William, families fight two battles

Shortly after stepping off the airplane at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, I was eating my first ever Chick-Fil-A sandwich with William and his parents. We drove overnight to Murfreesboro and stayed at William’s grandparents’ house along with a dozen other family and friends.

We played lots of backyard football and visited Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville to witness Northwestern’s football team open its season with a victory.

After a weekend of fun, we drove four hours from Murfreesboro to William’s home in Carrollton, Ga. The long trip combined with the weekend’s exciting activities wearied the travelers. William’s young cousin Luke was particularly responsible for the fatigue, insisting on the non-stop pickup football games.

Shortly after returning home from the Labor Day weekend of merriment, however, William was focused on his training. The Chicago Marathon was a month away and William was determined to run the race.

William plans to raise $1,000 for his run to benefit Inheritance of Hope, an organization that serves children and families caring for a parent with a terminal illness. The organization was founded in 2003 by William’s aunt and uncle, the parents of Lucas, after William’s aunt, Kristen, was diagnosed with liver cancer.

Kristen continues to fight the disease. Meanwhile, William set off to attempt the longest run of his life – 12 miles in 90 degree weather – to stay on course for his incremental marathon training. Two hours later, he walked through his front door drenched with sweat and out of breath. He promptly poured himself a glass of water and collapsed into a chair at the dinner table. He had never run such a distance at once in his life, but even longer distances awaited him in the coming weeks.

The next day, William sent this message to his facebook followers comparing his difficult training to the trials faced by those with terminal illnesses:

I ran 12 miles yesterday. I am sore, and when I finished I was really tired. So what. There are families out there facing the terminal illness of a parent. What is running without pause for about 2 hours compared to that? Nothing.

I am running to raise awareness for families who find themselves in this situation. Furthermore, I am running to support Inheritance of Hope, who helps these families out during their time of struggle with the illness.

I hope that you can help me reach my fund-raising goal of $1000 before I race next month in Chicago. It would only take a little bit from each of you. $5. $10. That’s it. That’s a combo meal at your favorite fast food joint or 3 gallons of gas. You wouldn’t miss it. But the families who go on Legacy Retreats will be so grateful.