Running for a Cause

by Jillian on November 7, 2011 · 10 comments

I know I’ve been M.I.A. for way too long, but it felt good to step away from technology for the weekend. Although, I can’t say I wasn’t stalking my google reader. I had an awesome workout Saturday and my legs are still sore. I went to dinner the the city at The Smith for my friend’s birthday. Joe and I slept in Sunday and watched the extremely inspirational NYC marathon. We then went to his sister’s house to celebrate 2 of his nephew’s birthdays. Then, to finish off the weekend, we ordered pizza and watched Boardwalk Empire on HBO.

I’ve also neglected to write my November goals. I realize that this month, between work and the holiday, will be crazy. So, my goals are not nearly as strategic as September or October. I simply want to make sure to be thankful for something every day, as Thanksgiving is right around the corner. And I want to spend as much time with my family as my schedule allows. I may have to drive to PA for only one day for Thanksgiving, but I don’t care.

Now, I’ll get into what I really want to talk about today.


A few weeks ago, I hit a milestone. I finally hit the 8 mile mark while running one Saturday morning. It’s been quite a battle the past few years after having surgery on both of my hips. I’ve had trouble building up my mileage because of pain in my hip and having to stop running for weeks at a time to rest. I even went to see my surgeon again, who recommended physical therapy. Instead, I’ve been doing more foam rolling and started focusing on stretching before and after my runs.  I have to admit, I wasn’t always an avid stretcher and I totally regret every time that I failed to stretch. However, lately I have been feeling really good about my runs, before and after.

I’ve thought about looking into half marathons for a while now. After this weekend’s NYC marathon, I have running on the brain! I am so inspired by everyone who has trained for a marathon, and even half-marathon. I love reading recaps of races, like this weekend’s Savannah half and marathon posts including Julie, Tina, and Mehgann. Also, SkinnyRunner who ran the Savannah marathon and the NYC marathon the next day! WOW! I also enjoyed updates from Janae, Theodora, and Tina. It takes a lot of dedication and I want to feel that accomplishment of crossing the finish line, not just seeing the numbers on the treadmill or garmin.

My grandfather has battled Parkinson’s disease for about 20 years now and in the past 2 years it has progressed immensely. Parkinson’s is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. The disease is usually defined as idiopathic, or “having no known cause”. however it is more likely if a first degree relative had the disease. There are currently treatments available but the disease does get to a point where the drugs become ineffective. Currently, there are no new dramatic treatments, but research has shown that gene therapy, stem cell transplants and neuroprotective agents could be useful.

My grandfather and I on Easter (2011)

Most people know about Michael J. Fox and his struggle with the disease. After having researched the NYC half-marathon on March 18th, 2012 thanks to Katherine, I found that Team Fox is running this race and I’d be tasked with rasising $1,000. I would love to be able to run the race with Team Fox and raise $1,000 in honor of my grandfather.

According to the website,

“Over 5 million people worldwide live with Parkinson’s disease, a progressive, neurodegenerative disorder whose cause is currently not known. The Michael J. Fox Foundation was founded in 2000 with one goal — to accelerate the delivery of life-changing treatments, and ultimately a cure, to people with Parkinson’s disease. Today MJFF is the largest private funder of Parkinson’s research in the world. The Michael J. Fox Foundation is proud that $.86 cents of every dollar raised goes directly to our research programs.”

Of course, as soon as I mentioned this to my mother she was worried about me being able to raise the money. I am confident that between my family, friends, work, blog and possibly having an event at a local bar/restaurant, that I can raise the money. Plus, I’d definitely throw in my fair share. I’ve contacted Team Fox and I hope to get this moving soon!

I really wanted to see if any of you had any input?

  • Have you run a race for a cause?
  • If so, how did you raise the money?
  • Do you think raising $1,000 is attainable?
  • Last but not least, have you followed a half marathon training program that you would recommend?

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chels R. November 7, 2011 at 5:14 pm

That is awesome that you want to run for a worthy cause and raise money in honor of your grandfather. I ran the Rock N Roll New Orleans Marathon in February and raised money for the American Cancer Society in honor of my late aunt who had brain cancer. I raised $1,500 in her honor. I can definitely say it is a challenging experience but if you work at it you can absolutely raise the funds. More than anything tell your story to your friends, family, colleagues and why that particular charity is important to you and they will definitely support you in your endeavor. In fact you will be surprised at the people who come out of the woodworks to support you when you tell your story. Utilize Twitter, Facebook, your blog and all of the social media platforms. You can place a bucket to collect money at local businesses, write companies asking to sponsor you, or you could hold a fundraising event. Be persistent and work at it every day and you will raise the money if you reach out to enough people.

Good luck and keep us posted!


2 Jillian November 7, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Chels, thank you so much for all the tips!!! :) Congrats on raising $1500 for ACS and running a marathon!


3 Emily November 7, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Dear Jillian,
I am raising money myself for a charity right now. Make sure you have an online webpage where people can go directly to give. Make it easy as possible for them to give. You can also have people or businesses sponsor a mile and put their name on a shirt or a bib that you will wear during the race. Also, people always wait to the minute to give so be persistent, even nag if you have to. The big thing is to let people know how much you believe in your cause. Also start asking for donation now since it is getting close to holidays, people are more apt to give now more then any other time of the year. GOOD LUCK !! YOU CAN DO IT !


4 Jillian November 8, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Thanks Emily! It feels so good to know that other believe I can do it !! :)


5 Emily B. November 7, 2011 at 6:55 pm

I am in the midst of raising money for a charity as well. ( running 39.3 miles) The biggest thing is to make it easy as possible for them to donate. Set up a website to collect donations and star as soon as possible. The holiday season is almost upon us and this is when people give the most. Have people or businesses sponsor a mile and wear it on a shirt or bib that will be worn while you are running. GOOD LUCK and HAVE FUN!


6 Alison November 7, 2011 at 8:02 pm

Jill!! I saw that you were looking into running the NYC marathon- congrats on getting in, and do it! Re: what you wrote about crossing the finish line– nothing is like it in the entire world. Yes, marathon training is a huge time devotion, and is arduous and mentally straining. Everytime I train for one I vow it is the last time. Then I get the rush of crossing the finish-line, and hours later I am signed up for another event. As for fundraising, I did my first half-ironman with the leukemia and lymphoma society team in training program. We had to raise $2,900 , and the fundraising was my biggest worry for the event. I was like “how am I going to raise that much, I definitely do not know enough people”. I was able to raise the money by contacting all my family and friends, and by being creative and persistent. You will be surprised who will donate to your cause, and I know people who personally know your grandfather (including myself) will be more that happy to donate. People I haven’t talked to in years went out of their way to give me a donation because they either knew someone personally who suffered from blood cancers, or believed in the cause. Also, people are more ept to donate when it is your first time fundraising, and you will raise much more than your $1000 goal :) .As someone who has competed in events that involved fundraising, and others that haven’t involved fundraising- if I had the financial availability- I would race for a cause every time. The reason is this: You have achieved your goal before you even start the race. The race/personal achievement is just an added bonus. Yes, that sounds cliche, but it is a HUGE mental advantage. When you feel tired 1.) that sense of accomplisment is a huge positive reinforcement 2.) through training with a group like TNT or Team Fox, you will hear so many motivational stories of survivors or people suffering these diseases that will motivate you during the race. When you feel like you can’t go on, you will recall a story of someone who overcame chemotherapy and ran a marathon, etc etc..You honestly have a huge advantage over a student like myself 1.) you have a job where people make more money than a homeless person 2.) you have a personal connection to the disease. Your family and friends WILL donate for your grandpa- he is an amazing person. A few ideas/tips: 1.) When you send out holiday cards, put something about your fundraising/race in it for people. I slipped a personal note in all of my x-mas cards explaining my race and the cause, and I got a lot of donations from family members who didnt have fbook or who I couldnt call/regularly do not talk to. 2.) start early. You will need to be persistent, yet patient with people. Constantly remind people via facebook, etc that you are fundraising,but realize that the holidays are finacially straining on people. Thus, it might take a while before people donate, but it will come. That was something I had to learn. 3.) I contacted a bunch of stores to see if i could sell water/ hot chocolate/bracelets outside their store to people waiting in line on black friday. old navy allowed me to, and i was up all night selling- i raised a couple hundred dollars doing that. 4.) my friend and i made granola bars every weekend that she sold at work for $1. I honestly probably made close to 400 selling these at her office and my swim practices over the course of a few months. you make sweets/goodies, and if your office allows- sell whatever you make for $1. food always works. 5.) We contacted a local mall, and they allowed us to offer gift-wrapping for donations….I think I made close to $200 doing that. 6.) towards the end when people needed donations, a lot of my teammates stood on corners and asked for money with funny signs like “i swear im not homeless”. a few of them made at least $300 in one day. 7.) ask everyone you know for a donation….$10 dollars from 10 friends is $100- which is 10% of your goal.
I will try to think of other things my team-mates did for donations and will pass the info along if you would like. I hope this was helpful, and good luck :) . $1000 will come easier than you think. dont forget to remind me about a donation!


7 Lauren November 7, 2011 at 8:14 pm

That is so awesome girl! :)


8 Allie November 7, 2011 at 10:27 pm

You can definitely raise the $1,000! I’ve done a charity walk for 13 years and now raise a little over $3,000 each year; and the #1 way I get money is posting consistently on Facebook. When people donate online, I write a “thank you” via a Facebook status update, and especially since Facebook let you tag people, they LOVE it. I write something about them “amazing runner Amanda” – etc, etc – and let all my friends know where I am with fundraising. If I have $100 to go to get to the halfway mark, and say that, someone will get me to the halfway mark pretty soon.

I have friends I haven’t spoken with since middle school who have donated! Sharing your passion for the cause will go a long way.

Bar/happy hour/restaurant events are also a great way to get donations and get people excited about your event. And with the blog – “10 readers to $10 will get me to $100 today” type messages go over well!

Finally – my half marathon training plan suggestion:

Good luck!


9 Jillian November 8, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Allie, thank you for all of the suggestions! I will definitely take note of those! I am very excited to take this on!


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