2008 Miles Of Hope is the name my wife/teammate, and I have given to our campaign to raise money for Hope For The Warriors. It has been one of the most fulfilling endeavors we have ever undertaken. We have met many great and inspiring people and we have traveled to a lot of interesting places. In short, 2008 Miles Of Hope has three parts that I call hope, inspiration, and a promise.
Hope is the human condition that causes us to be something beyond what we are now. In 2006, I watched handcyclists competing in the Marine Corps Marathon. My teammate and I were there to support my niece, T, who was running her first marathon. It was the first time I had watched a marathon in person. Even before breaking my neck in a swimming pool accident thirty years ago, I had dreamed of taking part in a marathon. As a C-6 quadriplegic, I’ve always found pushing a wheelchair to be difficult. The thought of pushing one through a marathon, was just a dream.
Seeing the Marine Marathon handcyclists gave me hope. A handbike uses different muscles than does a wheelchair. “I think I can do that,” I said to myself. Completing the Marine Corps Marathon in 2008 has become my goal number one.
Seeing thousands of charity runners dedicate themselves to their causes filled me with inspiration. How could I turn my training for the MCM into a greater good? I learned about Hope For The Warriors through their 2007 Run For The Warriors. THIS was to be our cause. Because of my disability, I am sensitive to the sacrifices of the wounded warriors and their needs. Both my teammate and I grew up in military families. And because of my disability, we understand effect of disabilities on families and the important role of the family in the recovery process.
In July of 2007 we stood up our fundraising campaign. My second goal became a mission to handbike over 2008 miles to raise awareness of and raise money for the wounded warriors. Our message: Life with a disability is not a life filled with despair; it is a life filled with hope. I initially thought our example would inspire others. However, it is we who have been inspired over and over by an overwhelming outpouring of support for our cause by family, friends, athletes we have met along the way, and just ordinary people. My greatest and continuing inspiration is my teammate, who enables every mile I undertake. She has also taken up running and just completed her first 8K race at the Shamrock in Virginia Beach.
Goal number three became a promise to raise $26,200 for Hope For The Warriors. The number is $1,000 for every mile in the first goal, the Marine Corps Marathon. It has taken all our spare time. Many nights we are up well beyond our bed time stuffing envelopes. So far, the response has been overwhelming. This is a gracious and compassionate land that we live in. The generosity of our contributors has been amazing.
Hope For The Warriors
The union of our goals for 2008 Miles of Hope with those of Hope For The Warriors has been a natural fit. Their vision of “hope beyond recovery,” the inspiration of the indomitable spirit of the wounded warriors and their families, and their promise of “no sacrifice forgotten, nor need unmet,” has assured us over and over that indeed, their cause is our cause.
So, how are we doing?
Basically, we are having the times of our lives! For goal number one, I have completed two marathons, seven half marathons, and eight 10K races in preparation for the 2008 MCM. For goal number two, I have completed over 2400 miles since last July. And for goal number three, we have raised over $10,000 for Hope For The Warriors.
Help us help heroes
Join us in supporting Hope For The Warriors. You can make a donation through our campaign at http://www.active.com/donate/2008Miles. Follow our progress at this blog. Each time you visit, please post a comment. And JOIN US at the 2008 Run for the Warriors!
The only things we cannot achieve
Are those things we cannot dream.