Happy Thursday, friends! I am so excited to announce this effort to you all today. It has been a long time coming and I am ecstatic at the thought of making a real difference together…
I’ve been a runner since high school. I’m not fast but I love how running makes me feel. Running empowers me and makes me feel strong. This past January, I ran my first ever marathon. I ran a Disney marathon with my big sister and it was one of the best experiences of my life. B and I ran the entirety of the race together and crossed the finish line hand in hand. Training for that day taught me more than I could have ever imagined or anticipated. I knew going into training that it would be challenging to say the least, but what I didn’t expect was the growth that would take place in my heart.
I promised myself that if ever I ran another marathon, I would raise money for a cause. When I signed up to run my second Disney marathon just months ago, the reality of choosing a cause to fight for became much more real. Everywhere you look there is a noble cause. In the weeks leading up to training, I became a little heavy hearted about finding the right cause for me. It was nothing I lost sleep over, but I just wanted it to feel right.
I was out for a run one day and saw a couple groups of kids from a distance walking ahead of me, paired off in groups of 2-4. They were linked at the arms. As I passed the group in the back, one boy reached out for me. It startled me in all honesty. He had thick glasses and walked with his knees bowed in. He smiled at me. I then noticed walking canes and within seconds I realized these children are blind or, at the least, visually impaired. I run past the remaining groups of children, each of them smiling with one another and helping each other along. The sun was shining brightly as I continued to run.
I believe in signs. I think God sends them when you’re ready to see them.
The thing is: My passion simply would not exist without my vision. I couldn’t be a photographer without my vision and the thought of losing my eyesight is heartbreaking. Each day I get up and go about my business, completely taking for granted that I can actually see this world with clarity. I can see a baby crawling or a bride tearing up. I can see my brother dance with his little boy and see how it always makes him smile. I can see the keyboard beneath my nose and a teeny tiny hot air balloon in the sky from a distance. I might even be able to make out what color it is. It is so easy to take these visions for granted when in reality, I am beyond blessed to be able to experience these details every day.
I’m grateful for that run because it was the catalyst for bringing B.R.A.V.E. to life.
Biking and Running for the Advancement of Vision and Education
Biking? Who is biking? B.R.A.V.E. is actually a team effort! I’ll be doing the running and Kyle will be riding a century (100 miles) in May. Together we have been working with a wonderful woman by the name of Theresa Brun with the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ISBVI). The ISBVI is one of Indiana’s hidden gems. I’ve grown up in Indianapolis and had never set foot on the school’s campus prior to a little over a month ago. The school is beautiful and the difference it makes in its students’ lives is truly inspiring. Not only has Theresa been such a joy to get to know, but also I’ve been inspired by her deep compassion for the ISBVI’s mission. When Kyle and I first met with Theresa, she explained to us that students either come to the ISBVI for a “week or a lifetime” – with the majority of those students staying for a lifetime. The students, at every age, love it there and feel at home.
After meeting with Theresa a handful of times, seeing the school, and learning more about its mission and its students, we have decided to raise funds for the Indiana Blind Children’s Foundation and more specifically the technological needs of its students. I had absolutely no concept of the complex and expensive technological needs for a blind or visually impaired student. For example, a Braillenote Apex – the equivalent to an iPad ($500) to a person with vision, which allows a blind or visually impaired student to store texts, record notes, surf the web, send e-mail, and create documents is $6500 and the school needs 30 of them! Or there is also the Victor Reader Stream – a device that holds audio versions of textbooks. Braille and large print textbooks are, as you can imagine, quite thick after being translated into Braille and thus frustrating for any person, visually impaired or not, to transport. The VRS is a portable solution to the problem. Each one costs $350. Simply put, it is very expensive for a blind or visually impaired student to have the same tools you and I had in school or maybe your children have today, right now, at their exposure. These numbers are daunting but I know in my heart that B.R.A.V.E. can make a real difference.
Our goal with B.R.A.V.E. is to raise $6500!
How can you support our cause? CLICK HERE to visit B.R.A.V.E.’s donation link and contribute!!!
You can make a donation by clicking Sponsor Our Team (located under the progress thermometer) or by clicking Sponsor Me within our personal pages. Every dollar, every dime, every penny helps. No donation is too small and every donation is so appreciated. I will be posting here on my blog about our progress and tweeting about it as well. Make sure to keep up with Kyle’s tweets, too! Please help spread the word by sharing our donation link at will.
I am so excited about shedding light on this foundation’s cause and spearheading a positive movement towards making a real difference in these awesome kids’ lives. I am ecstatic (gigantic understatement) about seeing the difference we will make together.
So much love and excitement!!!
Caitlin : )