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team tiny oranges reached for the cure

It’s taken me the week to process the event from last weekend but I am now ready to share all the amazing details and wrap up what has been an incredible experience.

Special thanks to Kim Harvey Photography for donating her time to photograph our event!  All photos in this post are Kim’s unless otherwise noted.  She did SUCH an amazing job!  Thank you!

On Sunday, May 1st, 2011 one hundred and eleven people  from Team Tiny Oranges showed up to the Irvine Spectrum to participate in an inspiring event to reach for a cure for pediatric cancer.

We joined thousands of other moms, dads, kids, families and teams to walk and run together for a cause that has now become very close to my heart – raising money to help fund research dollars that will go to the best scientists and best researchers to help save lives of children across the world.

Through various fundraisers, email campaigns and creativity, our team collectively raised over $23,707.70 dollars for the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation to help save lives and our team took home the award for top fundraising team!  So exciting!

Here were some of my teammates that went up to accept our award!

Everyone was decked out in, you guessed it, ORANGE!   We had cute PCRF t-shirts for our team with our big Tiny Oranges logo on it and some gals wore a tank the Running Divas made for us with our team slogan, “you are strong” on it.   Not only do I love this company and their hip apparel, but the owners could not be nicer people.  Thanks Marc for all your help!

I saw this shot below on the blog Hearts and Scars and Chelsea was nice enough to send me the image.  Chelsea is a pediatric cancer survivor with a beautiful blog – please click the link and check out her work and make sure to read her post on the event for more images.

I thought this picture really epitomized the feel of our YOU ARE STRONG team!

My parents got there early along with four of their friends to set up our team booth as I was running the half marathon. Afterwards I had to wonder WHAT the heck I was thinking trying to coordinate a team AND run a half marathon?!  I am so lucky to have such amazing parents and family friends that were willing to come and help me.  Here was our cute booth! Thanks again to Calee from eXist Designs for donating the banner to us!

And another special thanks to Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market in Costa Mesa for donating bottled waters, cereal bars and raisins for our booth. I am and forever will be a loyal customer for life after experiencing their kindness first hand!

And, if I can have a drum roll please…

The amazing Montage Laguna Beach was one of our team sponsors and was kind enough to donate a one night weeknight stay at their fabulous property to the top fundraiser on our team.

Through personal fundraising efforts and a big fundraiser she coordinated in February for our team, the lovely Tera Rae Stephens wins the award with $3,635 dollars raised for our team to help find a cure for pediatric cancer! Congratulations!

Now, a little about my actual race.  After barely sleeping at all due to nerves, my husband and I walked over to get ready to start the half marathon.

It started with the National Anthem which always makes me teary and then some girls from Lululemon played some fun music and did a warm up with everyone before the gun went off to start.  I was filled with excitement and buzzing with anticipation and adrenaline.

Then off the gun went and we were on our way!

As it turns out, God chose to shine the sun down on us big time that day, along with the wind.  Um, head wind, so I have to say this was by far my hardest half and also the hardest physical challenge of my life.  I went out too fast for the first 6 miles and then sort of hit a wall and was feeling pretty terrible.   The last 7 miles were a huge challenge for me.  Every race I learn a new lesson.

But I powered through, one step at a time, and let me tell you there were many times along the way that I wondered if I could do it and had to say to myself, “keep going, you are strong.

One of the coolest things for me, was at the last mile, the torturous mile 12 which seems to last for eternity, I saw two Team Tiny Oranges teammates, Kristal and Sharon, who were both running their first half marathon.  It was SO cool to be at the finish with them.  I was so proud!  At one point Sharon turned to me and said, “you are strong!” and we kept going.

As I crossed the finish, it was surreal. I saw my parents, my parent’s friends, my sister, my inlaws, my GIRLS, Kristin Enrico and her mom who inspired me to start this team, my best friends.  It was a moment of a complete HIGH like I have never experienced before.  Because even being the worst personal run ever, I still did it, and to see all the people I did at the finish was completely exhilarating.

And to know the REASON I ran those 13.1 HARD miles was the most important thing of all.

Here is my finish, thanks Kim for capturing this shot.  It means more to me than you know and symbolizes more than you know! I worked SO hard and put SO many hours into this event that to cross that finish was a true “we did it!” feeling.

I got to see a handful of team members at the booth after the race and everyone was glowing with accomplishment.  It was really an awesome moment.  The collective feeling was one of joy and that it was so cool to be a part of something special; something bigger than ourselves.

Then we walked over to the 1K Kids’ Fun Run.  My girls were SO looking forward to “running” in it, and it was the CUTEST thing ever!

{bottom left & bottom right photos were taken by me}

When the kids finished they all got MEDALS which were a  BIG hit.  HUGE.

Then Emma asked me if she won the race, and I said, “yes!!” And then she asked me, “did you win your race?” And I said, “Yes! We ALL won our races today.  We are all winners today.”

Sounds so corny, but it was true.

In wrapping up this process, I would like to say the following…

Thank you to my incredible team for joining us and for working so tirelessly to raise money for kids that need help.  Your dedication and enthusiasm was remarkable.  We made a difference.

Thank you to Kristin Enrico for writing this beautiful guest post about being a pediatric cancer survivor that got my wheels turning on what we could do to make a difference.  You were the inspiration to start this team.

Thank you to everyone that donated to our team and supported our fundraisers.  I was overwhelmed by your generosity.

Thank you to Jordan, Gina and Taite from PCRF for being my cheerleaders and providing me with help and motivation throughout the entire process.

Thank you to Kim from Team Gavin for reminding me every day why I am fighting for this cause and for inspiring me with your story and resolve.

Thank you to all my sponsors I mentioned above.  Your willingness to help meant so much.

Thank you to my husband, parents and friends for supporting me and being there for me.

Thank you to all the OC bloggers who joined us on our team.  The power your outlets provided to spread the word and awareness had a huge impact and I feel honored to be a part of your community.
I am also proud to call you friends.

And to all the children and families facing pediatric cancer:  we walked or ran with you in our hearts last weekend.
Thank you for inspiring us with your strength. I pray for a cure.

XOXO
Jen

www.pcrf-kids.org/reachingforthecure

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6 Comments

Reader comments (6). Read or add your own below!

 
  1. 1
    kellyk says:

    Congratulations! What a great accomplishment!

    [Reply]
  2. 2
    Pam says:

    You are such an inspiration to me – you decide to do something and just make it happen. You put your heart and soul into everything you do.This $ would not have been raised without your vision, drive, and hard work. You are awesome – the day was awesome. Go Team TO!!!!!!!!!

    [Reply]
  3. 3
    lclark says:

    Jen, thank you for all you have done in the past months to make this contribution possible. It was fun to be a part of that day and to read your blog this morning, reliving it, brought tears to my eyes. You are one amazing human being who reaches out to others. Through your efforts, they are that much closer to a cure!

    [Reply]
  4. 4
    Sally says:

    You are AWESOME Jen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!What a GREAT event!!!!

    [Reply]
  5. 5
    Stefan says:

    Congratulations Jen, I am proud of you and everyone that participated.

    [Reply]
  6. 6
    ruhosedzsag says:

    nPHr29 xpzirzeabfkn

    [Reply]