I started this blog post along the pool on vacation last week, but never quite got the time to finish it until this week. Its hard to believe that FF4CURES.COM is two!!! It just seems like yesterday that I decided to take my thoughts to the Internet and create a landing spot for my ideas, my causes that I support, and a place for like-minded individuals to meet and discuss. Read back to the Happy First Birthday for the previous recap of my site and my thoughts here: http://ffclimb4cures.com/?p=348
Overall how has it been?
I’m shocked and amazed at just how well things have been going, the conversations that have been had, the bonds made, and the lives that have been changed (including my own). I had no idea the effect that some of the topics and discussions would have and just how positive things could be. As much as I have changed my life, its been amazing seeing the lives I have helped be a part of changing and put names to faces literally around the United States. I’ve helped encourage those through rough times and tough decisions. Helped brothers and others get started on their journey to wellness. Sat with families in the hospital, offered hope, offered outlets to what they were looking for, and made some faces light up along the way. The list goes on and touches me deeply.
I’ve put a lot of miles on my body the last two years in training, competition, attending fundraisers and events, and its been worth every ounce of energy and every dollar used. There is a lot of truth to the quote by Anne Frank that, “No one has ever become poor by giving,” and I truly feel that. In fact, I feel quite rich when I look around to the people that I am close to, the causes I support, the friendships, and the goals that I have reached.
Its easy to write a check to a fundraiser, but it takes a lot more and shows the true spirit when you can join others, pull up your bunkers, hit the road, put in some sweat equity and make things happen. How much spirit does it show, you ask? Ask a child in a hospital what it means to have someone do something for them. Ask a person battling cancer that is at their own benefit race what it means to see hundreds of competitors out there pushing to make a difference and be there for them. It is amazing to meet others with the same drive in competition with the pay forward mentality that are out there pushing the causes and making things happen. It’s even more amazing and life changing to have people say…”how can I do that?”
Whats happened this past year?
Wow. What a year I must say, I thought the first year was busy. I’ve gotten a lot more involved with the causes that are local, national, and even international and met some awesome people in doing so. Grabbing medals in a few events, snagging some second place overall and some second place in my age group. I’ve chopped massive amounts of time off my climbs and runs, and seen major changes that I never thought I would see in myself. I’ve been to long running events, inaugural events, signed the top of the World Trade Center Freedom Tower with hundreds of my brothers, competed in new types of events for me, and even seen a few new sights along the way.
I can’t look past a huge event that happened last fall that hit home hard, and made for a difficult time. Hearing the “C” word (Cancer) was not what I was planning on hearing from my father as I was preparing for a run. His news came shortly after the father of a dear friend was diagnosed with the same kind, so I took quite a hit. Cancer is something that no one expects to hear about, and there are a variety of reactions. After a slow process of getting everything rolling with doctors and treatment, it seems that the path which was chosen seems to be working well and the diagnosis positive.
My body shutting down. I have heard of some crazy things happening with athletes, reactions to products, stress, and well at an event in March 2015 it happened to me and I experienced something that I don’t want to relieve. I’ll spare you the details, but it involved tests, diagnostics, hospital visits, and a lot of forcing myself to try and get back engaged to the workout. It took nearly two months to get feeling completely normal and back at the pace which i was at. Listen to your body…seriously it is talking all the time…NEVER try any new products before a competition, stick to your routine as well.
How have I done some of this in the last year, great question? Sponsors…Sponsors…Sponsors… YOU! Corporate sponsors, local sponsors, other fire departments (THANK YOU NAPOLEON FIREFIGHTERS ASSOCIATION), friends, families, and getting creative with fundraisers that I run with my business and how I really made some things possible in the last year. I never thought that I would put together the team of people behind me that I have so that I can accomplish so many things for others. How important are my sponsors to me? Well, I wear you everywhere and at every opportunity make mention of what you have done for me. Literally you have my back and ride on my jerseys and gear to events. So thank you!!!
I don’t even know where to start. I’ve already met goals in 2015 that I had slated to happen over the course of five years and shocked myself. As much as I am enjoying some of the local events, I hope that in the next year that I can make it to some of the stair climbs a little further out of my region and really put my body to the test and support your causes. I’ve had invites to a lot of climbs around the United States and asked to promote your event and I am hoping to make it out to see some of you over the next year. Where are some cities I hope to see over the next year…. Chicago, Nashville, Virginia Beach, the Carolina’s, and maybe event Portland if I can pull it all off.
Goals for the next year:
- To have my son join me on a stair climb
- To lower my 5k run times down into the 22 minute range
- Pickup 2 new LARGE sponsors for my events
- Run a half marathon (it WILL HAPPEN)
- Go on the road and talk about firefighter fitness and health, using life experience to do so. Reach out more brining the startling facts to departments to help sway the minds toward things that we CAN change to reduce LODD in the fire service.
- Be more involved with planning and orchestrating cancer fundraising events as well as competing.
- Get out and work even more with the kids battling Leukemia and who knows maybe host a fire event somewhere that they can safely attend.
- Create TEAM FF4CURES an champion with others out there who are like minded. There are a great number of gyms and groups out there competing around the world and I would love make something like that happen.
- Make a difference… That’s my goal every day and with every event I work with. Have I made a difference somehow in the lives of others? If I can answer yes to that statement then I have accomplished my goal. The moment I quit making a difference in the lives of others is when I need to refocus.
In closing…Thank you for such a great year and the ability to meet and hear from many of you. I am looking forward to another exciting year to change lives ONE STEP AT A TIME.