Posts Tagged ‘Wasatch Back’

A Tribute to Parents

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

There are many things about a 24-hour marathon relay like Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back that leave an impression: the crazy vans, the physical demands on each team member, the beauty of the Wasatch Back course, but this year I was so touched with one aspect of the race, that I feel the need to pay tribute, individually and collectively, to the parents of children with special needs.

 

Operation Kids benefits all kinds of worthy charities in its partnership with Ragnar Relays. This year, we chose to benefit a health and fitness initiative of Best Buddies; a mentoring program for children with intellectual disabilities. As a result, we had a number of great children and young adults at the start and finish line who shared their infectious spirit of enthusiasm and friendship. One of these great young men was in our tent at the finish line doing his part, and I had the chance to speak with him and his mother.

 

The total commitment for a special-needs parent is difficult to describe. The near constant care is always coupled with the additional worry of, “who will care for my child of something happens to me?” Even when families find those great organizations like Best Buddies who can give even greater meaning and purpose to these young lives, it is the parents who must take their child to events, stay all the way through and then get them home again. I will keep names out of it because I am sure this kind mother is not looking for recognition, but as I spent time talking with this dedicated and very tired lady who loves her son, who would make any sacrifice for his well-being, I felt strongly that she, along with all parents in similar situations, deserves to be thanked.

May I just extend a tribute and thanks to the many mothers and fathers who care for special needs children on a daily basis. I realize fully that you do it because you love them, but I also realize that you do it because you must; because your children need you. You adjust your life to their needs in an effort to make their lives better, often sacrificing much of your own in the process. It is remarkable to see first-hand those people who make significant sacrifices that enable their children to experience a fuller, richer life.  In turn, that sacrifice enriches people like me – who walk away with a greater appreciation for life in general.

Thank you, to all of you.

-Rick

Bringing a Smile & A Hug to Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Operation Kids had a blast this past weekend at the Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back! Our morning started at the break of dawn along with our friends at Best Buddies. Best Buddies actually camped out in their RV, and came ready to roll up their sleeves. And man did they!

Brett, from Best Buddies, handed out flyers and gave hugs to the ladies, while the rest of the Best Buddies crew manned their booth. Brett worked the crowd with his magnetic charm and warm smile. While it’s hard to keep your mind off the pre-race jitters, our friends at Best Buddies helped ease everyone’s minds and made everyone remember that there is a great cause to run for.

Several members from our team took snapshots of the runners and the Ragnarian fans throughout the race.  We even managed to capture a few photos of our Best Buddy pals while they were working. As the first day ended, Operation Kids and Best Buddies anxiously awaited to serve breakfast/lunch at Exchange 30 in Heber City, UT, for the next day.

On Saturday, breakfast started out busy! We were on a roll and then the torrential rain caused the runners to stay in their vans. However, we were not going to let that stop our fundraising efforts for the breakfast/lunch. With the help of Best Buddies and the Best Buddies volunteers we brought the food to the runners! 

After serving breakfast/lunch at Exchange 30, our crew moved to the finish line in Park City, UT. The weather turned into a storm straight out of the Wizard of Oz! Operation Kids along with Best Buddies hung in there until the crowd started dwindling down in numbers due to this unusual weather.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time interacting with the all of the runners and spectators. Operation Kids would like commend and thank our Operation Kids volunteers, the Best Buddies volunteers for all of their hard work, and of course Ragnar! Most of all, our fundraising efforts were for Best Buddies of Utah, and we cannot thank them enough for their contagious energy and “never give up” attitude.

 P.S. Here are a few flickr photos from the Wasatch Back, more will be posted soon! And don’t forget to check out who won in the Operation Kids/Best Buddies drawing.

-Brandon aka “the intern”