Monday, September 19, 2011

My 8-year old Inspiriation

August....a month filled with both dread and joy. Every year August creeps up on me.....I suspect I am not alone.

August means the end of summer....back to school.....last minute vacations-which means extra work at work to prepare for said vacation or covering for others.  Budget time....the return of the college students - meaning the quiet laziness of the downtown area around the campus changes.....some may say it comes back to life but surprisingly, this city gal loves the relaxing feel....sitting outside at the coffee shop, meeting friends for a glass of wine or pint on the outdoor patios, going for ice cream or even lying in the grass in the middle of the downtown circle watching the clouds.

It also marks the 8th anniversary of the birth of my red-headed fireball daughter that makes me laugh....a smile from her warms my soul.   She was an unexpected  present to Brian and I.  We had  planned on only two children but I can't imagine our family being complete without her.

I am realizing more and more each day that there was a plan for Rachel's arrival. She not only looks like me....but she compliments me. Rachel is 100% a free spirit.....maybe that's typical of red-heads.....her creativity, energy, and overall spirit keep me going on days I want to crawl back under the covers.   She finds joy in the littlest things....a bike ride to the crab apple tree down the street is worthy of a 20 minute story -or better yet a song or operetta - although the ride may have only been 2 minutes long.

This little 8 year old joined me on my trip to Philadelphia to participate in the LIVESTRONG recognize the anniversary of her Dad's passing and her birthday.  She jumped right in - first by creating a memory card for Brian to post on the LIVESTRONG Memory wall.

As we met up with our team in the hotel lobby for dinner due to a monsoon rain taking place outside (and a mini river flowing into the lobby), Rachel approached this as an opportunity.  She spent the evening approaching others with a variety of our team items - t-shirts, magnets, water bottles and even strawberry jam.  This little ball of fire raised over $150 for LIVESTRONG that evening.

The morning of the 5K she was tired from the trip and late night, but perserved anyways.....running/walking/and hula hooping (yes, hula hooping) the distance.  Rachel approached others effortlessly.  The joy she displayed all day long made the milestone of that particular day much easier to deal with.

Yep, hula hooping on a 5K!
And she finishes....on the 7th anniversary of her Dad's passing

That evening, she was off hula hooping in the lobby.....and raised yet another $25 for her hula hooping prowess.  She immediately handed the money to me so we could donate to LIVESTRONG.  A very selfless act on her behalf - and not one I can imagine many children doing when there is a nice big mall across the parking lot.

Raising money for LIVESTRONG....if only I could hula hoop too!
 Sunday morning - her birthday none the less - Rachel rose early and jumped on her bike to complete a 10 mile bike ride in "Hilly Philly" the rain....with the same effortless perseverance she diplays each and every day.

Crossing the finish line - on her 8th birthday

And she's off!

Still full of smiles & energy at the end

Riding in memory of her Dad 
This is just another reason WHY I am so passionate about LIVESTRONGHow could I not be?  This little girl could be sad about missing out on memories with her Dad, but instead she turns what could have been a somber day into a day filled with joy.  Her thoughts are constantly on wanting to help others from losing their parents.  Instead she lives each day sadness....only looking forward!

Rachel brings smiles to my face all day I suspect she does with many other people.  She is a testament to LIVINGSTRONG.

I know a lot of you say I inspire you....but Rachel inspires ME!

This post isn't about fundraising but continuing to live life to it's fullest.  However, if you would like to support mine and Rachel's efforts to help families have a lifetime of memories together, please consider making a donation using the link below:

And if you would like us to honor your loved one on our tribute wall or on my back as I run NYC, please leave me a comment.

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