Thursday, August 25, 2011

When a little bit goes a long ways...


Last weekend was the Miracle Kids Triathlon in Chanhassen, MN.  I am on the leadership team for these races, and love every minute of helping facilitate the events.  The weather this year was nearly perfect.  After spending a good chunk of Friday helping setup the course, we got a little rain overnight which made the morning temperature actually a little brisk!  That is a sign that fall is near in Minnesota!  After a 30 minute drive, we managed to get to the race site around 5:15 AM on Saturday to help finalize setup and get the race going. 


For anyone who may not be familiar with the Miracle Kids Triathlon or Miracles of Mitch Foundation, I urge you to check out the webpage and read about what they are all about.  I got involved three years ago as a great event to bridge the gap of a hobby, and helping a great cause.  I was hooked!  It is a combination of getting kids active, teaching them about the importance giving back, and being able to contribute some of my strongest talents to somewhere they can be fully used. 

Race day was awesome, no matter how much planning and work  goes into hosting it, I look back this week and feel like I could have done twice as much “work” and still never felt that I had done much work at all.  The people (organizers, volunteers, board members, kids, and All-Stars) are amazing to be around and give me a feeling that I wish I could have every day! 

There are two age groups for the event, the younger group swims 100 yards, bikes 3 miles, and then runs ½ a mile.  The older group does twice that number.  Just like an adult race, you have all shapes/sizes/ages.  There are extremely competitive kids, and others who are just out to have fun (riding along with a group of their friends.)  One thing that they all share in common is that they are working to help others by raising money for the Miracles of Mitch Foundation.  The foundation helps families that have children with cancer.  The story of how a pinky-swear between Mitch and his dad turned into this wonderful cause is nothing short of amazing.  Through the day, I could not help but think of what great things the foundation is able to do for these families and how grateful I am to provide some help.

The race went extremely well and clean-up went even faster than the year before.  (We are getting more efficient!)  There were some moments in the day that I was choking back tears as best as I could.  The race had over 1000 kids racing, in total, they raised something around $325,000.  Amazing,  hearing one girl who was one of the top fundraisers had knocked on over 400 doors just baffled my mind.  One moment in the day that grabbed my heart was the ceremony before the race where they had 12 of the All-Stars on the stage and they gave their name and age.  What a great way to personalize this cause for each of the kids participating, not to mention the families involved.  

Another moment did not come until later that night when we were with a group of the leaders and discussing the day where I learned the story of one of the All-Stars. I was talking to someone about the best moment that day for her and she went into getting to ride on a golf cart with one of the All-Stars.  She told me the whole story, and I was just blown away.  The family had a daughter that was in the hospital with cancer.  She passed away, and during that time they grew closer with Victor, who was also in for cancer.  His story was a little different, he belonged to the state, so the family ended up adopting him, despite everyone else giving up on him.  That was a number of years ago and the prognosis was not good, he is now 14.  Unfortunately he has relapsed 6 times in the past 7 years and things are not looking well and breathing is labored.    The lady I was talking to, described that the family was very deep in their faith, and have been able to bring that to him.  Their conversation in the golf cart included some discussion of faith topics as well as some prayer together.  I was just amazed at hearing all of this and how close the organization is to the families. 

I got up on Sunday and went to church despite being still quite tired.  One thing that is often said at the beginning of the services is ‘We believe the Lord lead you here today.”  It could not have been more true!  I was meant to be there and hear the worship and message that related so closely to my experiences the days prior.  One of the songs that came on had the following lyrics, and I welled up almost instantly beginning to think how true it is.  The song is called “What Joy”  - “What joy, what joy for those whose hope is in the name of the Lord.  What peace what peace for those whose comfort is Him alone.“  I don’t think the words could be any more perfect.  In a time when things are not well, Victor is looking to Him to find joy and comfort when everything around him is negative.  This was just confirmation that I am meant to help with the races and help them grow to be able to support more families. 

Part of the message was about using your gifts to grow and then being able to influence others.  There were a number of times that I had tears in my eyes just listening to the message, knowing that I was there for a reason that day.  As the service ended, I was sitting next to an older couple, and the lady made a comment about being a great message, I agreed.  I forget how we transitioned into talking more on the way out, but I told her about the race and about Victor’s story.  Before I knew it, I again had tears coming down my face and she did as well.  As we parted ways, she thanked me for sharing, but  I should have been the one thanking her for listening.  It was one of those moments where you see a situation and wonder how something so negative can be true, but feel blessed to be a part of the wonderful group of people and organization.  I have no doubt that the lady was put there just for me that day as I needed someone to share with. 

I cannot even count the number of times that I had to stop writing this in order to regain my composure!  During the race, I talked to a number of parents and they mentioned wanting to get involved.  I would highly encourage everyone out there to find an organization you can relate to  and get involved.  These types of events do not happen on their own and can always use more people who can help. 

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1 comments:

Colleen September 2, 2011 at 12:08 PM  

Sounds like an unbelievable day Jeff... these types of days are things everyone should have the privileged of being part of! :)

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