Here's why. I had the true pleasure of attending a charity gala tonight with Stephanie and a few work colleagues on behalf of the Starlight Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping kids in hospitals with severe health issues. The company I work for is a very proud sponsor of Starlight, donating NintendoWii Fun Centers to hospitals for kids to enjoy DVD and video games entertainment when they are confined to their rooms or beds.
After being reminded throughout the evening about the good work Starlight does, a head cold two days before a marathon means nothing by comparison. I have functional legs. I am grateful for that. My organs work. I am grateful for that. My health issues are not life threatening. I am grateful for that.
Normally, I'd say the highlight of any evening would be meeting Mr. T, which happened tonight along with my pal and colleague John (pictured). For the record, Mr. T couldn't have been more gracious, considering I goaded him into his trademark phrases when I told him "You ain't so bad!"
What a dream come true for a life-long A-Team and Rocky fan!
But that really wasn't the highlight. And I'm somewhat surprised to even admit that. The real highlight came in the form of hearing a love-affair story of two kids in Starlight who met through their teen connect program, Starbright World. Both kids had little to hold onto in terms of dealing with the difficulties of their situations. Until they met each other. And befriended each other. Supported each other. Nurtured and nursed each other. And ultimately began dating. Now, a few years later, they got engaged. Today. Before the Starlight event. It was such a touching story and moment.
Even before the gala I was planning to run on Sunday, no matter how I feel. But now, I'm running not just for myself, but for the idea that so many other people -- kids especially -- suffer every day with so much more and have dreams even bigger than my own. And my dreams are big! I owe it to them to fulfill my own dreams because I have a healthy body and mind that allows me to do so. No excuses. I am grateful for everything I have in my life, everything around me, and grateful to even have the opportunity to run this marathon come Sunday.
I'm a very lucky guy.
249 days and counting.