Yo soy La Lay

adventures in family, faith, and Down syndrome

Advocacy #28: RUN

on October 28, 2015

John takes over tonight for one of the kinds of advocacy that I have stayed away from… running.

When Tessa was about a month old, Maggie signed us up for a seminar on inclusion.  If you haven’t figured this out already, Maggie is a bit of a planner (this is also known around the world as a diagnosis of “Type A”).  Anyway, my planning wife was planning for our daughter’s future school three years in advance, while I was just trying to get through a Saturday.

While Mag walked into the seminar with a plan for our future… I walked into the seminar (begrudgingly, I might add, as I am still aiming for personal growth in the advocacy department) with no plan and no idea what I was in for.  When I sat down, I noticed a brochure to be part of the Ups for DownS Charity Running Team.  I looked through the information and here’s what it boiled down to:

  • Run the Chicago Rock n’ Roll Half
  • Raise money for Ups for DownS
  • Raise awareness for Down syndrome

I took home the brochure and told Mag that I felt compelled to run and she told me I had her whole support.  She was tired of me doing races just for “fun” because she always said I could just do that on the street for free.  Being a charity runner made much more sense to her.  Her support was really important because in training, I can be gone on these runs for 2 or 3 hours sometimes.  And while I’m gone enjoying my music and shuffling along, she is there taking care of every burning need of my children.  To those of you who say it’s only a couple hours…clearly you haven’t met my children.  Sorry…back on topic.

When I signed up I thought:  Well, it’s for a good cause, it will be fun to run a race in Chicago, why not?   I mean, the worst case scenario was that I would end up paying most of my commitment to fundraise $250, but it would still be for a good cause and I didn’t really care if that happened.  Two years later, Team Tessa has collectively raced over 100 miles, raised over $8,000 and had 8 people join our team in support of a great cause.

Here’s the point I would like to make about running and advocacy… just like running, sometimes advocacy is difficult.  At times it’s hard to keep advocacy in mind.  At times advocacy asks us to step our of our comfort zone and step up for the people we care about.  And at times running for a cause seems as substantial or more so than those other challenges.  But here’s the thing:  People in our life continue to step up to support her and people like her.  You see, advocacy doesn’t have to be grand and with pomp and circumstance.  Sometimes it can be as simple as shuffling one mile after another to run for a little girl who deserves our love and acceptance just the way she is.  Thanks to all of you that do that…and a shameless plug here: There’s always room on Team Tessa for more runners!

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