Hope and Awareness, Changed by a Boy


Photo courtesy of National Lung Cancer Partnership.

This year’s family fundraising event was dominated by my oldest son. Right from the start our little competitor was dead set on finishing first in the Kids’ Dash in his last year of eligibility, and while some might say he tied for first (him), the reality is he was a step behind and proudly (us) finished second. But it was the actual 5k itself where he showed his true mettle. Being a little dinged up myself in the form of a maybe-broken toe, I was more than happy to walk with our team (Team Neversink) and just enjoy the day.

This was not to be.

Soon after the horn sounded and when he figured out that he was allowed to run around people, my son took off and my thoughts of walking were quickly dashed. Now, he’s always been a good athlete, but I’ve seen him wear down on the soccer field before and wasn’t prepared for this level of stamina from him. He easily ran non-stop to the 1st mile marker and then somewhat less easily to the halfway point where the first water station was. We grabbed waters and I told him to walk for a few. I told him about taking small sips and after we finished was just in the middle telling him to walk for a little bit longer and let the water settle (I was stalling) when he started running again. Inwardly swearing to myself I took up pace with him, now curious to see what he was capable of.

Somewhere just before the 2nd mile his little body remembered that it was turning 6 in a few days and he finally slowed to a walk. But he was determined to see that 2nd mile marker and kept trying to run in spurts until we reached it. From there we mostly walked the last mile and this was actually perfect as I got to talk to him about why we were running, why other people were running, and how the money collected was used.

The best part was that he started asking questions. He genuinely wanted to know more about how we are helping sick people, what the doctors are using the money to buy, and who/why other people were running for after we would read the “In memory of” names and slogans on the backs of their shirts. We knew for who and why we were running and we talked about that as well.

Once we hit the final stretch I made him run to the finish line and we put a stamp on a great 5k for a great cause (lung cancer). We then went back to the finish line and cheered on the rest of the runners/walkers and waited for the rest of Team Neversink to finish as well. I had a great moment of hugging him, tearing up and telling him how proud I was of him and shortly after one lady came up to us and said how special it was for her to see us running together. The pride and purpose apparently clear in both of our faces.

This was a great, great event made special by those who supported us and everyone who supports and spreads awareness for this cause in any and all capacities.

2013 Free to Breathe Chelmsford, MA event facts:

* 431 participants.

* over $60,500 raised so far.

* Team Neversink specifically raised the most it ever has with donations from a record number of people.

One thing left on my mind is how many people donated to our team this year. I remember the days of copy/pasting a handful of email addresses into a thank you email or thanking people one by one as the donations came in. This year I wanted to wait until after the event to thank everyone, not because I was overwhelmed by the number of “A Donation was Made!” emails that were coming in, but so I could try and give a recap of how things went and how it felt. I never anticipated this much support and glad I waited.

Thank you so much for that cool feeling as well as your donations.

From all of us on Team Neversink, we love you and thank you.



Photo courtesy of National Lung Cancer Partnership.


Nobody in his way over here.


The finish line in sight.

Visit the event page to see more pictures: http://participate.freetobreathe.org/site/TR?fr_id=1960&pg=entry

~A short story based on the above~

At the signal, we all began to move.

Our orders now in motion and nobody questioned them for a second. The people didn’t question those in charge; never have, never will. Those who directed us existed out of necessity and who were we to know better?

Head up.

The move began slow, but with purpose, and everyone set their eyes to the journey ahead. Glances exchanged and nods given, everything that came before was put aside for the here and now. Everything that was right now was in focus and nothing else. After a little jostle with starting congestion we gradually fell into our own spaces and began to flow along the set course. Individually we weren’t expected to finish first, but we were expected to finish. No questions, just finish.

We asked none.

They gave us water during and waited patiently for us at the end. We finished as one and nobody knew otherwise. If there was ever any doubt, you thought about the cause. You thought about the purpose and did as called. Everyone had questions about the why of the call, but as always, nobody asked.

Doctors, their staff, their tools, the machines they use, the consumables they demand, computers for analysis, and people to analyze. Professional facilities and patient facilities — utilities for them both. Research, development, and application. This is how they’re funded.

Events like this 5k for lung cancer spread that word. Spreading awareness is an act we can all afford and one easily done in today’s shared world.

You don’t have to do much, only what you can.


The Beginning
About Brad the Dad

Enjoy a unique, fresh and entertaining perspective on parenting as Brad the Dad learns what it takes to raise 2 boys in today's world. #DadsRT co-founder.

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  1. Kevin says:

    Sounds like a great day & experience for you both!

This is what I think...