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Giving Back

I was struck with so much sadness for the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, CT. It absolutely breaks my heart that all those sweet souls were taken from this earth much too soon. Nothing makes my heart ache more than this senseless act.

The beauty of the blogging world is we can spread the good when something so tragic happens. Neely, Michelle, Meg have created a Blogger Day of Silence.

From Neely’s Blog:

On Tuesday, December 18th, there will be a blogger day of silence. We will post the button and that’s it. Please try to not post anything else that day if possible.

We are also raising money that will go to an organization in the memory of this tragedy. The organization is called The Newtown Family Youth and Family Services.

Here is the official description of the support service we are donating to:

“Newtown Youth and Family Services, Inc. is a licensed, non-profit, mental health clinic and youth services bureau dedicated to helping children and families achieve their highest potential. NYFS provides programs, services, activities, counseling, support groups and education throughout the Greater Newtown area.

ANY DONATIONS MADE TO NEWTOWN YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES WILL BE DONATED DIRECTLY TO THOSE EFFECTED BY THE SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL SHOOTING.

Please visit THIS PAGE to make your donation.

We can’t imagine how they must be feeling, especially this close to the holidays. We would love for you to spread the word on your own blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Let’s make a difference and use blogging in a positive way.

Thank you in advance for participating.

Love,

The Blog World

So, please share, donate and spread the word. We need more love in this world.

About a month ago, Andrew, a great friend of mine, was diagnosed with colon cancer. This is Andrew and I after finishing our first 5K back in January.

We’ve all been trying to find ways to help either him directly or to spread the word about the prevention and treatment of colon cancer. The outpouring of support has been tremendous. Sign up sheets were created for people to take shifts making meals and mowing his lawn. A sign was even designed in an effort to support his fight.

I went on the hunt for a way to help spread awareness about colon cancer and help support such a wonderful friend. I had never heard of a 5K that benefited colon cancer patients, survivors and those we’ve lost. Needless to say, I found one with a little Google search.

Thus began the amazingness that is the Dallas Undy 5000.

The Undy 5000 is a 5K walk/run and fun run put on by the Colon Cancer Alliance. The Dallas run takes place on October 27th. The cool thing about what they are doing is that proceeds go to a specific organization working to help those who have been affected by cancer. For the Dallas race, part of the proceeds goes to the Mary Crowley Cancer Research Centers.

There’s something unique about this race. Here’s what the website has to say:

The Undy 5000 is a family-friendly 5K run/walk that was created by the Colon Cancer Alliance. It is unique because participants are encouraged to run in their boxers to bring attention to the area affected by colon cancer. We have found that by getting people talking about this disease, we can save lives!

That’s right! You get to run in your UNDERWEAR! How fun is that?

It was an easy decision to sign up for it and organize a Team, Team Andrew. The word began to spread that we started a team. After the creation of a Facebook page and invitations sent out, it was apparent that friends and family (even strangers) were willing to help or participate.

Check it out! We’re the Top Fundraising Team!

It’s still very early, but I’m officially recruiting you to help us spread the word.

I need your help:

1. Donate on my page or on our team page.
2. Contact me if you are interested in joining our team.
3. Spread the word about Undy 5000 and check to see if there is one near you.
4. Educate yourself about colon cancer.
5. Learn about your family history for any high risks of cancer and visit your doctor yearly.
6. Last but certainly not least, please pray for Andrew and his family.

We’ve raised $605.00 so far, but our team goal is $1,500. Will you help us?

Note: This is what a man who will NOT be defeated looks like. Take note, tumor! No one fights alone!

The Race for the Cure was this past Saturday in North Texas. In the last month, I’ve been working to acclimate myself to the summer heat. With that said, I was looking forward to the 5K run. And, of course, looking to bring awareness and support to breast cancer.

I woke up bright and early at 5:45 a.m. After consuming a Clif bar and banana, I got dressed and began mentally preparing for a great race. Parking was surprisingly a breeze. I was prepared for some chaos and frustration, but the race organizers had a parking garage set up just for participants.

We grabbed some fruit and walked around to check out the vendors before heading to the start line.

It was sweet to see these signs for those that have lost the fight. I’m so glad we can continue to remember those that we’ve lost. We fight breast cancer for those we’ve lost and for all others still fighting. I absolutely love doing stuff like this.

I was running the competitive 5K while some friends of mine decided to run/walk the casual 5K. My race started 10 minutes before the casual walk. I left my friends and headed to the start line a couple minutes before the start. I love races. The energy and people help motivate me to keep going.

The horn sounded and we were off. I knew there were 8 water stations and I knew I’d be stopping at most of them. I found my comfortable pace and kept at it. There were two spots where the sun was just beating down on me. Those two spots were the worst. They were long and tiring. I kept at it and continued stopping at water stations. Those were absolute blessings. The volunteers were attentive and quick with handing out water. The only problem was unless I stopped to drink the water, I ended up not having a trash to throw the cup away. A couple times, I ended up littering.

By the second mile, I turned down the longest stretch of the race. I thought that road wasn’t ever going to end. I knew that once I turned left, I was a few hundred yards from the finish. I kept going. I rounded that corner and heard all the cheers. Thanks to all the volunteers for that. I needed that extra little push to finish out strong. The timer came into a view and I was closing in on my last 5K time back in January. I needed to beat that time. NEEDED! So, I started sprinting and crossed the finish line with one minute to spare.

My official time: 34:32

I placed 12th in my age group out of 17. I placed 360 overall. I believe the total head count was 578. I’ll take it!

After I finished, I grabbed a water and headed back to the race. I needed to cheer on my friends and everyone else. The rest of the crew did great, too! It was such a great way to support such an awesome cause.

After, we made our way over to the booths to visit with some vendors and grab some goodies. McAlisters gave out tea. Collin Creek Mall gave out pink bags. La Madeline gave out strawberries dipped in yogurt. So yummy.

We finished the morning with a tribute to all the breast cancer survivors. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the place.

Hello, tutu! This was by far my favorite moment of the day. Cheering on those that have conquered breast cancer was so humbling. It was so much fun and such a pleasure to be a part of this fighting community. It was also great to be a part of the PepsiCo team. It turned out to be the perfect way to spend my Saturday morning. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

I started off the month of March by participating in Stephanie’s TNT Bake Sale. Stephanie is the blogger of Steph’s Bite by Bite and an avid runner. Her friend, Kristi, is currently training for her first half marathon. She’s training with Team in Training who works to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

In support of Kristi and the fight for a cure for Leukemia and Lymphoma, Stephanie put together the TNT Online Bake Sale. I knew I wanted to help somehow. The day before the bake sale, Stephanie posted a list of all the bloggers and their treats. The way it works is as soon as the sale is open, you can start bidding for treats. If you’re the highest bidder, you pay the bid on Kristi’s fundraising page and your yummy treat is sent to you directly. How cool is that?

I’ll tell ya the bidding was brutal. I was out bid twice and I kept changing my mind on which treat I wanted. There were cookies, dessert bars, truffles, brownies, cakes, etc. I must say though the final bid was well worth the $30 I spent.

Let me introduce you to these little babies:

Racheal from Running with Racheal is the baker of these low fat chocolate banana baked oatmeal singles. These looked really good and I loved that they wouldn’t make me feel too guilty if I ate 2 or 3 in one sitting – which I may have done. The great thing about these is they are good at any time. I ate them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and/or snack. They satisfy me and keep me full. I made an awesome choice. A big thank you is in order to Kristi, Stephanie and Racheal.

Maybe next time I’ll put a baking dessert in the ring for others to bid on. I’m really glad I took part in it. Have any of ya’ll done something like this before? I love finding little ways to give back.

So, go support Kristi and Team in Training. It’s all for a great cause.

Alright, I must say I was fairly inactive with Invisible Children until I saw this video.

Watch it! Now, I’m fired up!

I know several people that have been a part of Invisible Children for years. In a simple nutshell, Invisible Children works to prevent eliminate the abduction and forced enlistment of children by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Africa. Innocent children are being abducted from their homes, given guns and forced to do terrible acts of violence under the power of Joseph Kony, the leader of the LRA. What’s their reasoning behind this? Kony simply wants power. How gross is that?

The Kony 2012 campaign/movement has been established to make Kony famous. The idea is to raise awareness in his arrest and bring justice to the African people.

Here’s what you can do to help:

Pledge. “Joseph Kony is one of the world’s worst war criminals and I support the international effort to arrest him, disarm the LRA and bring the child soldiers home.” You can simply sign the pledge in support of bringing these children soldiers home. I did.

Take action. Buy the Action Kit and participate on April 20, 2012 for Cover the Night. The Action Kit includes lots of memorabilia for you to spread awareness and make Kony famous. It’s only $30 and you get a ton of great stuff in support: a t-shirt, a button, posters, a bracelet, stickers, etc. Cover the Night consists of using modern memorabilia to spread the word of Kony, one of the largest war criminals ever known. The event will take place at night where we can put up posters, stickers and other memorabilia so that when the morning comes the people of the world will see the change that this great organization is striving for.

“The rest of the world will go to bed Friday night and wake up to hundreds of thousands of posters demanding justice on every corner”

Donate. The simple act of donation is a great way to get involved as well.

Get in touch with a cultural figure or policy maker. People like Lady Gaga, George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Clinton and Mitt Romney are getting involved with Kony 2012. You can write to these influencers about what your doing to spread the word or how you’ve impacted your community with Kony 2012. I’m sure they’ll take any questions you have, too.

WHO ARE YOU TO END A WAR? WHO ARE YOU NOT TO?

I want to tell you something that irked me today. I was visiting all the Facebook pages related to this movement and I found a comment (and I didn’t take a screenshot of it, sorry) that upset me. To paraphrase, he said:

Um, hello?! You all do realize this war has been going on since 1988. If you’re only learning about this now then you’re a (not so nice name I won’t repeat).

Why does it matter when we all learned about this terrible war? Isn’t it about making peace? Isn’t it about coming together as a society and making a difference? Some people can just be so arrogant. Yes, I decided to take action recently, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t make a difference and help NOW. Why be so close minded?

So, I’ve pledged and I’ve bought the Action Kit. I’ll buy some extra posters, too. On April 20th, I’ll be in Amsterdam. I’ll be an American in Amsterdam fighting for a cause in Africa. Mind blown, right? I’ll be wearing IC/Kony 2012 propaganda as well as putting up posters and stickers. I’ll be spreading the word. Won’t you join me?

I have to express my gratitude to the bloggers that are trying to spread awareness as well: Janeth from omgitsjaneth, Kristen from Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Chelsea from the Collegebook, and Mike and Jess from Mike & Jess in Malta. I’m sure there are hundreds more!