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Find your cause

Posted: July 10, 2014 1:53 p.m.
Updated: July 11, 2014 5:00 a.m.

My friend “sleep” never showed up that night; or, at the very most, came for a scant hour or two. Obviously, the lack of caffeine paired with a Tylenol PM didn’t work like I had envisioned. I imagine it was my nerves and the excitement of adventure along with the unknown. Luckily, adrenalin triumphed over the fatigue in this scenario. The scenario here was in the form of something called “Ultimate Hike,” more officially named the “Ultimate Hike for CureSearch for Children’s Cancer Research.”

I’m always amazed how, at certain times in our lives, extraordinary circumstances are placed on our paths at the ideal moment. We can all hope we will see the relevant motivations behind them. In my case, I was recruited by an old friend to join her in a crusade to help fight children’s cancer; two words that should never be together. What she didn’t know when drafting me for her team was the reality that I was already involved in a way with children’s cancer.

You see, a classmate and good friend of my 10-year-old twins was battling cancer herself and giving it the fight of her life. “Relay for Life” was a start, but I needed to help more. This awful disease had been up close and personal this past school year and I was ready to be a part of this war on cancer. Recruitment was the easy part for my friend as it did not take me long to join her team. We would be ready for this fight.

This “fight” would come in the form of fundraising for the nonprofit “CureSearch for Children’s Cancer Research” and completing their “Ultimate Hike” consisting of 28.3 miles on a difficult portion of the Foothills Trail in the mountains of North and South Carolina. Piece of cake, right? Nope. We would have to prepare and train for the physical part of our commitment. Raising the funds would prove to be the easy part. Hence, enter our faithful coach, Mel, along with six weeks of training and coaching. We would complete the 28.3 miles in a grueling 14 hours.

We crossed the finish line exhausted but elated and proud though not without a few sore muscles and our fair share of bug bites. The last six miles were the hardest for obvious reasons. But what truly pushed us those last miles was knowing we were part of a large fight and something so much bigger than any of us that day on the trail. All around me were the stories of loss and sadness from parents who had lost children to cancer.

I was so completely humbled to be in the presence of this group of people that represented the most strength and courage I had ever seen. They gave me inspiration the entire day. How dare I think about complaining about a sore muscle or feet this day or quite frankly, ever. They were pillars of amazing fortitude and I was absolutely thrilled to be part of their war on children’s cancer. They have a comrade in me for the rest of my life.

Excuse the cliché, but I believe people who are connected to something larger and more important than themselves will always achieve joy and satisfaction from their participation. Most of us want to be a part of something, part of a mission or passion that enables us to go further than we ever thought we could. The definition of this “mission” or “passion” can come in many forms.

For some, making a living and their life’s calling can be interchanged. For others, there will never be compensation for being a part of things larger than themselves. Being a part of a cause, a passion, a larger vision can change our sight of the world around us. Contrary to popular belief, one person can make a difference. It’s called the “ripple effect.” Give it a try.

Find something that matters to you. “The more you lose yourself in something bigger than yourself, the more energy you have.”


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