Running with a purpose

I’ll admit it, when I started running a little less than a year ago, I did it for selfish purposes. I felt old, fat, and honestly, not a very good example for my two young boys or my wife. Running has helped me become a better example for my family.

As I got into running more and more, and started to participate in the running community, I also noticed that there where many regular people out there who were runners that I could look up to and gain inspiration from. While I figured that more experienced runners would be able to give me tips and advice on my running, what I didn’t know is that I would find people whose lives were true examples of the very characteristics I want to teach my boys: hard working, giving, positive, loyal, and there for you when needed most. One of those people is Joe Marruchella.

I first “met” Joe on DailyMile, a social site for runners and other endurance athletes. What I first noticed about Joe was how incredibly positive he is and how much he gave of himself. I’d see him giving encouragement, pats on the back and sometimes, a kick in the butt to other runners on DailyMile. Always in a positive way. Always with a you can do this attitude. And he had the credibility as an accomplished runner to deserve the numerous “followers” he had. On one particular day early this year, I was reading an entry he made on DailyMile where he talked about Running For Dom, got curious, and clicked through to his blog to see what it was all about. This is where things changed for me.

Joe’s lifelong friend, Dom D’Eramo, had been diagnosed with cancer in the spring of 2009, just a few months after the birth of his second child, a daughter. Joe, a self-described “regular guy,” decided to take on an extraordinary task as a means to raise money to help his friend fight this disease. Joe would run two marathons in the span of just thirteen days in the spring of this year. No, he didn’t choose the easiest marathons, he chose two of the most challenging: the Boston Marathon and the Pittsburgh Marathon. As I read about his incredible journey to help his friend Dom fight for his life, I knew I wanted to help.

I decided to reach out to Joe just say that I admired what he was doing for his friend and wished him good luck on his runs. It was from these brief exchanges that a friendship was born. Joe finished those two marathons for his friend, and in the process raised $26,200 to help with the mountain of medical bills the D’Eramos faced. Not that this alone was not enough, but if you really want to get a glimpse into the kind of human being Joe is, please read his race recap of that second marathon. This man, physically and emotionally spent, decided he’d just keep on giving, and helped other hurting runners make it to their finish line. Waiting for him at the finish of the Pittsburgh Marathon was Dom. As it should be.

Joe and Dom

You just can’t sit back and read about someone giving his all like this, you have to reach out and say, “What can I do to help?” And so that’s what I did. I helped Joe reach his fundraising goal, which helped the D’Eramos cope with medical expenses.

Dominic D’Eramo fought and fought and fought. But cancer took him last Sunday, August 15, 2010. He left behind a wife and two young children.

When Joe returned from the funeral services, instead of simply wallowing in sadness, he immediately started thinking of how he could continue to honor Dom’s memory, but more importantly, how he could make sure Dom’s children were taken care of in the way Dom himself would have wanted. Since then, Joe has been helping the family setup and begin to fund 529 College Savings Accounts for the two D’Eramo children.

And so, I am doing what I can to help raise money to help fund these accounts. I’ve decide to run the Chicago Marathon for Dom.

I’d really love your help in raising money. If you can spare any amount, please go over to a site I’ve set up and pledge what you can for my run. If you pledge $1 per mile and I complete the marathon, I’ll ask for a $26.20 donation. If you can pledge $10 per mile, your donation would end up being $262.00.

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