Today we are profiling Jeremy Skillings, who is a terrific member of the Charity Miles community. Check out his story below!
I was never much of a runner. If I’m being completely honest, I was usually the guy in the back of the pack, even while simply doing a lap around the field during football practice. Once I met my wife, who is a runner, I began running as well. I wasn’t doing anything major, rather I was just trying to work my way up to a 5K.
Having grown up in a small town close to the world famous “Camptown Races” in Camptown, PA, I was familiar with the positivity and community that comes with running. My grandfather actually ran and organized these races for a number of years, but for me personally, I never fully embraced it until my later years, when team sports became harder to come by.
My wonderful wife inspired me to start running 5K’s here and there and even worked my way up to a half marathon. I had a rough couple of years where I was diagnosed with parathyroid cancer. Fortunately I had successful surgery and came out on top, but during those years I had a lot of time for personal reflection. During that time I started setting my sights on marathon running.
Despite never having lots of money, I have always been a fan of charity events. My wife and I both have certain charities that are particularly close to our hearts. I was affiliated with The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for a period of time. I also support Liberty in North Korea, and the Mario Lemieux Foundation, because I think both of these organizations are doing some really great things. My wife is a supporter and volunteer with the ASPCA, and we even raised money for them when we ran the NYC marathon this past year.
I was first introduced to Charity Miles by my mother, and took to it right away. As a small business owner, I don’t have a lot of time for side projects, but one thing I have always wanted to do was use technology to better support good charities. So naturally, I thought the app was brilliant from the first time I used it. I love how all you have to do is push a button and it allows you to add real meaning to not only runs and races that you were already doing, but it also helps promote a healthier lifestyle overall.
I think it is great what Charity Miles offers. I tend to mix which charity I run for based on who I may be running with or what the event is. As I mentioned earlier, my wife volunteers for the ASPCA, so I will often pick that when I run with her. My best friend from high school joined the Army right after 9/11, and has been deployed in both Iraq and Afghanistan. For that reason, I have been able to see everything our brave soldiers go though, and will often run for Wounded Warrior Project because of that connection. When I am struggling with one of those tough runs, regardless of how long or short it might be, it actually adds to my motivation to make sure I finish and get that extra little bit of money for whichever charity I’m running for that day.
Running has been one of the greatest things that has happened to me. The running group that helps me through my long runs on the weekends is a great example of how powerful the running community can really be Everyone truly supports each other with their individual races and goals. I would never have finished my first marathon without the great group of ladies (my wife’s friends) that let me join them each week on these long runs. I am forever grateful to my wonderful wife to bringing running into my life. It keeps me healthy and motivated, and I thank Charity Miles for allowing me to take that passion and help change the world for the better.
- Jeremy Skillings