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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Smiles 4 Miles 2013

In early January I was thinking about how great the weather had been outside this winter and I decided to talk a quick 1 mile walk about the block. After about an hour of letting my mind wander outside of the stress of everyday life, I was determined to run across the country to raise awareness for children with cancer who desperately need a cure. It didn't take long for me to realize that I was older than I am at heart, and no where near being able to run 3 miles without walking. I asked a couple of people that I knew who were avid runners, if they would help me in taking a virtual trip across the country by sharing their daily miles with me, hoping we could add up 2800 miles by September. I guess the word got out about our virtual journey and now over 1000 people have run over 10,000 miles in all directions raising awareness and sharing hope with kids fighting cancer.

Since January I have continued to be inspired by all of the people running in our virtual event, and by those who are currently running for cancer awareness like my friend Landon Cooper and his team @ Miles2Give https://www.facebook.com/www.miles2give.org who are running for my son Lincoln TODAY! I never thought this event would grow to this size so I am adding a new element to celebrate more kids as they continue to hope for a cure.

Starting today, any of our kids diagnosed with childhood cancer, who send us a picture with a big Smile on their face, will be rewarded with a commitment to run 100 miles from those who have joined our event.

We will have a facebook page that we will post all of our smiles on where anyone can come to celebrate with our kids and comment on their pictures with a message of hope. With 1000 people its not too hard to run 100 miles, so every child will also receive Bonus miles for their pictures. I have also asked for pictures of kids smiling with celebrities that will be worth up to 3000 miles, and the ultimate prize will be given to one child who can get a smiling picture taken with our President (10,000 miles)

We want to ask everyone to spread the word about Smiles 4 Miles 2013 as we keep running through to September and hope that our kids will challenge us with hundreds of miles with their precious smiles. Please read the "about" section of our facebook page for instructions on how to Smile for Miles during our virtual run to the White House @ https://www.facebook.com/events/129786293855902/

Check out the Smiles that have already inspired many miles on our page Smile4Miles2013
Click here to LIKE and SHARE "Smiles 4 Miles 2013"

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

An Army of One

Back in the early 90's when I was a youth, who's eyes were just being opened to the world around me, I started to wonder if I should join the armed forces and fight as an American Soldier. It didn't take long to change my mind, as the pleasures of life as a teenager continued to grow and serving anyone but myself was usually the last thing on my mind.

As I entered my college years I joined a youth leader in the small coastal town of Ilwaco, WA and the universe that I thought was centered on me was interrupted as I took my first trip out of our country to serve others in Mexico, Brazil and Jamaica. Each time I was faced with opportunities to either step out in faith and open my heart to a life changing experience, or shrivel up and indulge in my personal safety zone. At this point in my life I still find things I "like" to do, but even those simple pleasures are beginning to fade in the light of my new life, as a parent with a child diagnosed with cancer.

These days I talk a lot about "the battle" that we are in and how my son Lincoln soldiers on through his chemotherapy as a 4 year old. Only a few days after beginning this journey I took a new step of faith and enlisted in the army of childhood cancer warriors, mostly made up of children and their parents. As we took on grueling missions through uncharted waters like hospital visits, scans and steroids, the one thing I put my hope into was that these soldiers never, ever gave up. Sometimes when the journey through these foreign battlegrounds feels like the enemy is watching every step and trying to abduct our children, we begin to feel afraid and alone. Starting a foundation or a fundraiser or even a facebook page can feel intimidating when no one feels the same way we do about it, but we keep going because we are on a mission for our kids. When we complete our objectives like signing a petition to turn the White House GOLD in September or running 10,000 miles in honor and support of kids who are stuck in a hospital bed, we celebrate for a moment, before we look for the next opportunity to raise our Golden flags and stake our claim in enemy territory. Thankfully, we will never be truly alone, as those who have traveled down these roads before us, experiencing loss and pain, have not left the fight for those who have been recently drafted into this army.

In the world that I once knew, where wars in other countries cost billions of dollars and American soldiers have given the ultimate sacrifice, I was hiding under a rock hoping to make a few bucks to buy some fast food. Now that I have been drafted into a war that has been going on for decades, my only hope is that our army is strong enough, big enough and loud enough to make One critical mission a complete success in 2013 (and 2014). We need to come together and let our many voices resound as an Army with One Voice because we will Never give up, never give in, NEVER! (please listen to the message in this song for the 2013 Childhood Cancer Community)

Please join us as One Voice in 2013 @ http://www.thetruth365.org/
Join us in Running to raise Awareness @ https://www.facebook.com/events/129786293855902/

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Extra Smile

Lincoln was invited to be a special guest today at the high school in Dallas, OR to raise awareness for those affected by cancer. He has some friends who are supporting him with their facebook page "Running for Lincoln" https://www.facebook.com/RunningForLincoln He wore his Batman suit and attached his Superman cape and needless to say, all eyes were on him. Even high school kids for a moment remember who they used to be when they were little kids, who thought they were always going to be superheros and princesses. They couldn't keep from looking away because they knew that their own dreams were somewhat faded. As he left the building, they were left wondering if Lincoln would even get the chance to grow up like a normal child and it must have been hard for them to keep the smiles and joy they were receiving from a little boy with a superhero cape and cancer.

Lincoln has been through so much, but there are many others, thousands of other children who have seen far worse that you could ever imagine, but they all have one thing in common: they never EVER give up. Children do have super powers, they have faith, courage and love for people who never even return the favor. They always find a way to play another day and even when they are pouring out the tears they can instantly return to that happy place that they reside in as children. There is very little that can truly take a child's frown and keep it upside down. Children love to smile and it makes me smile, sometimes revealing the hidden hopelessness that too often weighs on my heart, but helps me find a reason to overcome it.

A few weeks ago I was running with my friends all over the country who are raising awareness for childhood cancer in a virtual run to the White House https://www.facebook.com/events/129786293855902 
I had only run as far as 3 miles at that point and I wanted to push myself further because I was not satisfied with going a distance that I could easily walk. After 5 miles I still felt like I had something left in me, and then when I was getting closer to 7 I felt like there was no limit to where my legs would carry me. Yesterday I topped it off at 9.75 miles, farther than I had ever run in high school, and every time I reached for more was because our group had the chance to make a child with cancer smile by sending them messages that we were dedicating our running and walking for them each day. These kids may have been in a hospital room playing at their "window" to the world for the last six months of their treatment, hoping to see a superhero fly by to save the day, and then all of a sudden mommy looks on the phone or iPad and tells them that they have nearly 1000 people running for them to raise awareness for children who desperately need a cure from this disease.
I have realized that when you have a reason, you rediscover the will to go where many fear to tread, and as long as I am running for these kids, the extra miles are always worth the extra smiles.
Join us each day in our virtual run to the White House and experience what its like turning our miles in to Smiles. Many more Smiles coming March 17th @  https://www.facebook.com/events/129786293855902/