Saturday, July 18, 2015

Burning River for Ben: Just One Week Away!


Max my bestest training buddy in the whole world!
As anyone that has been following my blog knows, just one week from today I will embark on the Burning River 100 running race to support kids and families suffering with childhood cancers and blood disorders. I am running the race in honor of Ben ODaniel, a brave young man who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia type B cell just a little over three years ago. Although still going through chemotherapy he has taken up running, cross-fit, continues to be an honor student, and has been accepted into the Biomedical Engineering Program through his High school. Ben will be running the last mile with me and we will cross the finish line together. I am excited, honored and terrified of this challenge.

I met Ben’s mother five years ago through a mutual friend, and upon Ben’s diagnoses I was amazed at her and Ben’s positive attitude, bravery, and spirit. They have the true “ultra-mindset”; the mindset that says never quit, never give up. We have set up a project we call “Burning River for Ben” with all proceeds going to the Showers Family Center forChildhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at the Akron Children’s Hospital.

Proceeds raised from our project will be used to directly help families going through this terrible period of their lives. Many families simply do not have the resources to deal with the uncountable expenses not covered by insurance incurred during this time. Many kids treated at the Center are from out of town and even out of state. Extended stays mean extended costs for food, lodging, and travel for the family. Proceeds from our “Burning River for Ben” will help families in need meet some of these costs, by providing meal tickets, lodging, and other travel expenses. In addition, these proceeds will help pay for crafts during a visit.  Receiving products such as blood, platelets or cryotherapy can take hours and crafts help take their mind off the procedure and even make time seem to go by quicker.  There is a craft lady who comes in every Tues, her name is Mary... I think she buys a lot of craft supplies out of pocket. We will help supply craft material. Other popular items are Teddy Bears or stuffed animals.  Even though Ben was long out of the teddy bear phase, when he became ill, he was given one.  Ben named him Max (same as my dog) and every time Ben went in for treatment that first year, he had to have Max, especially during the overnight hospital stays. As one with direct experience, Ben thought this is where our donations would do the most good. He said there are a lot of kids at the center that don’t have the resources or support he has and they could sure use our help.
This is what its all about!
Photo courtesy of 19 Action News Cleveland
Since signing up for this race in November of last year, I have run over 2,100 miles, cycled over 4,600 miles, and spent countless hours at the gym. I have run in snow, rain, hail, darkness, heat, & cold. I have trained in temperatures as low as -15 degrees and as high as +95 degrees Fahrenheit. I have taken the responsibility of this project very seriously. The part I struggle with the most is asking for donations, but I am passionate about helping these kids and their families, crossed that line, and the response has been amazing.

My crew (Roswitha & Ben’s mom Beth) will be sending updates during the race via Facebook and my brand new twitter account set up just for this purpose “@LarryDewitt4”. I feel like I am ready and as I said above I am excited, honored and terrified of this challenge.  I thank every single one of you for your support. It is the kids and your support that will keep me going when I start wondering what the hell am I doing here around 70 or so miles.

Again, thank-you so much,

Larry

If you would like to help with a tax deductible donation please go to http://www.kintera.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=1131021