I am blessed. Beyond measure. And I am thankful. Count the grammatical errors in the previous sentences if you want. Regardless of my injury collection that limits competitiveness, I can still show up at athletic events. Not everyone is blessed enough to say that. For more than a year, I have wanted to compete for something other than my own selfish desires. There are hundreds of excellent charities that make it easy to collect money for their cause, but none of them ‘clicked’ with me. I wanted a personal connection with the charity. I didn’t want to be just one of the faceless, nameless donors giving to a cause in which I couldn’t see the outcome.
Then, in one of my rare flashes of insight, I realized my personal connection — that person whom I had a true deep-down desire to sacrifice my time and efforts for. Let me explain. I have a really good friend who is tough as nails, but has been in a fierce battle with ALS for a few years now. This is someone who I would readily join in any type of ‘toughness’ event. Problem is, his illness prevents him from doing such. He and his family confront the disease every single day with dignity and courage that far surpasses anything required of my obstacle races. He didn’t ask for help. That’s just the type of person he is, but he is also the person for whom I want to push myself. This is who I want to compete in honor of Helping him and his wonderful family in their battle with ALS became my cause.
I’m sure that other athletes have similar people and organizations for whom they would love to be able to seek sponsorship and other donations. Because of this “FOR THOSE WHO WOULD” was born. I am in the middle stages of forming a charitable foundation to support individuals and families suffering from chronic illnesses or debilitating injuries. The name says it all. For those who would, by those who can. So many of my fellow competitors are generous to no end when it comes to supporting others. My goal for starting this foundation is to provide a vehicle for all those athletes who want to compete for a cause, but need the power of tax deductible donations to gather corporate and private support. I also want this to be personal for them….a way to form that connection and know that the money is going to support the individuals, families, or organizations for whom they are raising money.
I am currently in the midst of the paperwork and already have 2 trusted close friends experienced with non-profits on my foundation board. Another friend, who is well recognized in the marketing aspects of endurance events has also agreed to join. I need 2 more individuals to complete it: an attorney and accountant who are experienced with the intricacies of non-profit organizations. These are non-paid board positions, but thanks to modern technology board members can live anywhere and participate in meetings via web-conferencing. If any readers know of someone who fits either of these positions, please let them know about it.
Look for further announcements in the future, but I personally will appreciate any and all support you can provide the foundation in the future. Also, if you are looking for your own ’cause’ when competing….talk to me!! I will soon have the avenue to help you help that cause.
Jeff, I too had a friend who battled ALS for many years. Sadly he finally succumbed to the disease just two years ago. I think what you are doing is not only very commendable but also very important. You sound like a good friend.
I cannot help you with your request but I wish you much success in you endeavor.