Monday, April 8, 2013

We Run for Jacob (aka “But I had no idea!) 

Most of you are aware of our wonderful group, Moms Run This Town, so I’ll try to keep my probably-way-over-the-top adoration for this truly outstanding community of women to a minimum (or not…). I love being the Tallahassee chapter leader, and as our group continued (and continues!) to blossom, becoming much more active not only locally, but statewide and nationally as well, I realized that it was in the best interest of everyone to recruit help to keep up with, well, everything.  I recently reached out to my running partner in crime, Tammy, to help me co-lead the chapter, and I must say, I did a dang good job picking the best candidate!  Tammy is the perfect mama for the job, sharing our love for running and bringing a very active approach to leadership!  Little did I know her first project would be for me, for my son and for the cause nearest and dearest to my heart.  

I was excited to run in the 38th Springtime Tallahassee 1 mile/5K/10K, a popular local race with a challenging and hilly course, this past Saturday.  The fact that it was local was a plus, but I had no idea exactly how special this race was going to be.  

Gavin had a tee ball game at 9am on Saturday, so I tried really hard to get out of carpooling to the race on Saturday morning. I wanted to run the race and rush to the ball field (since I haven’t yet figured out how to teleport or clone myself…).  Tammy insisted I ride with her, but wouldn't tell me why.  Trusting her completely, I figured she was doing something nice for me (because that's the amazing person she is!), but I had no idea! 

On Friday night, our group's Facebook board was filled with "Flat Mama" photos, a tradition of posting our outfits and gear for the next day.  I loved the fact that so many members were racing Saturday and loved all the cute outfits even more!  When Tammy showed up Saturday morning, she (oddly) asked to come in with her hubby, Harley, in tow with his fancy camera.  She was bundled up in her running jacket and not in her posted flat mama!  Tammy had a hand full of shirts and a bag of ribbon.  Under her running jacket was an awesome “We Run for Jacob” shirt with the inspiring words, “Love, Strength, and Wisdom” surrounding a blue and green ribbon with the signature MRTT runner girl (my absolute favorite little decal!) in the middle. As I write this, remembering this moment, my eyes are filled with tears of joy!  And guess what?  I STILL had no idea! 

Tammy had a shirt for me and for everyone in our family. After happy tears, pictures and some shirt surgery, including but not limited to cutting sleeves and adding ribbon, we were on our way to run the 10K.  I spent the next 15 minutes in wonder, contemplating how special it was to have someone so kind in my life (you know, other than my wonderful immediate family), to make shirts for me, for herself and for my family.  We made the hike up the hill to Monroe Street and, eventually, to the Courthouse lawn.  We scheduled a MRTT photo meet-up prior to the race, and I was proud as punch to wear my “We Run for Jacob” shirt!   

When we arrived at the rendezvous location, all of our members running the Springtime donned “We run for Jacob” shirts!  ALL OF THEM.  My heart pounded.  My head spun.  My eyes… yeah, yeah, you all know where this is going.  Surprise!  I was completely stunned and overwhelmingly amazed with such a HUGE show of support!  After many loving hugs and heartfelt thank-you’s, Tammy informed me that, thanks to a series of people, thoughts and events, she was able to raise $1,000 to be donated to the Children's Tumor Foundation, the leading provider of Neurofibromatosis research and support for families living with NF1, NF2 and Schwannomatosis.  One thousand dollars!  How awesome is that!?!  These acts, acts of love and support from my best friend and from those that have never met me or my son, went so far above and beyond! 

Thank you, Tammy, for initiating and mobilizing such a wonderful series of actions to make a difference for my son and for so many others I care about!  You are truly one of a kind!  Thank you, Laura, for encouraging, and, Jacy, for designing, an awesome shirt!  Thank you, Stirling, for making the design come to fruition.  And thank you to everyone who participated and donated!  It’s cliché, but words seem so hollow when you experience the goodness of kind hearts in this magnitude.  My world is full of love and support, and no words can express my deepest gratitude.  I’m filled with a great peace that I am surrounded by so many caring people.  So far beyond thankful.  I praise God for each and every one of you! 

I discovered something different this race.  The Springtime Tallahassee was my best 10K to date.  I had a fantastic run!  Not because I didn't suffer any side cramps, because I did.  Not because of my time, because it wasn't even close to a personal record.  But because of the runners who ran with me, and who ran for Jacob, my son and my hero.  

As I sit here at the hospital, anticipating Jacob's fourth major surgery in 14 months, I have the beautiful memory of Saturday morning, my love of running and many amazing people who are fighting this battle with me.  

My shirt is washed, packed and ready to be worn tomorrow during Jacob's surgery.  

Thank you all for running for a cause!!!
P.S. Jacob loves his shirt and thought that it was "really cool" that so many people are rallying for him and for our beloved NF2 community.  The two words are more than we get for most things from Jacob!


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