A very long time ago I signed up to be a running buddy through I Run 4 Michael - an awesome group that matches runners with special needs kiddos and adults. To be honest, there is a wide spectrum of needs represented and some days it breaks my heart to see little ones fighting for their lives but then I see the courage of their parents. The love they have and the willingness to share their story, pain, hopes, and accomplishments. We can't go through life with blinders on not seeing what can hurt us. We are called to love and to care and this group is beyond AMAZING!
I was on the waiting list for MONTHS to be matched with my buddy and on July 27, 2017 I was matched with Toby. He has Down syndrome and over the months he and his family have become part of my family. His mom is so much like me it is ridiculous! And in just 8 more sleeps I get to HUG Toby in real life and I am beyond excited.
But many ask me, what is involved to run for Toby?
Love and caring.
I run every day so running for him that way is easy but it is more than miles. It is about digging deep and connecting with one another. Kinda like a virtual pen pal but don't go into this if you aren't ready to grow your heart and family. I am in contact with Toby and his mom almost every single day either via facebook, email, or texting. I share my worries and joys with his mom as much as she shares hers with me. We pray for each other, encourage each other, and all of this is because of one amazing boy who is ROCKING his extra chromosome to make the world a much better place.
And in case you are still wondering what is involved, creativity and fun! From the first day I started running for Toby I began logging those miles in a virtual mission to run from Maui to Nebraska (my home to his) and I am beyond excited I will make it there for real before virtually but that mission will continue and then I will let him pick where we run to next. He just doesn't know that yet.
After I got off of the water and hit land, I began sharing tidbits from the places we were running through. Think of it as a geography lesson for him, me, and darling daughter. I am putting these almost weekly "Where we are" posts in a special blog for him and one day, I will share it with darling daughter. An online journal of love.
It started with daily posts of every facebook post I did for him but to be honest, that got overwhelming. I will occasionally add in other special posts and toss in pictures of him so we can all reflect back and see him grow up. A memory box of our special runner-buddy bond.
Here is an example of a post I do for him. Today's post in fact:
Toby, our virtual mission is continuing and I am still stuck in Arizona and am beginning to think this state is very brown and empty. I keep going from low population spot to low population spot. But I guess it is better than "standing" in the middle of a highway updating you on our progress!
So today we are in Kaibito, Arizona and I have NEVER heard of this place. The 2010 census reported a population of 1,522 people and over 90%...okay, 99.19% to be exact....were Native American. But what stood out to me is the town/city is at an elevation of 5,810 feet. That is higher up then I live!
I shared a picture from the web so you can see Kaibito too. To be honest, the pic makes it look greener than the virtual mission map does! It is much prettier than I first thought. Guess that is why we should NEVER judge a book by its cover.
Love you buddy!
And it contained these pictures: