|I'm indifferent to race medals unless they have Willie Nelson on them.|
I have a confession to make. When I set up my marathon fundraiser page several months back I didn’t think I would reach my goal of raising $1500 for the Huntsville affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Huntsville). This is the second time I have done a running fundraiser. The first—when I ran the Rocket City Marathon in December 2012—brought in just under $700. When I launched the second round for this year’s Austin Marathon that I ran on February 16th, I set a publicly high bar while secretly hoping the higher goal would bring in $1000. You all showed me. And I thank you with most sincere gratitude for your powerful show of generosity. The morning after my race, an anonymous donor made a $35 gift to push me to the goal I didn’t think I’d reach. Since race weekend, a few more donations have come in and the total is currently at $1776.
Hitting the number that I didn’t expect to reach felt great, but reaching that goal takes on a much fuller meaning when I stop for a moment to think about what it really means. Teaching and taking NAMI's Family-to-Family were life altering experiences following some of my lowest moments. The course, designed by Dr. Joyce Burland, gave me grounding insight into my own crash into depression and the struggles of my family members. I am well today, in large part because of the NAMI members and volunteers who brought me into the loop. And I know looking forward that soon NAMI newcomers will find the same crucial support and guidance thanks to the compassion you have expressed in your giving. That push forward to keep the cycle of NAMI support ongoing and expanding in North Alabama is what matters most about my run. By providing that collective boost, you enriched the solitary marathon experience with a profound sense of connection. Thank you.