What does Ironman and Orphans have in common?
That’s a great question! Before I get into answering that let me share a little about both of them.
Ironman is one of the most challenging single day sporting events in the world. It consists of a 2.4 mile (3.8km) open water swim. It usually takes place in the ocean or a lake with over 2000 other athletes flailing their bodies over one another. It’s virtually impossible to not get punched or kicked by other athletes unintentionally of course. Not for the faint of heart. Check out the pic below of Ironman Canada!
Once athletes have completed the swim they jump on their time trial bikes and ride 112 miles (180km) through steep mountain passes. And finally for dessert athletes will then get off their bikes and run an entire marathon (26.2 miles/42.2 km). Yes it’s a long day and an even longer year of committed training. In life we never know what we’re capable of until we’re stripped down to our core. Ironman certainly allows every athlete the opportunity to have an extraordinary experience.
My Connection to Ironman
As many of you know I’ve spent the last year training my heart out to race Ironman Canada on August 28, 2011. To date I’ve been logging in over 400 miles a week and have been training for as much as 35 hours/week. Why am I dong this? I have to take you on a trip down memory lane to fully understand this.
In 1989 I was 15 years old, a high school drop out, living on my own and literally flushing my life down the toilet. After one particular night of partying I woke up the next day in the afternoon feeling absolutely miserable from all the drugs. Basked in my darkness I flicked on the tv and watched wide world of sports. This was the predecessor to stations like ESPN.
What I watched over the next 90 minutes would change my life forever. It was a 90 minute encore presentation of the Ironman World Championships from Kona Hawaii. Today that race in 1989 is known as the “IronWar” because 2 of the best triathletes of all time raced side by side for the entire day. In the end Mark Allen won his first World Championship beating the defending champ Dave Scott by only 57 seconds. As I watched these two icons dig deep within themselves something deep within me was touched. I was so deeply inspired by them and profound seeds were planted deep within me. I told myself… “One day I will do that!”.
I raced Ironman last year and had the time of my life, so much so that I’m going back again this year. To race Ironman I’m fulfilling one of my deep aspirations. As children we all have dreams and turning my mind and body into an ultra-endurance machine has been one of mine. Mark Allen went on to win several more championships and is known as the Wayne Gretzky or Michael Jordan of Ironman. Ironically, over the past year Mark Allen has been my personal coach guiding my training and race plans. The fact that I was touched and inspired by him over 20 years ago and now have him personally guiding me shows the synchronicity of my aspiration.
Another one of my deep aspirations is to help and serve those in need. After all my travels to India I have always known that I wanted to be able give back to those less fortunate. As a result, I serve as a board member of the Paper Kite Children’s Foundation. As a non-profit foundation we directly support orphans in Bihar, India, one of the poorest states in the country. Specifically, we implement our four programs to help these orphans: Nutrition, Clean Water, Education and Health & Welfare.
These children have no parental care. Before Paper Kite supported these orphans the children were cramped in old buildings that were unclean and in poor conditions. The children slept 4-5 per bed constructed of wooden frames. The boys had thin mattresses while the girls slept directly on wooden frames. They lacked the basic necessities for adequate nutrition, education and health care.
The children were not adequately fed and if no food was available they did not eat at all. The children received life skills training such as cooking and basic hygiene but no training on how to obtain and maintain employment. The orphanages also lacked basic medical supplies and would use things like wooden spoons as a splint for a broken arm.
At the age of 13 the orphans are forced to leave the orphanage and are unfortunately unprepared to support themselves in the world alone. Often the children, especially the girls, are forced to beg and scavenge to survive on the streets and many get sold into the sex trade. It is so harsh to witness this.
How You Can Help
Paper Kite is changing all of this. I feel so blessed to be on this board and make an extraordinary difference in the lives of these children. Paper Kite ensures these orphans receive the basic necessities for life and empowers these children to fulfill their aspirations and break the cycle of poverty.
But, WE NEED YOUR HELP! The same way that Mark Allen touched my life and is helping me fulfill my aspirations, I’m asking you for your help. I am fundraising with two other triathletes dedicating our Ironman race to the Orphans by raising money for Paper Kite. Your donations will go directly to the children, as a board member I can personally guarantee that. As a board we fund our own trips to the orphanages and personally purchase the necesseties to deliver our four programs.
So Little Can Provide So Much
Every week I spend hours thinking up, writing and sharing my life with all of you wonderful people so you can continue to grow with me. In this Blog I’m asking for your help!
A donation as little as $20 will fully support one orphan for over 2 months. Yes only 20 bucks! All you have to do is go to the Canada Helps Link below and put in your donation. It’s as simple as that and it’s fully safe and secure.
I invite you to go to the Paper Kite Children’s Foundation home page to learn more and even invite your friends and family to join in on the fundraising efforts. Please share this post with everyone you know so we can continue to transform the lives of these precious children and help them break the cycle of poverty and fulfill their aspirations.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
With Love & Respect,