This is a working list of organizations that continue to inspire me every day.
For more information on any of these organizations, please feel free to visit their websites or contact me with questions.
1. IR4 (I Run For Michael) –
IR4 was founded by Tim Boyle in 2013 when he was inspired by a friend battling illness. He came across what happens to be one of my favorite motivational quotes of all time and when he shared it, “Michael”, a gentleman with Down Syndrome, told Tim, “You can run for me anytime!” And so it began…
IR4 is meant to bring together runners with buddies who have a wide variety of special needs. The goal is to develop relationships, encourage and motivate one another, and even help to raise awareness for your buddy. I RUN4 Angel. Speaking from personal experience, this organization brings so much light, positivity, and hope into a world where so many are fighting illness day in and day out.
To learn more, visit http://www.whoirun4.com
2. Ainsley’s Angels of America –
The daughter of Kim (or “Rooster”) and Lori Rossiter, Ainsley was born in 2003 and diagnosed with Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy (INAD) just before turning four. INAD is an extremely rare, progressive, and terminal illness. The vast majority of children diagnosed do not have an opportunity to celebrate their 10th birthday. Ainsley’s Angels of America is close to my heart for so many reasons, but especially because my IR4 buddy, Angel, is also battling INAD.
Throughout Ainsley’s fight against INAD, she and her family have found joy and a form of therapy through running. Feeling the wind in her face makes Ainsley smile. The experience of “rolling with the wind” and being surrounded by other rider athletes and pushers who share a love of running and togetherness has led Ainsley to participate in over 80 road races! According to their website, the mission of Ainsley’s Angels of America is “…In addition to ensuring everyone can experience endurance events, Ainsley’s Angels of America aims to build awareness about America’s special needs community through inclusion in all aspects of life. Serving as advocates to providing education and participating as active members in local communities, we believe everyone deserves to be included.”
Ainsley’s Angels of America has just started a New Hampshire Chapter this year and I am excited to say I have signed up to be a runner. Additionally, they offer several virtual races as part of their “Roll with the Wind” Series.
To learn more, visit http://www.ainsleysangels.org
3. MyTeam Triumph-
MyTeam Triumph (mTT) is a non-profit organization with a mission “…to enhance the health and well being of individuals with disabilities by fostering lasting, authentic relationships through the teamwork environment of endurance athletics.” The organization was started in 2008 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Today, 22 states as well as Canada now have local Chapters for mTT.
Individuals with disabilities who may otherwise not be able to experience an event like a 5k, 10k, half marathon, marathon, or even triathlon on their own, now have the opportunity to do so thanks to mTT. mTT “Angels” are the athletes who have the privilege of pushing and/or pulling their “Captain”, the race participant with a disability. mTT provides all necessary equipment to ensure “Captains” can participate in any event. This organization is truly making dreams a reality!I am so proud to say that I am an “Angel” for the Massachusetts Chapter of this organization.
To learn more, visit http://myteamtriumph-ma.org
4. Moms Run This Town –
Moms Run This Town (MRTT) was started by “Head Mama” Pam Burrus back in December 2010. MRTT is a fun, free running club open to Mom’s and really any woman who is looking to get out there and run or walk and socialize. Currently, there are countless chapters nationwide and in Canada. I am a very proud member of the Greater Manchester, NH Moms Run This Town (GMMRTT) chapter. This club, which is completely organized via a Facebook page, has provided me endless motivation and inspiration to continue working toward my goals. I have met so many amazing women in my area and have made so many new running friends. There are always different events happening and opportunities for leadership roles. In my mind, MRTT is a must-join club!
To learn more, visit http://momsrunthistown.com
To check out the GMMRTT blog, visit http://greatermanchesternhmrtt.com