If I can....please let me borrow a few minutes of your blogging time for a very special friend. Back several months I did a post about going to the Boston Marathon with my dearest friend on the planet Lori Scovill. It was a huge surprise to me how much I enjoyed the experience and the amount of inspiration I got from the hard work and extreme dedication those runners have. Coming up on November 1st my friend Lori will be one of those
bat crap crazy dedicated runners at the New York City Marathon. YUP a pretty dang big deal. I am immensely proud of her...she blows me away with her ability to meet this challenge. I am so excited to get to see her and her husband run, and to stand on the sideslines screaming my head of like a lunitic, cheering them on. Luckily we'll be in New York where lunatics run rampant so I won't stand out in the crowd.
I'd like to share with you the beautiful heartfelt words of my friend Lori about why she runs...and who she is running for......It will touch your heart I'm sure.
Running in Honor of Joseph O. Davidson
“When I think of words to describe Joe the first one that comes to my mind is integrity; others are unwavering faith, friendship, kindness, and gentleness. He is a wonderful father and an incredible husband.” ~Kathy Davidson
“Joe Davidson was my mentor and will always be my friend. He is an intellectual giant, a scholar, and a gentleman. He is a legend at the Language and Culture Center at University of Houston, where he served as director for twenty-three years. From the early onset of Parkinson’s, I saw him quietly and courageously continue to work with grace and dignity and great purpose. He is my hero.”
~ Joy S.Tesh, Director of the Language and Culture Center, University of Houston
“Dr. Davidson was more than just my Spanish teacher. He taught me how to be a better person.”
~ Nathan Scovill
Terry and I are excited to run the New York City Marathon to raise money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation to cure Parkinson’s disease. On November 1, 2009, I will put on my shoes and run 26.2 miles in honor of Dr. Joseph O. Davidson. Why do I run? And why the Michael J. Fox Foundation?
This has been a challenging year for most of the people I know and love. When faced with problems as enormous as disease or widespread economic hardship, it can be difficult to feel hopeful, or to believe that there is anything one person can do to turn the tide. But what I KNOW, what I have learned from my experience is this: It is the small, loving, positive things we do that become the strength and momentum that does turn the tide, that does create positive outcomes, that does change the world.
Two years ago, I didn’t run—ever. Marathoning is a new sport for me. It has taught me so much about life. You can’t run a marathon on marathon day if you don’t practice for weeks and weeks in advance. Marathons aren’t about marathon day. Marathons are about the small, seemingly inconsequential daily choices you make while you train. Marathon victories (for us mortals who just aim to finish) begin at four in the morning on a regular Saturday when it’s 88 degrees and humid outside. It’s won when you get out of bed and do your long run anyway. According to Marathoners, there are two halves to a marathon--the first twenty miles and the last six. What I’ve learned is that the first twenty miles on Marathon day happen because you train well for the previous 20 weeks. Success in the first twenty miles of a marathon is earned during those “private,” day-to-day victories.
That’s why marathoners say that you run the first twenty miles with your body and the last six miles with your heart. They are right. At some point after running the first twenty miles, your body is finished and you hit “the wall.” That’s why the second half of the marathon is the “heart half.” You have to run it with your heart because your body is finished. It also explains why crowd support makes such a huge difference on Marathon day. Being cheered on gives you strength you didn’t know you had and carries you over the tough spots. There is nothing quite like having someone in the crowd read the name on your running bib and cheer just for you, “Come on, Lori. You can do it.” I would not have finished the Houston Marathon without the love, cheers and encouragement of my friends and family. Cheers literally help runners reach beyond the pain and find their heart.
I told my high school best friend, Nikki, that she needed to come see the Boston Marathon. I was there to watch another best friend, Veronique, run. Nikki told me running was “not a spectator sport.” She came anyway. During our adventure, Nikki found herself sitting at the bottom of “Heartbreak Hill.” It is the third of three long, steep hills that just happen to occur in the “heart half” of the Boston marathon. Folks are already tired and bleeding when they reach the bottom of Heartbreak Hill. They are spent. You can see the pain on their faces. A former runner was standing next to Nikki trying to cheer runners on. He couldn’t find the right words to say. Nothing he shouted seemed to help. Then he shouted, “Heartbreak Hill? Heartbreak Hill? You OWN this hill! You OWN this hill!” Runners heard him. They smiled. They gathered their strength. They picked up their pace. They found their wings and ran up that hill. Nikki had to fight back tears as she told her husband the story.
Joe Davidson is an amazing man (read below for more details J). He is also an extremely private man. Joe Davidson has faced with dignity and courage his private, daily battle with Parkinson’s disease. He has done this for years now. I feel immensely honored that Joe has allowed me the privilege to run for him and to gather a crowd to cheer him on during what must be the “heart half” of his race. I told Nikki’s story to Joe the same day I asked him for a picture to put on my Michael J. Fox Foundation webpage. Joe smiled and said, “What we really need is a picture of me at the bottom of Heartbreak Hill.”
That is why I am running the NYC Marathon for the Michael J. Fox Foundation to cure Parkinson’s disease. That is why I am sending this letter. We need your help. Your support, your cheers, your messages, your love, your encouragement and your contribution WILL cheer Joe on in his fight to beat Parkinson’s disease. Your willingness to get involved in a little way WILL make a big difference. Your response is just what is needed for researchers to be able to pick up the pace, to find a cure, to develop wings to help Joe up this long and difficult hill. I believe the Michael J. Fox Foundation, more than any other organization, is uniquely and strongly positioned to find the cure for Parkinson’s disease. There is hope. The hope is us. Run with me.
JOE, YOU OWN THIS HILL!
Thank you friends!
To make a donation and to leave Joe a message, click the link below.
I'd like to thank Lori for allowing me to post this beautiful message of hope and love. She is an amazing woman and I can't wait to help give her "wings" in New York next month.