Run for Reach
On Sunday October 11th I am running the Chicago Marathon in support of the Reach Family Institute. Please help me raise awareness for Reach’s work as well consider donating to help me reach my goal of raising $2500 to support their cause. (All donations are tax deductible)
If you know a family that has a child with disabilities or is simply concerned regarding the progression of their child’s development, please let them know that they can contact Reach for a free 30 minute online informational session with Charlie or Conceição.
For those who do not know, Reach’s mission is to transform children’s lives by empowering parents and professionals with knowledge and tools related to human brain development and purposeful parenting.
My involvement with Reach began after Juliana I started dating and I learned more about the work of her parents. Over the years I have come to know the many stories that make up the history of Reach and have seen first-hand the impact of their work. Now being a parent, myself, I feel even more connected to their mission.
Their work with children spans forty years and the entire range of functional ability, from the child in a coma to the above average child, and includes work with such diagnoses as profound brain injury, cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorders, Down syndrome, developmental delay, learning disability, dyslexia, epilepsy, ADD/ADHD and many others. While most of their work involves infants, children and young adults, they have, on occasion, worked with adults, the oldest being a 75 year-old grandfather of a child on program. With their help he regained the ability to walk after two years of immobility following a stroke!
They have taught parents of every social class, from uneducated and poor families in the worst slums of South America to highly educated and well-to-do families in cosmopolitan cities like Rio de Janeiro and Paris. They have consulted for a former President of Venezuela in La Casona (the Venezuelan White House) and members of Pope John Paul II’s Swiss Guard in Vatican City.
In addition to teaching parents, Charles and Conceição also trained more than 200 professionals in the REACH Method. These professionals include doctors specializing in Pediatrics and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists, Psychologists, and Special Education Teachers. By training other professionals Charles and Conceição’s work has reached many thousands of very poor families who had no hope for their children.
All of the Reach families have chosen to place their roles as parents at the forefront and have made a conscious decision to learn more about their child’s developing brain so that they can actively help their children reach their full potential. For all of us, parenting can be likened to a marathon. There are ups and downs; struggles and triumphs; it is a commitment. For parents of a child with a brain injury the road can be even more challenging in terms of the work that is put in along the way to helping their children accomplish what many of us take for granted. The families on the Reach Home Program go all in. They put in many hours of work with their children and it is often a family effort with siblings and other loved ones participating to make incremental changes. It’s not easy. But the results can be extraordinary! The power of hard work, determination and love can do amazing things.
Over the last five months, I progressed from only being able to run 2-3 miles to running over a half marathon weekend after weekend through hundreds of miles of training. Unfortunately it has been far from smooth sailing. In May, my wrists and shoulders were so sore from pushing Jack in the running stroller that I could barely hold him and in July I tweaked my knee and was off training for 10 days. After completing the Chicago Rock and Roll Half Marathon in July I worked my way up to 14, 15, and then 16 miles while Juliana pulled Jack along side of me in our Burley Bee trailer. The support of my family and little shouts of “Run Daddy Run” helped push me along; however, all the running took its toll and I injured my peroneal muscle and tendon in my left calf that put training on hold for a month. After meeting with Dr Reilly The Running Institute and a few weeks of physical therapy with Emily at Athletico I have the green light to give it a shot. It was these struggles that held me off from sending this letter earlier. I didn’t want to start raising money if I ultimately wouldn’t be able to run the race. My training is way off and while I know I won’t hit my planned time, my goal is to be on the line on race day and give it everything I can.
My marathon isn’t the first time that Reach has had somebody raise awareness for their cause through a tough journey. Ten years ago, Gabe Shonerd hiked the entire 2,658-mile Pacific Crest Trail to also raise awareness and donations for Reach.
While a marathon or coast to coast hike make for good analogies for the effort and investment that the families on the Reach Home Program make, it hardly compares to the daily challenges that they endure.
Please help me by donating to this cause and helping raise awareness for the Reach Family Institute. Again, if you know a family that might be interested in a consultation, please put them in touch with Charlie and Conceição –firstname.lastname@example.org