Earlier this year, I decided to take the plunge and reach out to the “I RunFor” community. It's something my Mom's been doing for a few years now, she has posted things on Facebook about her run buddy and I asked her about what it was for.
“I Run For” is a really neat organization that you can do for families of sick loved ones, people with disabilities that prevent them from being able to do things like run or even walk on their own, or for those who've loved ones who've passed away. I'm doing the I Run 4 Remembrance one. Now, if you see me running, you should be running, too, because I don't run unless something's chasing me. The gal that does the Remembrance one, Yvonne, I'd told her that I wanted to do something but I am not a runner. I told her I do have a dog and I do help with an animal rescue, and I'm trying to get into Tai Chi, could I maybe do my workouts that way and dedicate them to my run buddy? I'm also an author, could I maybe dedicate my writing (because writing's harder to do than it might seem), would that be okay?
I'd been in touch with Yvonne over the course of the last few months, just checking in every so often to let her know I'm still interested. It took a little while, and on 13 October this year, it happened, the wait is over! I have been matched up with a buddy. I'M SO EXCITED.
My run buddy's name is Tanner, and his Dad's name is Daniel. Over the last few weeks, I've gotten to know Tanner through Daniel, and I've gotten to know Daniel's wife, Sarah. We've chatted through messenger on Facebook, and through text messages on the phone. It's been so neat getting to know them. They've helped contribute suggestions to the NaNoWriMo playlist I was putting together on Spotify, they've been instrumental in cheering me on with this crazy month of writing and trying to figure out “what next?”
This experience has been incredible. The Hoffman family has been just amazing. Tanner passed away a few years ago when he was only 21, but I've learned a lot about him. He was a pretty neat young man, he loved life and the photos I've seen that his Dad's shared with me, Tanner has always had the biggest smile on his face. It's like he was just always HAPPY. Tanner, in a way, has become a sort of muse for me. I have been dedicating my NaNo time to his memory in addition to my own kids' memories.
Tanner, I'm told, always wanted to see his name in a book. Well, when I get my book completed, I'm going to put together a page just for him, thanking him for helping me write it. :) He's as much part of my creative life as my own family is, and his Dad and Sarah have been as much a part of things, too, and it's been truly an honour doing this for them. I just adore these guys so much! One thing, too, I'm SO excited to do for the Hoffmans is to get a printed copy of my book put together and send it to them, a hard copy, signed, very first edition, so they have something tangible that they can look at and see Tanner's name in the pages.
I Run 4 Remembrance is just one of many different parts of the I Run 4 organization. I Run 4 is a non-profit organization that got started in 2013 by a gentleman that was doing running for weight loss and health, and he said that he runs because he can, and when he gets tired, he thinks of those who can't run, and that helps him keep going. That's when he got the idea to do the I Run 4 program.
I chose the Remembrance one because I know the frustration and grief that comes with losing my own children, and it's hard to talk about them when I'm the only one who brings them up. Just because they're gone, that doesn't mean they cease to be part of the family! I'd debated for awhile about doing Remembrance OR Siblings, because I have two siblings that've died, and I wanted to do something for both, but I understood that this works that it's advised you pick one, not multiple, which I can understand.
What started out to be a small project, has seemed to have exploded into so much more. There are so many people who do this, and until my Mom had started doing it, I had no idea this was even a thing! I've been so blessed, and more than that, HONOURED, to be part of this excursion. Now that winter's trying to barge onto the calendar, I'm not as excited about going outside, but there's things I can (and most assuredly will) do indoors that can still keep me going for young Tanner. My thinking is this: I am not doing this for any other reason than to say, “You are my friend, and I care about you, and I want to do this for you.” It's been a rewarding experience for me to do this, because it gives me something to look forward to everyday. I've, sure, got other things that keep me excited to get up in the morning, but this is just an extra bonus. Hehe It's been a blast doing this, and I am so thrilled to be a part of this amazing community.
Thank you, Daniel, for allowing me to be your son's buddy, and thank you, Yvonne, for introducing me to this amazing young man and his wonderful family. :)