NO MORE. No more excuses. No more silence. No more violence.
I follow the Humans of New York Facebook page daily (if you don’t break here and immediately check it out, you will not be sorry). From time to time they will feature the life story of an individual, but roll in out in segments…leaving the reading hanging on ever word and refreshing the page like a crazy person. On one particular day I became engrossed in the story of about a mother who had endured extreme domestic violence throughout her life. I could not refresh the HONY page enough as I hung on every word she said. I was invested and emotionally connected to her and her children and could not wait to continue to see how her story would unfold. My heart broke for her, I wanted to reach out and reassure her and somehow make it all better. I felt helpless that I could not take her pain away. As I finished reading the last segment of her piece I was dissolved in tears and shaking. Her tragic story deeply touched me and her strength inspired me. As a mother of 3 children I connected to her protective, resilient nature and knew that I had to involved to individuals in my community experiencing the effects of domestic violence.
Please let me be very clear, I have never experienced domestic violence, and for this I am exceedingly grateful. I acknowledge that I live a very blessed life. My children and I experience love, support, and compassion on a daily basis. They are growing up in a predictable and safe environment that is developing a foundation of basic trust that will carry them through into their later years. As I read about the HONY mother’s life a profound realization occurred to me that she, nor children, had or will have that same foundation that my family does. To know you are blessed is one thing, but to put forth and manifest your gratefulness visually to the rest of the world is another. For me personally it is not enough to simply appreciate the wonderful life I have, I must do something to honor and express it.
Running has been my savior and means for personal change. When my eating disorder rears its ugly head running brings me back to a stable emotional place to deal with the negative self talk and destructive ways. I owe this sport a great deal and believe it is my vehicle to express my gratitude for the blessing I have in my life. I’ve run for me in the past, but in 2016 my goal is to run for others and pay it forward in as many ways as I possibly can.
After a bit of research I discovered that one of the 2016 charity partners for the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon is the Golden House. Funds raised by runners in 2016 in the Run for a Reason program will benefit this organization which provides a wide range of support programs and shelter for victims of domestic violence in Brown County (Wisconsin). Golden House is a non-profit organization which is often the 1st step in the path victims take to break free from the cycle of violence they are involved in. They offer services to individuals of ALL ages, sexes, races, sexual orientation, and gender expression, including: individual counseling, temporary shelter,24 hour helpline, legal assistance (restraining and harassment order filing assistance), support groups, transitional housing options, prevention education and more. The comfort, compassion, and strength that is provided at Golden House helps individuals start their journey of healing and survival.
Running means so much more to me than receiving a medal or accomplishing a personal goal and I will be running the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon to show this. Every step I take will be to honor the mother in the HONY story and to express the gratefulness that I feel for all that I have in my life. May 22nd, 2016 is not about me, it is about running for a reason bigger than myself. I am proud to support the Golden House if you would like to join me in this effort follow the link to my fundraising page Ali Schanhofer – Run for a Reason – Golden House.
#BeKind #BeHappy #BeActive
Update 4/11/16 – Thank you for all that have donated! To date together we have raised $215 for the Golden House (my goal is $300). There is a little under 30 days to join in the effort to support this wonderful organization. Here is the link to my fundraising page: Ali Schanhofer – Run for a Reason – Golden House.