Today, November 4th, marks 3 years that I have paired up with my I Run 4 Michael buddy Joshua.
When we began, Joshua was 9, had a feeding tube and carried his meal replacements with him. He was a bit defiant (no, not a pre-teen boy). His Cerebral Palsy not so prevalent to me. I saw a boy who could be my own son. He was right in between my oldest and middle sons. Smart, testing boundaries and eager to pave his own path.
Needless to say, I fell in love with him right away.
I had just begun running earlier in the year. May 3rd is when I began, to be exact.
My friend and fellow blogger Jennifer, was running for her buddy and kept posting photos. I was curious. She gave me the information and I decided in September 2013 to sign up to be matched.
I train to be a better runner for not only myself, but for Joshua. I send him medals I have earned. If there are no medals, then shirts, pins, bracelets. Whatever I receive, I send to him.
There are so many people wanting to make the connection, to run 4 someone, but not always enough buddies to go around. We need to spread awareness and send the message of unity to everyone.
That way, people get matched sooner and friendships can begin to form and blossom.
Over the past 3 years, Joshua and I have shared our love of baseball. We've chatted during the times our beloved Oakland A's and Tampa Bay Rays have played against each other.
Joshua played 3 seasons of Little League Baseball as well.
Joshua's amazing parents. Jess & Jim adopted both Joshua and his older brother as infants. Both were born with special needs. Both are amazing young men who have parents who love them for who they are.
Because of I Run 4, I have met so many wonderful people, made so many wonderful friends and have been able to share special moments with other I run 4 athletes and buddies. I have even encouraged my son Luke to do the same , and while he doesn't run too much, he does give support to his run buddy.
My life is forever changed. While we are currently 3000 miles apart, we do have hopes to meet one day.