When I was almost two years old, my younger sister was born with cerebral palsy, a disorder affecting movement and muscle tone or posture of the body. From that day forward, Chai Lifeline came to the rescue and has been a constant light in our lives. Today my sister is leading a challenging yet successful life largely due to all the work that Chai Lifeline has done for us.
When families have a child with a challenge, the other children often feel less cared for. Chai Lifeline, however, had created an after school program called I-Shine. I-Shine, which is run by volunteers, picked me up twice a week, helped me do homework, gave me dinner, and played sports with me. I am grateful that I-Shine exists because they made every child feel special and that's what I needed.
Over the past few years, I have been looking for ways to give back. In 2016, my aunt and uncle were running the Miami half marathon with Chai Lifeline and invited me for the pre-race pasta party. That night I was elated seeing how many others felt loved by Chai Lifeline. The next day, I watched more than 600 blue and yellow shirts cross the finish line. I realized then how to pay it forward.
That next December, approximately 85 days before the next Lifeline Miami Marathon, I started training. For those that knew me, I was not a runner. However, no matter how many times I wanted to give up, I always told myself that I was going to make a difference in the world, just like Chai Lifeline. Giving up was not an option. During those 85 days, I ran 100 miles and raised more than $6,000. Running 13 miles took me 3 hours, but I completed it because I never gave up. The feeling of making a difference in someone's life kept me going from start to finish!
This year, I signed up for Lifetime Miami Marathon with Team Peri because of its inspirational team captain, Peri Finkelstein. Peri is world renown because she faces seemingly impossible challenges every day due to her muscular dystrophy, and yet she overcomes them. Learn more about Peri on teamperi.org. Given the difficulties training for the last Miami Marathon, I wanted to be a part of a team that would inspire me to push myself.
By teaming up with me and Team Peri, even through the smallest donation, I could reach my goal and give back to an organization that does so much for the world.
Have an awesome day, and I look forward to hearing from you!
Avroham Y Ross