Saturday, January 3, 2009

Rylan's Miles to Miracles Fondation

I'm back at Man Coming Alive after an extended hiatus with my family. I am back, and ready to write again, with a new direction as I will be blogging about the foundation that Marci and I have established: Rylan's Miles to Miracles Foundation. Oh sure, I'll be writing all the spiritual stuff that I'm known for, but there will also be more writing about what we are doing at the foundation, AND my ongoing training. Anyway, more about the foundation..

Rylan's Miles to Miracles Foundation was founded by Marci and I in December 2008, as an attempt to give back to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and it's workers that were instrumental in saving our baby Rylan's life. If you are unaware of what I'm talking about, you can read Rylan's story or if you want you can click on the the link at the right titled "Rylan the Miracle Baby".

At the top of this post, you'll see our logo. This logo signifies that we are a Christ-centered organization and the road is symbolic of the journey we have taken and are yet to take. You'll also notice that there are two tiny crosses at the bottom corners. These are symbolic of the cross-shaped scars that Rylan carries on each side of his chest from the chest tubes that pierced his side after his lungs collapsed when he was 3 days old. He carries these scars for life, and every time I wear the logo on a shirt, I do the same as a reminder to what he went through.

What we do is raise money to purchase clothing such as onesies, blankets and the like, and also toys for siblings of the babies in the NICU. We also plan on providing equipment as needed to the NICU and also to help the families of the children in the NICU. In addition to this, we will also donate 25% of all proceeds raised to the Cincinatti Children's Hospital because we have witnessed what they do first hand, and are still in amazement.

You may be wondering why we would want to give clothes, blankets, etc. to a NICU??? Simply put, on the first day we went to visit Rylan in the NICU, we were a little shocked to see that he was dressed in a onesie, lying on a blanket and he had a small stuffed teddy bear in his bed with him (We expected the simple hospital white clothes and a generic blanket). We asked where these things came from and the nurse told us that the girls in the NICU often buy clothes and things for the babies because they feel so sorry for them. This touched us because we had never really thought about how when a baby is born, they have nothing. Sure, there may be clothes at home from showers and presents, but what about at the hospital? Also, most parents are afraid to attempt to dress their child in the NICU because babies usually have wires, leads, tubes and the like hooked to them. This is where the nurses can help because they know how to dress the babies, since they are the ones who hook them up to the machines.

If you are wondering how we raise money, here's the answer: From donations by people like you, fundraising events, and our annual 5K Road Race (October 10, 2009). As you'll see on our website, the Miles to Miracles Foundation is geared around raising money through athletic sponsorship. For example, I'm going to run in a bunch of races this year, and I'm seeking people that will give me "Money per Mile" for a race or races. I already have a commitment from one family that has offered me $5 per mile for every event I participate in! This is exciting, and motivating as well.

We have also opened it up to other athletes that want to participate and race to raise money for the Foundation. Anyone can enter any event anywhere, and raise money by finding sponsors. We provide all participants with a running shirt that has the Foundation's logo on the front and "I RACE FOR RYLAN" on the back. We'd love to have you on our team and if you're interested, click here.

With that said, I'm in training to run, swim, and bike my way to raising money for NICU's and the miracles they serve. I'm going to be writing about my training here, but more importantly, what God teaches me along the way. The NICU's are often overlooked and unsupported by outside donations. We look forward to changing that. So stay tuned and On On!