The following is a guest post from Carolyn Pleasance, coordinator for Medals4Mettle. Medals4Mettle is a marathon running charity dedicated to encouraging children and adults dealing with debilitating illnesses.
When I became the Coordinator for Medals4Mettle in Hamilton ON, I imagined visiting children in hospital and sharing the joy of presenting them with a special medal to acknowledge them in their struggles and triumphs.
I sent a message to my friends, asking if they’d be willing to donate medals to the cause, and one in particular, Rick Hellard, showered me with a box of medals so heavy I was taken aback by his generosity. In the box, which contained almost 100 medals, were 2 Ironman Hawaii medals and one from the 2010 Boston Marathon.
For a moment I was speechless. I’ve never seen those medals in person before, certainly never held them in my hands. Having completed 2 marathons myself, I know the effort it takes to excel to the point to gain entry to these events, let alone complete them.
Then, a few weeks later, the unthinkable happened. Bombs exploded in Boston, and the world of running, and many people’s lives, were forever changed.
The medal Rick sent me took on an even greater meaning, as the team in Boston working with Medals4Mettle sent out a special request. They were looking for donations of Boston medals to present to people affected by the events of that awful day. From first responders who rushed to help, to nurses and doctors in the hospitals, to the injured, to ordinary civilians who went above and beyond.
I knew then that the medal needed to return home, to Boston. I wrote to Rick and asked him if that was okay, and if he wanted to include a note to the recipient. He replied that it was more than okay, and that the note should read:
“With your actions, you earned this more than I did”
I sent the medal home this week, to the team at Medals4Mettle Boston, along with a card, Ricks’ words, and a copy of the Toronto Runs for Boston bib I wore at the Toronto Yonge Street 10K race.
Sometimes on long runs I feel like I’m all alone, but at times like this I’m reminded that there are people, all over the world, running with me in spirit. I can’t thank Rick enough for his generosity, and I’m honoured to partner with such an amazing organization.
When you think there’s nothing one person can do to make a difference, you’re reminded that there is.