Then I was contacted on Facebook through some running friends that a non-profit organization was looking for some experienced runners to help with their cause.
PTTF - Push to the Finish is an organization that pairs a runner with a disabled child to push them in their wheelchair for the 5k or 10k. It allows a child, or even an adult, an opportunity to participate in a race when their physical challenges prevent them to do so on their own power.
Well, did I ever jump on that! I love those kinds of things! I signed up and within a day had an email asking if I was available on the 4th for a 5k in Sandy Utah. Uh.....YEAH, I'm available!
After some instructions to meet at the start line a half hour early, and get introduced to the child I would push, I quickly added it to the calendar and informed Splenda Daddy that he was either running it with me or he was taking pictures.
I don't know if I have ever looked forward to a 5k more in my life.
I was given the pleasure of pushing little Megan. I am unclear of her physical challenges and quite frankly, it doesn't even matter to me. She wanted to participate and I wanted to help her. She is non-verbal so we communicated via smiles.
(l-r, Angela and Charles pushing Joe, me and Megan, Michelle and Easton)
All through the race, I would talk to her and tell her what we were doing:
"Here's a big hill Meggie, let's push through it" *smile*
"Lookie sweetheart, we get to go downhill should I go faster?" *smile*
"Okay, I know the sun is in your face right now, I'll try to hurry to the shade" *smile*
"Let's go catch Easton (her brother) and beat him" *smile*
"Meggie - you are doing so awesome!" *smile*
And then as we neared the finish line and she could hear all the cheers along with mine, her smile grew even bigger!
Not one word was exchanged between us the entire 30 minutes or so that we ran but I felt her strong spirit and enjoyment of participating in something that gave her a sense of pleasure.
As I look back on it, I'm not sure who enjoyed it more. Me or Megan. I think she gave me just as much of a great experience as she received herself. Maybe even more.
Looking forward to the next opportunity that I have to participate, it is truly a privilege.
*if you are interested, have experience running at least a 5k solidly, OR have a child who would like to participate and would like PTTF's services, hit the link above, go to their website and get involved. We need more of "people helping people" experiences in our lives*