Monday, April 15, 2013

At 3:19 today I got a text, followed by a call telling me that two explosions had been heard at the Boston Marathon....I was driving to the gym with a pool training session on the agenda.  I pulled my car onto the shoulder of the Saw Mill and immediately dialed my brother-in-law...voicemail....tried my dad...voicemail.  I kept trying and nothing, then I tried to google what was going on and only got little blips of practically no information...the radio came on and said that a mile from the finish line a bomb had been detonated and then a second bomb closer to the finish heart dropped.  From my stalker tracking of Kate I knew she could have very well been within that vicinity and what was worse...Dad, Chris, Lauren, Dave, Andrea, Justin, Neel, Natalie, Pam, Craig were down there....this reality slammed into the pit of my stomach...even if Kate wasn't near the blast....all of those people...people that Kate loves and the I too have come to know and love were all down there...waiting to cheer Kate over the finish line.

I eventually got to the gym and shakily stood in front of the tv horror struck by what I was seeing.  My phone literally blew up with messages, calls, posts, and tweets about Kate...I couldn't give any response. The sweet sweet Lauren called and reported talking to Chris and dad, and then I got Chris and he'd reported seeing Kate briefly a few short minutes ago....the relief was tangible but as that weight lifted I felt myself start to shake even harder.  I stood there trying to convince myself to get in the pool but instead I pivoted and walked out.

When I got to talk to Kate I started to sob into the phone..."I'm so glad that you're ok" I wept….

Today was one of the scariest days of my life.  I quite literally thought that someone precious was being ripped from my heart as I sat idly by on the shoulder of the Saw Mill.   What the hell is wrong with people I just keep thinking.....why do we have to find pleasure in hurting others?!?! Runners. Spectators. Bostonoians. Out of towners....why?!?!?  It's senseless and it's painful just like all terrorism is I guess but I'm just tired of all this crazy that we have to sift through day in and day out.

I don't want to focus on the crazy....the media and all the press will do that enough over the next 14 days.  Instead I want to highlight the awesome...because we all need a LOT of positive in our lives!!!

Meet Kate Clark Dewey: a proud Boston Marathon finisher!  She raised a shit ton of money for Dana Farber Cancer Institute.  A few months ago she said to me "I think I'm gonna do the marathon" and I, being the crazy endurance junkie that I am, said "yeaaaaa go for it" and promptly bought her every tool necessary for training!  Kate is my big sister and she would bend over backwards for me and anyone else who needed extraordinary back bending skills.  She is awesome and amazing and inspiring.  She went out there and freaking rocked the hell out of that Boston marathon.  As I mentioned before I stalked her every stride today, saddened that I couldn't be there to cheer her on.  Every text and picture that flooded my phone I proudly announced to everyone in the room like it was an Oscar that I had just won on stage.  I was proud of her and that pride reverberated throughout my entire existence was so tangible I could taste it.

Training for this marathon and racing today has changed Kate for the better forever.  She has handled every curve ball with grace no matter how curvy...even up to the very last second of her race (which came a mere 1/2 mile short of the finish line).  She is a freaking super hero...and a photogenic one at that.  

She told me tonight that the experience was totally life changingly awesome...what I wanted to tell her was that she is totally life changingly awesome. Period.

Don't get me wrong, we have our moments of knock down drag outs....eye rolling....sass mouthing....but that doesn't change the way I feel about having her as my sister and friend.

Today it became a very real reality that I could have lost her or any of my friends at any moment.  This truth has left me really shaken.  I love my friends and family but how often do I tell them that?  How often do I tell the people in my life that they make me a better person every single day? The answer is: not often enough.

We are molded by the people that we surround ourselves with...doesn't it go "something something- the company you keep"....I have changed for the better but I would not have been able to do it without the help of my dear dear loved ones....when faced with the tiniest inkling that those loved ones could just alters the thought process.

I don't want to get ├╝ber prophetic here but just do me a favor and hug the ones you love a little tighter tonight.  I want my friends and family to always have no doubt that I love them so absolutely and soundly.  No matter how far apart we all may be your presence in my life is tangible and worthwhile. You all make me a better person, and continue to inspire me.

Kate Clark Dewey is a mother trucking rock star.  She makes me want to be more positive, more caring, more awesome, and more of a badass every single day.

As glad as I am that all of my loved ones are ok, I am heartbroken for those who cannot say the same tonight.  The community that surrounds runners and TRI-ers is absolutely awe-inspiring.  Those people deserved to run across that finish line with their pearly whites shining and photos being snapped.  They deserved to run into the arms of their loved ones out of sheer joy and excitement…not out of fear and sadness.  We live in a scary scary world where bad things can happen any moment.  It doesn't mean lock yourself away…it just means tell the ones that you love you love them before you're sitting on the side of the Saw Mill thinking it may be too late.

Give hugs, give love, spread joy, spread positivity.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Be a Bright Light Today and Every Day Here After…

As the day ends and we all get into our jammies…most everyone will tuck their blue items away and set a reminder to wear them again April 2, 2014.  I am asking you…as my friends, family, followers…please do NOT do this. 

The fact of the matter is that there are astounding amounts of people who cannot just “tuck” their autism awareness away…mainly because they live with it in their lives and are constantly reminded of autism's ever growing presence. 

So yes, I rocked blue today…but it will not be retired today, or tomorrow, or the day after that.  April is Autism Awareness MONTH so I will be rocking my blue pride EVERY.SINGLE.DAY in April!!  I better go find some more blue, but I am confident I can do it.
I am asking everyone to follow meeeeeee! No, I am not asking you to wear blue every day…but I am asking you to keep your awareness burning bright and burning blue.  It is time to light it up blue because today you may be able to tuck your blues away but by next April 2 you may not be able to say the same…..

Because did you know…

  Autism now affects 1 in 88 children and 1 in 54 boys
  Autism prevalence figures are growing
  Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.
  Autism costs a family $60,000 a year on average
  Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases
  Boys are nearly five times more likely than girls to have autism
  There is no medical detection or cure for autism
  Total 2012 NIH budget: $30.86 billion
Of this, only $169 million goes directly to autism research. This represents 0.55% of total NIH funding.

Through my fundraising over the past year I have met so many families who are affected by autism every single day.  They blog, they post, they rant, they rave, they gloat, they live…it is never easy and rarely is it pretty…but it is their life…autism is their life.  No matter what is happening they battle back and stand strong against the battering storm brewing within their loved one. 

I want to stand next them while the storm hammers away.  I want to take their hands and support them when the burden of the load seems like it is too much to handle.  I want to be someone who tells them that they are not alone and that they are stronger than they think.  I want to advocate.  I want to help.  I want to be a voice of hope and reason in a very dark room.

This is why I do what I do.  This is why I fight to fundraise and race for this cause.  We all can hope and pray that autism will never come knocking on our door…but the scary fact is that autism is on the rise…need I say more?

I will be posting my updates on here for fundraising and training and of course lighting it up blue!!  Help me advocate, help me be a voice in the dark, help me be a proud puzzle piece, help me light it up blue!