Monday, June 29, 2015

Charity Run 2015: Up, Up and Away

Panorama from the Santa Monica mountains on a hilly training run

Charity Donation Page:  https://www.justgive.org/runlairdrun

I love comic books.  I loved them as a kid, and when I started to work on superhero video games around 2005, I rediscovered that interest which has since continued unabated throughout the past 10 years.  Not surprisingly, but unrelated to my running, the Mercury runner of DC - The Flash - is my favorite of all time.  He was as a kid, and he is today.  I remember reading the massive DC specials when Flash raced Superman.  They have done this a number of times and I think the current tally is even in terms of wins, losses and draws.

I am drawn to the inherent goodness in most superheroes.  Unlike the mythologies of Greece or Scandinavia, Superman and friends are all generally motivated to help others.  Their true powers are their interest in human kind, and their abilities are how they manifest those beliefs.

In some limited way, I hope to reach for a small segment of that goodness by running my annual charity marathon.  For those new to running with me, I take an event or events every 12-18 months and designate it as a run for three charities I support: Children International, The Alliance for Children’s Rights and the Andrew Reisse Memorial Fund at the University of Maryland.

This year, the theme is “up.”  (Yeah, I know that’s more a Superman thing than a Flash thing.)  All of these charities help lift their beneficiaries to new heights.  The Alliance helps children in the LA foster system with legal support and mentors them to be successful in society and happy in their lives.  They also help people adopt children and bring love and family to many people each year.   Children International runs medical, school and sports centers around the world and connects people with sponsored children in impoverished areas.  I visited their center in Chile in 2011, and we have 4 adopted daughters in the Philippines.  The Andrew Reisse Memorial Scholarship, which I started along with other members of Oculus, remembers our co-founder who died tragically.  Each year 1-2 students receive a scholarship to uphold Andrew’s passion for computer science combined with his unique love of the world.  Andrew expressed his vision with photography (http://www.reisse.net), and each recipient of the award has some way in which he or she expresses smoothing beyond just studies.  More on all of these in a moment.

For those ready, here’s the link to donate.  I use the site Justgive.org.  They do charge a service fee but they are the best aggregators of donations.  Over the past 6 years, we’ve raised over $50,000.  (The site shows $37K since some money did not flow through them.) If you prefer to donate directly to the funds, you can find donation places on their websites.  Just send me your email confirmation so I can track the match.





The Up theme continues in a few ways. First, the marathon is on my 48th birthday - July 12.  So, I will be going up a year on the day I run.  Second, the course itself is very hilly - over 2,000 feet of elevation gain during the 26.2 mile course.  And lastly, this marathon will increase my state count to 33 and leave me 17 to go in 2 years to reach my 50 by 50 goal.

And additionally, this year we are “upping” the donations with 100% match up to $1,000 per donation.  Give $10, and so will we.  Give $480 and we’ll do that too.

Here are some numbers to consider giving:

$12.00 - for the 12th of July
$33.00 - for marathon state 33
$48.00 - for my 48th birthday
$262.00 - $100x 26.2 Miles
$712.00 - for my birthday 07/12
$864.60 - for 33 states multiplied by 26.2 miles for each

Let me tell you about each of the charities.

The Andrew Reisse Memorial Scholarship:

Andrew Reisse, class of 2001, was a brilliant computer graphics engineer, an avid photographer and hiker who loved nature, and a loyal friend. He was unique in so many interesting ways. He embodied a kind and utterly selfless disposition. He mentored and inspired everyone around him. While at the University of Maryland, Andrew was a College Park Scholar.  This scholarship has been created in memory of Andrew by Oculus VR, Inc. and his parents, Dr. Robert '70, '76 and Mrs. Dana Reisse '73, who met at Maryland while pursuing their graduate studies. Contributions will establish an endowed scholarship to ensure that future Terps are given the same opportunity to change the world as Andrew did.

The Alliance for Children’s Rights:
The Alliance for Children’s Rights protects the rights of impoverished, abused and neglected children and youth. By providing free legal services and advocacy, the Alliance ensures children have safe, stable homes, healthcare and the education they need to thrive.  For many of their clients, the Alliance is the only connection to a safer, brighter future.

Children International:
With its myriad of programs, I chose one for each fund raiser.  This year it will be a new center in India:  Shahabad Dairy is a slum in the northwest part of Delhi. It is home to more than 21,000 families crammed into a six-block area. Residents settled there over 25 years ago when they were evicted from government and private lands in Delhi. Children International’s second community center in Delhi, India, will bring much-needed support to impoverished children in the community of Shahabad Dairy.


Please help all of these worthy goals by donating.  You will help make birthday 48 and marathon 33 all the more special.

I’ll try to have lots of updates leading up to the race.

Thank you -


Laird

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