Social media explodes with videos posted on Facebook and Twitter. Pictures on Instagram have people with smiling faces full of pride, each are calling out their friends to participate in the ALS ice bucket challenge. I started to wonder how in the world can we get this to happen for us and for women’s heart disease? After all well over half a million people lose their fight with Heart disease compared to less than 7000 with ALS. Of course these numbers don’t include all the people who suffer through life with these diseases and they don’t even begin to touch the amount of people that are affected by those who mourn the loss of a loved one. I am so happy the ALS Association has earned over 100 million dollars in donations due to the ice bucket challenge. Those that suffer from ALS suffer from a terribly painful and debilitating disease. I am so thankful they are garnering the attention they whole-heartedly deserve and have patiently waited for. How can we learn from this great success?
I start asking myself questions. What do you have to do to take the world by storm? What does it take to pull at the heart strings of people about something that really does affect them? How do we get people to care and open up their hearts, minds and yes, wallets? One must pose the question, what good does it do to dump a bucket of water over your head if no one is donating money? I don't know that I have the answers to all these questions yet, but I am going to find them.
When Keepin It Beatin ran for Brady there were many that gave tremendously and others who gave a small amount that most would think unremarkable. To me it didn’t matter if it was large or small their generosity always brought tears to my eyes and a warmth to my soul. These people took the time to give when they could have kept it and used it for themselves. Maybe that money was going to their kids, their lunch for the day or week, new clothes, groceries, a night out, or into their savings, maybe a vacation they had been planning. Whatever they planned for that money they changed it and selflessly gave it to us. I will be forever grateful to them for their generosity. There were many that were indifferent. I found it difficult to reach out to those poeple and find a way to touch them in any way that would generate some type of motovation. To make this succesful however it is imperative that we connect with more! More people, more companies, more doctors, and most importantly those who are in need and are afflicted with CMVD.
Our running event was, for me, one of the most wonderful life altering experiences. Although it was emotionally fulfilling and we got people talking about heart disease it wasn’t enough. It didn’t satisfy all the goals I wanted to achieve. It was however, a tremendous start. I am proud of what was accomplished. It brought a great amount of possitive energy to our cause and it got people motivated who otherwise wouldn't be. However that event forced me to recognize that my feelings about heart disease are far more augmented than most. Creating that event opened my eyes to the incredible amount of work that is approaching. I am no longer naïve to the difficulty of reaching people. I am not expecting that I wake up one morning and we have 100 million dollars in the bank and everyone cares about their heart health. It would be nice, but unrealistic. I expect this to take many years and lots of dedication. I expect there to be set backs, obsicles, and apathetic people. I expect push back that makes it harder than it should be. That’s okay nothing worth doing is easy and I am not a quitter.
I haven’t come up with any genius ideas like the ALS ice bucket challenge but there is still time to have epiphanies. Events will continue to be prepared, thumbs will always be painted red, and hearts will be opened as we move toward the future with new prospects, new ideas, and better ways to achieve our destiny.
Presently I am recruiting a new team of runners to run another 200 mile relay from Huntington Beach CA to San Diego. Hopefully this time we can reach higher and go further. I hope to one day travel all over the country running for women and their families. One day we will host our own running events so others can run too. This way we can make a difference for those that live with CMVD. We can help women pay medical bills, buy laptop computers, wheelchairs, clothes for their kids, groceries, or whatever they need. In the future we will work to cross items off of bucket lists, help their kids go to college or pay their mortgage. I want the Brady Heart Foundation and Keepin It Beatin to be huge and to touch women that need the most help in whatever way they need.
I won’t find a cure or a better way to help manage symptoms. I don’t have the resources and I don’t have the scientific mind. I will leave those endeavors to dedicated professionals. However I can help alleviate the burden of those that carry a substantial weight. Eventually we will come up with a brilliant idea that will catch fire. It will turn social media into our greatest ally, and bring heart disease to the forefront where it belongs. It will change the world and It will encourage people to donate in order to help their fellow neighbors and friends.
Until then we will keep moving forward never giving up and never giving in, enthusiastic and purposeful of our endearvors, surviving the “beast”, planning events and talking to those who will hear. All the while touching one life at a time and painting one thumb at a time, even if the only thumb we are painting, for now, is our own.