Letting People Into My Space and Feeling Grateful for It

by Jeff Burtka

Running has always been my way to get away from the stresses of everyday life. It was my time. I had my goals. My failures were mine alone. 

Up until running a Boston Marathon qualifying time ("BQ") at the Mississauga Marathon in May, I rarely talked about my running goals to anyone but my wife, Allison. Even though I began writing about my running and posting photos from runs on social media, it was still a very personal pursuit.

I am no longer alone on these trails, thanks to my supporters.

But that all changed when I decided to use my good fortune to BQ to raise money for the ChadTough Foundation. I was no longer running solely for myself, but I was running to honor children who have passed away from Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) and to help fight DIPG for the children who have or will have this horrific brain cancer.

I have never raised money for charity for any of my previous races. It's been difficult at times to constantly remind people on social media about my fundraising efforts and getting crickets in response for days, but it always seems like I get a donation right when I am losing hope of reaching my fundraising goal.

The last few days of 2018 have been full of blessings. In a 24-hour period, I received nine donations totaling $525 and am now more than 60% towards my fundraising goals. I also just learned that several of my family members are coming to Boston to support me (they also supported my fundraiser). This generosity and support I've received from friends and family has made my heart full. 

So I'm heading into 2019 grateful that I opened my running world to others and that they responded with generosity and support that I couldn't have imagined.

If you would like to help my effort to defeat DIPG, please click HERE.

Thank you.

UPDATE: As of 5:45 p.m. on January 1, I am at 92% of my $2,500 goal and only $200 away from reaching it. So much generosity on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day! 

Happy New Year!