IVAN: Smart - Witty - Funny - A Mensch -Welcoming - True - Loyal - Ivan was the first person I met at Achilles - he had my back and I had his - he never complained - he asked for help when he needed it - a survivor - Outgoing - always available for friendship and a beer - my brother - my friend - my neighbor. We hope that Ivan knew how beloved he was by neighbors, friends, family and Achilles members alike. So much love and respect was shown and shared when we gathered to remember him and wrap our thick heads around the fact that he's no longer here.
I learned a lot of things about Ivan that I had not known... he was a car enthusiast, loved jazz, enjoyed having friends to his home for dinner (ok, that I knew). The greatest lesson I took from his passing is not to take anyone or any one thing for granted. He left us too soon. Let's not forget him.
The Achilles Hope & Possibility 4-Miler was the one event Ivan did every year since 2015 when he officially joined Achilles. He always closed the race with his cane held high and this year, we will miss that joyous gesture!
I wonder if there isn't something we can do to honor his memory at the 2020 Hope & Possibility 4-Miler... Can we make the very last person to cross the finish line feel extra special? Can we create the Ivan Kaufman fund? Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could collect enough in donations to make next year's race more meaningful?
Perhaps we can raise $3000 to bring an Achilles athlete and caregiver to NYC from another U.S. chapter to complete the 4-mile course. I
f we raise $2000 - Achilles can cater the Athletes With Disabilities Reunion of the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon with soup, bread, coffee, and hot chocolate for the 260 athletes planning to participate. That would be in keeping with Ivan's hospitality.
For those who do not know Achilles mission: Achilles empowers people with disabilities to participate in mainstream running events in order to promote personal achievement. While our programs focus on running, the truth is, running is simply the tool for accomplishing our main objective: to bring hope, inspiration, and the joys of achievement to all.
There are lots of needs. Whatever we do with the donations gathered in Ivan's memory, it will be with his family's blessing and donors informed. Thank you for remembering.
-- Eleanor (Ellie) Cox-Nihill