Sunday, June 18, 2017

Team CJ at River Towns 2017

You guys.

You did it again.
  
Do you have any idea how amazing you are?  
Completely amazing.

Do you understand how your kindness, your bravery, and your willingness to try has a ripple effect?
It does.
Team CJ 2017

We were able to spotlight many of the team members on our Facebook page prior to race day, but I just gotta talk a little bit more about you all here. 

We had some first time half-marathoners- Arielle Webb, Travis Weaver, Shelley Merrell, Kira Leitzel, Tiffany Stevens, and Christian Kauffman.
It takes a lot of bravery to decide you're going to do something you've never done before, and running a half marathon is no small thing.  Thank you for that bravery and willingness to try.
They all look so amazing.... is it really their first half?!

We had some seasoned runners with us as well who showed us their athletic prowess.  
Kelly Harris earned 2nd Overall Female, narrowly missing First Place by only 26 seconds!
Shannon Pyles, Krista McCrum, and Glen Stook all placed in the top 25 runners overall.  
Arielle Webb (one of our first timers) placed 3rd in her age group.
Thank you for sharing your fire and drive.
Go Kelly!
Glen finishes with his family looking on.
Shannon and Krista stop for a photo!

But sometimes, it isn't where you place that makes you stand out, but rather it's the tenacity it took to get you to the finish.  Check out the photo collages below and be inspired.
I mean, c'mon!  Here are Aaron and Robin.  They're expecting their first baby this summer, so hey, better squeeze in one more road race first, right?!  Robin finished strong and made it look easy!
This is Steve.  He decided he was going to beat the guy in black to the finish.  So he gritted his teeth and he did.
And here is Jenn.  You ever get to that point where you just want to quit, but then you remember why you started in the first place?  I think that's what we were blessed to witness here.

Now I don't know why all these wonderful people decide to run with Team CJ, but for some it is a close connection to a person with autism.  As parents to children with autism, the cause hits close to home for Justin & Kristen Brouse, Don Shipe, Kira Leitzel, Krista McCrum, and Aaron Weaver.  I don't know what each of you go through every day, but I have a very good idea, and I just want to thank you and applaud you all for helping me spotlight in your daily lives what autism is (and what it isn't), as well as the extraordinary capabilities of children like ours all while working to secure the special accommodations they may need.  You are all total rock stars. 
Yep. You're all rocking it.

We also had Team CJ volunteers supporting the race this year!  Thank you so much Lynn, Erica, Cathy, Betsy, Meagan, Steve, and Misha!  I wish I had gotten a photo of all of us!
Thank you for volunteering!

You may be wondering how the fundraising side of all this worked out.  Well, I really thought this group could surpass our previous campaigns so I set the goal at $8501.  As I write this we collected a total of $8417.  So close!!!  There will be a few more donations coming in, so I'm crossing my fingers that it will push us over our goal.  If you're reading this and want to help with that, the link below will remain open for the rest of the month of June.  

Proceeds will be donated to ADERS (Autism Diagnostic Evaluations Resources & Services), a local non-profit located in Montandon, PA.  ADERS's mission is "to provide comprehensive diagnostics, evaluations, resources, and advocacy to drive treatment and intervention planning to enrich the quality of life for individuals and families affected by ASD."  They are working toward comprehensive autism services across the life span.  
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 So now is the part where my eyes get misty and my heart swells 
as I try to tell you all how grateful I am.  

Thirty three runners.
Our orange Team CJ shirts could be seen all over the place!

One-hundred-sixty-seven donors.  
That's 167 people who thought about those individuals touched by autism and took action.

Thank you to Aaron B., Robin, John, Steve, Justin, Kristen, Jamie, Jenn, James, Kelly, Kelli, Dave, Christian, Julie, Rachel, Kira, Krista, Bill, Shelley, Alex, Shannon, Stephany, Don, Kristin, Michelle, Ali, Tiffany, Glen, Jen, Aaron W., Travis, Arielle, and Rob.  What you did was no small thing.  Your willingness to run for autism and bring Team CJ to life is incredibly inspirational.  I am deeply grateful for your kindness, your bravery, and your willingness to try.
Thank you.

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