Saturday, September 13, 2014

Well, I did it!

It took alllllllll summer of doing things I do NOT normally do, but I did it!  
I ran a 5K... not 3.1 miles in # minutes...
This post is not all teaching stuff, 
but it is about a student I adore and my way to detox…

I’ve posted before about being on Ethan’s COTA (Children’s Organ Transplant Association) fundraising team.  Ethan is listed for heart transplant.  We have had several fundraisers since March including a VERY SPECIAL teacher bundle (still available until October). 
But my BIG job was to organize a 5K. 
It was an enourmous job. Many people did offer to help, but it usually came with “except finding sponsors”.  Well, guess what… 90% of the work was sponsors…  I am a kid person, but not really a “talk to adults” person…especially strangers, 
but I did it.
I went everywhere, every day (all while teaching summer VPK!)  I got the required applications, permits and insurance.  I hired the runner’s timing company.  I RESEARCHED (pinned) as many 5K “how-to’s” and sample flyers as I could find.  I made sponsorship brochures and forms.  I created the registration forms and flyers.  I was blessed with a mom from my class who could take my crazy sketch and design ideas and turn it into the CUTEST shirt logo ever!! I printed the flyer and even hung it up in my house in May… it’s still up.  

And then every day, I made myself pick one new place or do one new thing or call back one more business.
It was hard.
They asked how many people to expect??? 
100?? 200?? (am I dreaming?) 300??(my goal)  How much will this event fundraise??? I’ll pray for $5,000 but my goal is $20K. 
(The runners guy said I “might get 100 runners,  we will see” and the ”big races can raise more than $20000”  Dude, challenge accepted.  
While shy, I am competitive... my motto- where there’s a Jill, there’s a way)
The running guy also told me “take your lowest sponsor value and double it”.  And then shoot for the moon on your top sponsor values.  So I did. 
It was a super hero theme and the “Superman sponsor” was $5000. Hey, why not? This kid needs a new HEART, for goodness sakes.
It was slow going.  I talked to many new people and many of our school families as I ran into them over summer and finally things started happening. Most were in the $200-$300 range, but I was feeling better.  First, I just needed to be able to pay the bills I was creating! I wanted a cardiologist as a sponsor *and given I am frequently told "my blood pressure is too high", I even made an appointment for myself 
(**yes, the medicine is working well-but,geez, I’m not that old!). 
Well, my new cardiologist was also on the board for our local VNA and POW! I got a SUPERMAN sponsor!!!  I cried, I couldn’t drive, I couldn’t breathe ~ it was cool.  
I did it
The summer had ups and downs. So many visits to so many places.  The yes’s and no’s where fine, the call backs and maybe’s weren’t so fun.  I went to 2 other 5K races to watch what the coordinators did.  The more people I talked to, the more leads I investigated.  And the more connections I made in my community ~ that felt good.  I took Ethan’s older sister, Izzy, with me often.  


 Having so much attention on her brother is hard for her, having mom have to up and leave for medical reasons is hard.  At my house she gets to be the little sister and just play.  But while out working on the race, I saw a new found mission for her to help her brother (let’s face it, little brothers can still be annoying…)  She would help me keep motivated “where are we going next??”  (Oh my, I thought I was going home!)
By 2 weeks before the race, I got a second Superman sponsor (and I really was hoping for the cool string backpacks, they had at another race-ha!)  I got those backpacks for the kid’s fun run and so much more.  
AND SCHOOL STARTED!!! Holy Cow-oly! At 7 pm after the first day of school, I drove 2 hours north to pick up the race t-shirts!! Crazy!
My kids and their WONDERFUL friends, helped me pack all of those “swag bags” and so much more.  They all had jobs for race day were ready to make it happen. 
Forever thankful
Ethan, however, was not doing so well.  Coughing up blood ~ since only one lung really works, the blood vessels search for their own ways to find oxygen and sometimes that is straight into the lungs.  He ended up missing the first week and a half of school with a trip to his cardiology team at Miami Children’s Hospital.  Before being listed, they would go in and cauterize the stray blood vessels, but now surgery is not the best option since we want him ready to go for transplant at Shand’s Hospital on a moment’s call. 
So Ethan and his mom missed the race.
Do you know what is crazy?? It was OK!  
People came out in droves; we registered over 70 people that day!!!  Everyone was dressed in the super hero gear posting pictures to FB for Ethan to see!  
It was really breath taking. 
   

  

Izzy and I represented the Hendon family, my school family came out and manned the registration tables and water stations, 
My principal with 4 the 22 teachers who helped!
our JrROTC family were the course marshalls, the Hendon's crossfit family handled food and awards, my family ran and did all of the crazy jobs I assigned (including babysitting picnic tables and dealing with a bathtub FULL of ice) and my extended family of teenagers did an AMAZING job with everything I threw at them. 
(Izzy being spoiled by teenagers, my daughter -top left, my son -batman)
As the runners were going by, I stood there in tears. 
One of my son’s friends, Jake, came over and put his arm over my shoulder and said “Look what you did”.
Yup, I did it.
I led a whole gaggle of wonderful people to run, walk, fly, and work 
for Ethan and I thank them all.
I still have so many stories along the way, but this was mine.  I am still collecting checks, organizing information, attempting to clean my living room of race stuff and 
still waiting for a call…
sadly, a painful call for someone, 
but a lifesaving call for Ethan. 
Are you a blood donor?
Are you an organ or tissue donor?
Be a super hero, sign up today.

~ Jill
to donate or learn more about Ethan go to www.COTAforteamethanh.com


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