Aug 19, 2012

Running For Kids Who Can't

8/19/2012 — cori
That is the by-line for the Miracles of Mitch Foundation that puts on the triathlon the kids ran yesterday.    After my kids watched the video on the website, they couldn't wait to sign up for the chance to do it.  They even wanted to immediately go out and start training.  What I love, love, love about this organization is that they give kids an opportunity to help other kids.  The kids feel like they can actually make a difference - because they do!

We trained for over a month, running, biking and swimming almost everyday.  We practiced (as a family) doing all three of them together and transitioning from being wet to drying off and getting all our gear on to ride our bikes.  Even a 'kid sized' triathlon put Chuck & I out of commission for the rest of the day after practicing with the kids.  But the kids learned such beautiful lessons that their commitment to this task taught them.  Character traits that are learned by doing, not just reading or hearing about such as:  endurance, perseverance and discipline.

I'm so proud of them.  Not just for wanting to do this and for training so hard and for raising money all on their own to help benefit the kids and their families, but for acting out of a compassionate heart.  They saw a need and knew they could help.  That's what I love.  To quote a missionary in Ghana, "I'm responsible for the ones he places in front of me."  The needs of people and the world around us seem so great, overwhelming at times.  But when an opportunity to help meet those needs presents itself, I love that my children responded with hearts filled with compassion.  Not looking for something they could get out of it...but knowing that what they were giving was the greater gift.

Love in action.

This organization mailed each of the kids a packet that included the name and picture of their very own child (they call them All-Stars) they were helping.  Everyday the kids thought of, talked about, prayed for and wondered about their All Star.  When they were training and getting tired, they thought about what their All Star must be feeling and that propelled them on.  They put the needs of someone else before themselves.  I have been trying (futilely) to instill this lesson in my precious people - to no avail. This experience did what I could not.

The most heart wrenching time during the day of the triathlon was right before the race was to begin.
All the All-Stars and kids paraded into the main area where we were all congregated.  Seeing the kids and families we were doing this for just brought it all home.  I don't think there was a dry eye around.  Some of the All-Stars even tried to run the race.  I can't imagine being in the shoes of one of those families, wondering daily if my child would live to the next day.

The energy was palpable.  The racers (ages 7 - 17) were strangely subdued.  They were reverent, in awe and very respectful.  I couldn't tell if it was nerves or just the realization of the enormity of the impact they were making when they saw the large group of them together (1100 kids) and the All-Stars.  It was truly a beautiful moment.

This morning, the day after the race, as soon as Chloe wakes up she says, "I wish I could run the triathlon again today!  I just can't wait till next year when we can do it again."  I think that says it all about the impact it had on them.

Waiting for the race to start

The transition zone

 The All-Stars they were racing for

A small portion of the sea of kids 
during the opening ceremonies

This was the part Chloe liked the best - all the cheering 
and high fives from the crowd as she made her way to the finish line. 

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