Friday, November 15, 2013

Relief in Action: Determined to Make a Difference

This is the face of determination.
This is also the face of my brother, a full time accountant in New York City - who waited two years to run his first marathon for the American Cancer Society.  Last year, the race was cancelled due to the devastation of Superstorm Sandy.  This hit my family close to home, as our dad watched the ocean creep towards our beach house and destroy much of the surrounding areas.

Undeterred, my brother kept training for another year - and kept raising money to reach his goal.  Two months before the race, he suffered a stress fracture in his foot.  He rested it as long as he could but kept training, never giving up on his goal to run for the American Cancer Society.

To say the least, the ING New York City Marathon had a very devoted and determined runner this year.  He crossed the finish line in 4:19:39.  At the finish line?  My sister, who ran a marathon three weeks earlier to raise money and awareness for individuals with mental and physical disabilities.

She has been a long time advocate for special needs youth and adults.  She volunteers her time for a program in Chicago that assists special needs adults in living on their own.  She has a "buddy," and they go to dinner and talk on the phone.  Since college she has worked with adults with mental disorders and autistic kids. 

Her face is one of compassion, energy and optimism.
While training for a marathon is a feat in itself, my sister started training not long after she gave her bone marrow to a dying mother of four.  On the registry since college, she got a call in June of 2012 she was a match.

She didn't think twice.

One year later, that mother was in remission and a few weeks later my sister ran her marathon.  Her "buddy" was there to cheer her on, as was my brother who flew in from New York City.

Advil® has been working with Habitat for Humanity® International and the Wounded Warrior Project as part of a campaign to celebrate the efforts of volunteers everywhere.  The Advil® Relief in Action campaign honors and supports individuals who don't let pain get in the way of helping others.  My siblings have proven that adversity and busy lifestyles are no excuse to ignore important causes that need attention.  Whether it be training two years for a marathon because your first one is cancelled, or deciding to train after recovering from a bone marrow donation, if the cause sings to your heart, you can find a way to contribute.  

My brother and sister did, and they are two of the most phenomenal examples of working towards your goal even when there are aches, pains and other obstacles.  The reward of giving to others was worth the troubles they endured along the way.

On the left, a picture of my brother with my sister in Chicago after her marathon.  On the right? The same picture, after my brother finished in New York City.
To say I'm proud to be their sister is an understatement.  They both fill my heart with pride and inspire me to do better every day.

What can you do to support active volunteers?  Join in the conversation and like Advil® on Facebook and follow@ReliefinAction on Twitter and Instagram. Share a photo of how you see Relief in Action with hashtag #ReliefinAction.  Follow and join in; I'll be sharing mine!

I'm participating in a sponsored campaign hosted by Advil® as part of the Advil® Relief in Action campaign.  I received compensation for this post.  All opinions are my own, and I make no claims about Advil® as a product or its effectiveness.  

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