Brant McCartan via Crowdrise
April 16, 2013
BENEFITING: Special Olympics Massachusetts
ORGANIZER: Special Olympics Massachusetts
EVENT: 2013 Boston Marathon
EVENT DATE: Apr 15, 2013
Why I decided to do it (see more below)
I'm in my final year of residency at BIDMC specializing in podiatric medicine & surgery (i.e. foot stuff). This will likely be our last time living in Boston, MA and Marissa and I are completing our bucket lists / Boston farewell tour! For those of you that do not know me well, I am a goal setter and challenge myself in many ways. This one is a little different compared to the rest (which include walking the Freedom Trail, visiting all the Ivy League Schools and surrounding State Parks, Boston Pops live on July 4th, etc). This “challenge” if you will, has turned into more than something to cross off a list. One of my final bucket list items before moving back to the Midwest is completing the Boston Marathon. The last marathon that I ran was five years ago in Miami, FL. It was a goal of mine to complete a marathon before I got married. Turns out I met the woman of my dreams (much sooner than I anticipated when making that goal) and "ran" the ING Miami Marathon in January 2008. I haven't run a marathon since - nor any substantial mileage for that matter. This time around is a lot different. It will take more than training and dedication to finish. It will take more than an entrance fee, or every raising $5,000. In order for this to be a success, we all must rally for the support of this amazing organization. So, where most people treat the Boston Marathon as the culmination, or pinnacle of their running careers, I am treating it as the beginning of my service with the Special Olympics.
I had been playing with the idea since I matched here for residency in March of 2010. But my real motivation began after attending a podiatry sports medicine meeting this past summer. I felt inspired by a video that was presented detailing the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine (AAPSM) Special Olympics summer games update. In August 2012, the AAPSM presented some of their research which analyzed foot-to-shoe mismatches found during their “Fit Feet” screenings. I was amazed that over 40% of athletes had an improperly fitting shoe! Out of 3.2 million athletes in 185 countries, this can really add-up and knowledge of this data can help prevent potential injury due to lack of stability. There were a couple of athletes featured, and up until this point, I did not take into consideration the physical challenges that accompany the intellectual disabilities. With limb length discrepancies, tendon imbalances and abnormal gaits, these athletes were running, and competing! It is truly amazing to watch the drive these athletes have to overcome multiple hurdles. The love and passion of the competition, of the sport, and of sharing the field with their peers is something that everyone must experience.
Screening for the correct size shoe is a giant step, and a challenge that these Special Olympic athletes should not have to face. In addition to this, about one in five athletes screened also required further medical attention. As a podiatrist, I know that this is an arena where I can contribute. Coming back from that meeting, I wanted to help out in some way. I am concluding my residency program this summer and am looking forward to using my professional knowledge to help contribute to my new local chapter of Special Olympic athletes in Milwaukee, WI. However, I did not want to wait until then to help, and I wanted to leave my mark on this community before moving. The stars aligned and I figured the best way I could help today was to raise money for the MA chapter. In Massachusetts, they estimate it costs about $380 for one athlete to train and compete year-round. I agreed to raise $5,500 to help divert these costs. Please help me in this effort, and raise enough to compete in the Boston Marathon on April 15th!
After my acceptance onto the team, I have learned so much more about this organization – and as with most things, education is the key! At another meeting I attended, the opening session speaker was Ted Kennedy Jr. He spoke about his own disability (lost a leg due to cancer at age twelve), and also discussed his families role with the Special Olympics, specifically Eunice Kennedy Shriver. One thing he mentioned that particularly stood out in my mind was the importance of INTEGRATION as opposed to ISOLATION. Just this past weekend I got to witness this first hand at the Special Olympics Winter Games in Massachusetts. Watching the youth events, specifically basketball was great, and seeing the integration of our athletes of all ages was memorable. This goal that started off as another item to cross of the list has transformed into a priority that will become a life’s work. I cannot wait to graduate and donate more time to this organization in my town. But work still needs to be done here, and everywhere.
As some of you may or may not know: you cannot just "sign-up" for the Boston Marathon. It is one of very few remaining marathons (aside from the Olympics) that requires a qualifying time. In addition to this, there are a select number of non-profit fundraising spots. Through friends I was able to find the perfect charity for me and once again, I am honored to be given the opportunity to represent the Special Olympics. That said, though at times cliché, it is going to take 110%. That is my training goal, as well as my fundraising goal of $5,500 (minimum requirement is $5000). I wanted to thank everyone for helping me and more importantly sponsoring the Special Olympics! Cheers to 2013!!! Not all of us can give our time, or our talents, but if you too would like to contribute, your generosity if much appreciated.
Special Olympics Massachusetts wrote -
6 incredible individuals (aka Champions for the Special Olympics Movement) will be running the 2013 Boston Marathon in the name of dignity, unity, and health for people with intellectual disabilities. These six individuals will be training through the grueling Massachusetts winter and running 26.2 miles on April 15, with a collective goal of raising $40,000 to support the year-round athletic training, competition, and health-improvement programs of Special Olympics Massachusetts. Please visit their personal pages to learn more about the group and consider helping the team "change the world" for people with disabilities by donating and/or spreading the word!