I signed Gigi up for a group called I Run 4 Michael. This is a group where people who enjoy running are assigned to a buddy. Often this buddy can’t run due to a disease or disability. The idea of the program is to inspire, motivate, and spread awareness. All participants are part of a private Facebook group where the runner will post pictures and notes a few times a week and tag their buddy or their buddy’s parent. Some runners and buddies have been together for a couple of years now. Some runners have traveled to other continents to meet their buddy in person. Some runners have lost their buddy as they have succumbed to their disease.
When we signed up I had no idea of the amazing experience we would end up having. We signed up a few weeks ago and only days later received our runner. Apparently there is a long waiting list of runners waiting to get a buddy. Our buddy is named Aurek, he’s from a small town in Indiana, and he’s 14 years old. This surprised me as I never expected to get a young teenager as our runner. Aurek had signed up a while ago but by the time Gigi was assigned to him he was injured with a broken back. When he’s healthy he runs for his middle school’s cross country team, the Miners. Aurek was thrilled to finally get a buddy and learn more about her but he was disappointed that he couldn’t run for her so he said in the meantime he would have his team run for Gigi. Shortly after that conversation his coach emailed me. This is what he wrote:
Dear Tina, My name is Tim from Linton, In. Aurek has informed me of a notable gesture he has made toward GiGi. I just wanted to let u know that here at Linton Stockton we take pride in our school. I was happy to hear of what Aurek had planned to do. So as a Head Coach and a great supporter of Aurek we as a team have decided to run for our 2 favorite people. This season has been dedicated to Aurek and Ms. GiGi. I will update you on our season as we progress. Also, I would love to send your whole family Miner T-shirts. I just need sizes and an address please. Our motto this year is ” Finish on Empty “. And I can guarantee we will FINISH ON EMPTY for GiGi. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope to hear from you soon.
I was speechless. Over the next few weeks, via pictures taken by Aurek’s mom Becky, I saw these awesome kids run wearing Gigi’s name on their arms and ribbons on their chest for Down syndrome awareness.
These kids are just adorable.
They also made signs…
Finally at the last meet Aurek got the OK from his doctor to run. Yay! And he placed 2nd!
Then towards the end of their season Gigi received a package. It contained letters to Gigi written from each team member. We read every letter. I loved how many of the children mentioned God and scripture.
Some even sent her their ribbons.
One runner sent her a stuffed turtle.
The whole family also received Miners T shirts.
What a role model Aurek is to want to participate in an organization like I Run 4 at only 14. We are so happy he is Gigi’s runner and I am excited and confident that Aurek and Gigi’s relationship will last for a long time. Thank you Aurek, Tim, Cara and Becky and all of the Linton Middle School CC team.
This blog post was featured on the Mighty.