be supporting every year.
Every year UCP puts together a fundraiser 5K and starting last year, my family decided to put together a team. It was such a huge success that not only are they doing it again this year, but UCP has made my Aunt Andrea and Madison the official ambassadors for the 2013 race!
I’ll actually let Madison’s Mom’s (my Aunt Andrea) words speak for themselves here: *taken directly from the webpage I am about to refer you to* (http://ucpphila.donorpages.com/5KRun2013/MilesforMaddie/)
Madison, is a beautiful 14 year old girl. Due to complications at birth, Madison suffered brain damage and as a result, has cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, and limited verbal communication skills. She received early intervention services at UCP and when she turned five, although old enough to enter kindergarten, I decided to keep her at UCP for an additional year, an option available to children with special needs. Madison is a proud graduate of UCP Best Friends early childhood program.
I cannot adequately put into words what UCP means to our family. UCP has helped us time and time again with various issues that have developed with Madison. UCP’s Community Social Services department has helped us obtain the vital services that Madison needs. We also received assistance early on with Madison’s feeding issues and how to go about obtaining durable medical equipment.
Prior to Madison attending elementary school, UCP helped us advocate for there to be a “one-on-one” aid in the classroom with Madison, which helps her focus on learning. This support has had a big impact on her success at school. As a family, we have participated in UCPs 5K for years.
Because UCP is such a valued resource to our family, last year, we decided to put together a team, Miles for Maddie. We were 55 members strong! Our family and friends were thrilled to participate because they know how much UCP means to us. We were also very successful in our fundraising efforts. It gave us an opportunity to give back to this wonderful organization that does so much for individuals with disabilities. It also gave us a chance to honor Madison who has taught us so much about life. She is constantly reminds us that love and happiness are most important.
I invite you to join us at this year’s 5K. It will be held on Thursday, April 25. Madison will be in her stroller wearing a big smile as she participates in this fun event. You will be so glad you did!
As you can see, this is much more than just another 5K to me. While I am not in the habit of blindly asking for donations or ramming every cause that comes along down your throats, the concept of giving back to the charities that really appeal to me is becoming more and more attractive, and there will never be a charity that can move me to action like the UCP. So please, if can, take a moment, click on the link (http://ucpphila.donorpages.com/5KRun2013/MilesforMaddie/) and consider donating something to help this incredibly important charity. I can personally vouch for the benefits that you will be helping to achieve, and they are pretty awesome and incredibly helpful to both my family and countless other families experiencing the same challenges in caring for their loved ones who are dealing with the challenges that Cerebral Palsy presents. Thank you very much.
In addition to all that, consider this as open call to all my friends and family (just like last year) to come out and join us and our team “Miles For Maddie”. It’s a 5K on a late April night, right in front of the Art Museum and this time I promise I will actually show up. (barring any late night ER visits, of course) Last year our family and friends made some serious waves with a 55+ member team, and we are looking to match that showing and improve upon it this time around. And I have put my hand up to design the logo that will go on our team t-shirts so you will have an “Andy Original” T to go along with the one you get from the race. It’s going to be a great time, so get your asses out there and join us.
On a side note, since I have discussed time goals for all my other races to date, my goal for this one is simply to go and have fun. Like I’ve said, our team is made up of friends and family, so I will be more concerned with going out and having a great time than breaking any personal records. If I have to set a goal, I’ll set it for the same as I had last year: I’ll push for a Sub-30 min 5K. If any team member wants to challenge me and/or partner up to hit another goal I’m game, but otherwise this one is all about having a great time.
I’ll have a dedicated post just for The Broad Street Run coming up soon.
But I think there has been more than enough huge news coming out of this blog over the past 24 hours.
Thanks again for reading, and as always, until next time take it easy.
Andy (and Madison!)