WHY

Some of you have asked about when and WHY I am running the Chicago Marathon. God has created all of us in his image. Some people are given very special gifts. It is up to us to learn more about these gifts to gain a deeper understanding, as well as appreciation, for these gifts. It is my goal to teach students about their own special gifts and the gifts of others. It has been a wonderful journey and I hope sharing my journey will motivate and inspire students, as well as others.
 On October 13, 2013, I will lace up my shoes and run the Chicago Marathon. My training has been a long, difficult road but nothing compared to the road a parent of a child with special gifts walks each and every day. I am running this Marathon for many reasons. I am running to raise awareness of autism. I am running for every girl’s positive self image. I am running to honor my hero, Kelly Weaver, her daughter, Gillian Weaver, and all other children with special gifts, as well as all girls everywhere.  I am running for the Alexander Leigh Center for Autism and Girls On The Run.
I am running to raise awareness of autism. Did you know that one out of every 150 children born this year will be diagnosed with autism? Did you know more children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined? Autism costs the nation 90 billion dollars per year and the cost of lifelong care can be reduced by 2/3 with early diagnosis and intervention. There is no medical detection or cure for autism.
I am running for every girl’s positive self image. Girls on the Run is a life-changing, experiential learning program for girls age eight to thirteen years old. The program combines training for a 3.1 mile running event with self-esteem enhancing, uplifting workouts. The goal of the program is to encourage positive emotional, social, mental, spiritual and physical development. Girls on the Run promotes  physical as well as emotional, mental and character development. The girls complete the program with a stronger sense of identity, a greater acceptance of themselves, a healthier body image and an understanding of what it means to be part of a team. As a coach for four seasons, I have seen the positive outcomes of this program. These girls inspire me! To learn more about Girls On The Run go to www.gotrchicago.org    Make a donation to Girls on the Run
I am running to honor my hero, Kelly Weaver, her daughter, Gillian Weaver, and all other children with special gifts. Thirteen year old Gillian Weaver is autistic. Gillian’s father, Kevin Weaver, passed away from an undiagnosed brain tumor when Gilly was very young.  Kelly, now a single mom, has opened a school for Gillian and other autistic children. The Alexander Leigh Center for Autism was founded by Dorie Hoevel and Kelly Weaver, who are both parents of children with autism. These two dedicated mothers have created a place where children can reach their full individual potential, in a caring and safe environment, a place where each child’s differences are what make them special. To learn more about the school, please visit their website  www.alexanderleighcenterforautism.com   Make a donation to ALCA
                                                                                                                               
I run for each of my own children, the children I teach, the children that face frustration of autism, the children who doubt themselves, all children who daily face challenges no matter how big or small. As some of you know, music is a large part of my life. Therefore, I have asked the students for their help as well. I have compiled a playlist of musical inspiration to keep me moving during my long runs and workouts. I want to be reminded of each and every reason I run. I have asked the students to each think of a favorite song to add to the playlist. The list is fabulous and diverse! If you have a song you think would be a good addition, email it to me!  
Last but not least, I would ask for your prayers.  I would ask that you pray the children of St. Paulof the Cross, as well as all other children, that they may grow in wisdom and understanding.  I would ask that you pray for The Alexander Leigh Center for Autism, that this school will continue to be a place where each child can reach their full potential. I ask that you pray for the young women who participate in Girls On The Run that they gain a strong sense of identity. I would ask that you pray for my children as well as the children I teach, that they may grow in wisdom and understanding.  I would ask that you pray for all runners and me on race day so that we finish safely. Finally, I would ask that you pray not only for children with special gifts, but their parents as well.  They all face challenges each and every day that many of us will never know nor understand.
Forward is a Pace. Peace

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