The marathon before the marathon

Today I managed to reach – and then beat! – my stretch goal for fundraising in support of my marathon walk. I can’t really describe the feeling I got when I realized that I had raised more money than I’d ever raised in one event…and I’m still rather astonished.

The event, for those who didn’t follow my walk last year, is the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk, a fundraiser for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI). DFCI is monumentally instrumental in researching and treating cancer, especially cancers that afflict children. When I saw the ads for the walk last year and decided (only 8 week prior to the event!) that I would try to walk 26.2 miles, I felt like I was probably getting myself way in over my head. But as I walked past each mile marker with the picture, name and bio of some sweet child who was in the fight of their life, I knew I was there to make a difference.

2011 Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk Finish Line

The view coming into the finish line in Copley Square, September 2011…ahhh!!!


I chose the marathon walk because I knew I’d never be able to RUN a Boston Marathon, but I figured I could walk it. And it wasn’t without pain (oh my, there was pain), but there was the angel with the ibuprofen at the lunch tent and there was the knowledge that there were people doing the full marathon walk with braces, canes, etc., and…ALL MY EXCUSES ARE INVALID.

The entry point for this year’s walk was $300 – you had to put down a credit card and if you raise less than $300 by the time they do the final tallying post-walk, the difference is charged to your credit card. Last year, getting to $300 was pretty easy, and I have enough experience raising money for Races for the Cure that it never occurred to me to be worried about raising so small an amount. Even in a recession, people are generous about giving even small amounts (and sometimes large!) when it comes to cancer and kids. Plus, given how DONE I am with the Komen folks, this is now the charity that I will target for all my personal fundraising efforts. Narrowing things down to one event per year is good, narrowing it down to one I can trust is even better.

This year, I wanted to go big and make “Pacesetter”. The Pacesetter designation is for walkers who raise a minimum of $1250, and there are varying degrees of Pacesetter, based on how much you raise (one star is $1250, two star is $2500, etc.). I tried to figure out how to handle things, and I knew that fundraising on a grander scale would be needed, so I engaged the Corporate Social Responsibility folks at my office, as well as the walk organizers, and I set up to do some events on-site at work. I had to get everything approved by work, and I had to get the events that would be considered “official” approved by The Jimmy Fund folks, too, so I could borrow a banner and some other materials to show that this was indeed a legit fundraiser.

My coworkers were fab about supporting me – some donated online and others donated through the events that I ran. Some did both. My family kicked in a bunch of money. My friends, solicited through e-mail and Facebook status messages, kicked in more money…and shortly after breakfast this morning, I reached my goal. At this time, I have nearly $1300 in, with another $67 still *somewhere* in the Boston mail system.

I’m tired from all the fundraising, since that seems like it was a huge exertion all on its own, but I have to say that it was a brilliant time and I’m really proud that I was able to bring in so much money for such a worthy cause. I’m still able to take donations, but I’ve deliberately chosen NOT to solicit via my blog because I’d like to keep this space free of appeals for money. If you want to donate, feel free to comment and I’ll get back to you. Otherwise, no worries.

So now I can focus on my neglected training schedule, in order to keep myself from limping my way through the course this year. I finished the first “marathon” for this year’s walk, and now I’m on to the second. Here’s hoping that the actual walk is easier than the process of getting there…

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