Yup, you read that right. I am running the 2012 Boston Marathon to raise money for Perkins School for the Blind! I am thrilled and terrified at the same time. Thrilled, because running a marathon is one of my life goals. And terrified, because – well, it’s a marathon!!
I’ve chronicled some of my races this year on this blog so some of you are familiar with how much I love the sport. I’ve ran eight races in 2011, including the Ras na hEireann 5K, Harpoon Brewery 5 Miler, Boston Run to Remember Half-Marathon, even the John Hancock Stair Climb. The last race I ran was the Tufts 10K in October, which was the most fun race I’ve ever ran. For the Boston Marathon, I’ll be posting monthly updates about my training – I’m doing Hal Higdon’s 18 week Novice program.
Of course this marathon is going to be extra special because I am part of Team Perkins, and I will be raising funds for something that is very near and dear to my heart. As some of you already know, one of my sisters graduated from Perkins School for the Blind.
I’ve also already written about my involvement with Perkins (2011 Taste of Perkins, A Taste of Italy at Towne, Vision 5K) but this will be my biggest endeavor to date. I’m asking for your support for Team Perkins.
Monica is deaf-blind. She had rubella (German measles) when she was in the womb, with not just the accompanying complications of congenital cataract and profound deafness but also more serious heart defects that later caused encephalitis, which resulted in the right-side paralysis of her whole body. So Monica is deaf, mute, blind, was partially paralyzed, and has had multiple heart and brain surgeries. But in spite of all of that, my sister remains to be one of the most cheerful, happiest, and smartest people I know.
Monica brightens up any room with her laugh and sense of humor. She and I have a lot in common; we both love the following things: strawberry ice cream, gummy bears, birthday cake, new clothes and shoes, getting mani-pedis, make-up (yup, she’s my sister alright), tickling, naps, baking cookies, and spending time with family. She is very inquisitive and loves hearing and telling stories, and she is very affectionate, always wanting to give gifts to family and friends.
In 2001, my parents, Monica, and my youngest sister Patty moved to Boston – so Monica can study at Perkins School for the Blind. At that time, in addition to her sensory and motor impairments, Monica had also developed behavioral problems like obsessive fixations and temper tantrums that could turn violent. Such challenges, however, did not deter the staff at Perkins in helping her receive high quality educational training, simultaneously allowing her to experience a more fulfilled life as an equal member in a welcoming community. The Perkins faculty and staff treated my sister and all other students and alumni with care, compassion, and love. They helped her adapt to her circumstances and orient her learning experiences towards her development as an adult. Monica graduated from the Deaf-Blind program in 2005.
At Perkins, my sister has learned to prepare her own breakfast, write and mail letters, make new friends, dance in a prom, and work at a part-time job. These may be just ordinary activities for many people, but to Monica these are personal and social milestones. These are the things I remember most about her time at Perkins, and the things I am most thankful for every time I think of that school. I always say that Perkins changed my sister’s life, and it changed my family’s life.
I love Monica with all my heart, and I dedicate this run to her. I’ve been running for a few years by now and I’ve always had all sorts of reasons for running: weight loss, fitness, an escape, a social sport. But now, running has become so much bigger.
I am asking for your support in this endeavor – please sponsor me at the 2012 Boston Marathon! If you would be so kind as to donate some money, just visit my personal fundraising page and click the yellow “Donate” button on the upper right hand side. Any amount would help!
It’s going to be an amazing race for an amazing cause.