Charity Miles

Showing 73 posts tagged Charity Miles

And now, a guest blog post from our very own Roger Long:




When the founder of Charity Miles, Gene Gurkoff, asked me to submit blog posts chronicling my adventure - a middle-aged guy and soon-to-be grandfather who just happens to have Parkinson’s going from not running to running a marathon in less than six months - I was somewhat reluctant to share my thoughts and feelings with many people I do not know. I’ve always been a “fly under the radar” kind of person. Although I have a personal blog, it is a relatively anonymous outlet for expressing myself. Putting my name on something I’ve written and submitting it for examination by others lies outside of my comfort zone, but I believe that getting outside my comfort zone is a proven way to grow. I’m glad Gene asked me to do it. The following is my wrap-up blog post.
Since my last post, I ran in my first marathon race and met my new granddaughter - on back-to-back days. Over the course of nine days, my wife and I made a multi-stop trip to Washington, D.C, then on to Colorado, then back home. On October 27th, I rose early and followed the same routine I have followed before each of my long training runs. I was surprisingly relaxed when I woke that morning. The preparation and anxiety were behind me; I had done all I could do, and all that was left to do was to run the race.
Seventeen minutes after the howitzer fired signifying the start of the race, I crossed the starting line located between the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery and began the quest for 26.2 in earnest. I remained true to my training and my comfortable pace using the Galloway run-walk method (5 min run: 1 min walk). Between the start line and the Key Bridge leading from Virginia over the Potomac River into the Georgetown area of D.C., thousands of runners passed me. As I began the out and back portion of the race on Rock Creek Parkway, I noticed the seemingly endless, massive pack of runners completing that portion of the race and moving on toward the Tidal Basin and Ohio Drive. I was officially in the back of the pack. By the time I reached Hains Point, the halfway point of the race, my pace was slower than all of my long training runs. My troublesome left leg was slowing me down, and I began to have doubts that I would be able to reach the Gauntlet at mile 17.5 or “Beat the Bridge” at mile 20. But, I kept putting one foot in front of the other and my hobbled gait continued to move me closer to the finish line.  When I reached mile 17 near the Washington Monument, a Marine shouted out the amount of time I had the reach the Gauntlet at the intersection of 14th Street and Madison Drive - I had to run as fast as possible for nearly a half mile to make it. I passed through the intersection with 2 minutes to spare, and then the toughest part of my race began. It was at that point that the little voice inside whispered, then shouted at me to quit, to give up. I kept moving forward, running some and walking some. One of my closest lifelong friends found me and ran beside me briefly, encouraging me to pick up the pace. Just as the 20 mile mark came into view, the love of my life and my wife of 25 years, herself a new runner, bolted from the crowd of bystanders to run beside me. As always, her strength and love enabled me to overcome my doubts and my body’s resistance to continue, and I sprinted the last quarter mile to beat the bridge and avoid being pulled from the course … by mere seconds.
Much of the last 10K was the kind of slog in which my mind finds another place to escape to while the body continues onward. My wife and friends found me at the 25.5 mile point of the race, and again with their love and encouragement, I found the inner strength to sprint to the finish line and complete the race with mere minutes to spare for an official finish.  Eleven years after Parkinson’s entered my life, the three-year journey from being a long-time prisoner in my own body to a marathon finisher was complete.
That night and during the flight to Colorado to meet our newborn granddaughter the following day, I had time to reflect on what the marathon meant to me and my family. It was a microcosm of life in general - a shared experience of struggle and triumph. There’s purpose in the struggles and the victories. As I held my granddaughter for the first time and looked at her sweet face, I wondered what struggles and victories lay before her and the legacy I pass on to her by never quitting when things get tough and by making it through to the other side.
None of us who run the race have the exact same experience, but we have a shared one. I’m grateful I’ve had the opportunity to share part of my marathon experience with other members of the Charity Miles community, and hope you are encouraged to run your own race.  Perhaps we’ll have the opportunity to meet and run together in New York City on November 2, 2014.

And now, a guest blog post from our very own Roger Long:

When the founder of Charity Miles, Gene Gurkoff, asked me to submit blog posts chronicling my adventure - a middle-aged guy and soon-to-be grandfather who just happens to have Parkinson’s going from not running to running a marathon in less than six months - I was somewhat reluctant to share my thoughts and feelings with many people I do not know. I’ve always been a “fly under the radar” kind of person. Although I have a personal blog, it is a relatively anonymous outlet for expressing myself. Putting my name on something I’ve written and submitting it for examination by others lies outside of my comfort zone, but I believe that getting outside my comfort zone is a proven way to grow. I’m glad Gene asked me to do it. The following is my wrap-up blog post.

Since my last post, I ran in my first marathon race and met my new granddaughter - on back-to-back days. Over the course of nine days, my wife and I made a multi-stop trip to Washington, D.C, then on to Colorado, then back home. On October 27th, I rose early and followed the same routine I have followed before each of my long training runs. I was surprisingly relaxed when I woke that morning. The preparation and anxiety were behind me; I had done all I could do, and all that was left to do was to run the race.

Seventeen minutes after the howitzer fired signifying the start of the race, I crossed the starting line located between the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery and began the quest for 26.2 in earnest. I remained true to my training and my comfortable pace using the Galloway run-walk method (5 min run: 1 min walk). Between the start line and the Key Bridge leading from Virginia over the Potomac River into the Georgetown area of D.C., thousands of runners passed me. As I began the out and back portion of the race on Rock Creek Parkway, I noticed the seemingly endless, massive pack of runners completing that portion of the race and moving on toward the Tidal Basin and Ohio Drive. I was officially in the back of the pack. By the time I reached Hains Point, the halfway point of the race, my pace was slower than all of my long training runs. My troublesome left leg was slowing me down, and I began to have doubts that I would be able to reach the Gauntlet at mile 17.5 or “Beat the Bridge” at mile 20. But, I kept putting one foot in front of the other and my hobbled gait continued to move me closer to the finish line. 

When I reached mile 17 near the Washington Monument, a Marine shouted out the amount of time I had the reach the Gauntlet at the intersection of 14th Street and Madison Drive - I had to run as fast as possible for nearly a half mile to make it. I passed through the intersection with 2 minutes to spare, and then the toughest part of my race began. It was at that point that the little voice inside whispered, then shouted at me to quit, to give up. I kept moving forward, running some and walking some. One of my closest lifelong friends found me and ran beside me briefly, encouraging me to pick up the pace. Just as the 20 mile mark came into view, the love of my life and my wife of 25 years, herself a new runner, bolted from the crowd of bystanders to run beside me. As always, her strength and love enabled me to overcome my doubts and my body’s resistance to continue, and I sprinted the last quarter mile to beat the bridge and avoid being pulled from the course … by mere seconds.

Much of the last 10K was the kind of slog in which my mind finds another place to escape to while the body continues onward. My wife and friends found me at the 25.5 mile point of the race, and again with their love and encouragement, I found the inner strength to sprint to the finish line and complete the race with mere minutes to spare for an official finish.  Eleven years after Parkinson’s entered my life, the three-year journey from being a long-time prisoner in my own body to a marathon finisher was complete.

That night and during the flight to Colorado to meet our newborn granddaughter the following day, I had time to reflect on what the marathon meant to me and my family. It was a microcosm of life in general - a shared experience of struggle and triumph. There’s purpose in the struggles and the victories. As I held my granddaughter for the first time and looked at her sweet face, I wondered what struggles and victories lay before her and the legacy I pass on to her by never quitting when things get tough and by making it through to the other side.

None of us who run the race have the exact same experience, but we have a shared one. I’m grateful I’ve had the opportunity to share part of my marathon experience with other members of the Charity Miles community, and hope you are encouraged to run your own race.  Perhaps we’ll have the opportunity to meet and run together in New York City on November 2, 2014.

image
Every day we like to shine a spotlight on people doing amazing work- both with Charity Miles and without. Today we’re featuring Stephanie Cassady, a wife and mother with various veterans in her family, and a love for the Wounded Warriors Project.

What is your greatest accomplishment as of late?  
Without hesitation, my family! Although my work has temporarily separated us by several states, we unconditionally support each others goals, ambitions, and dreams. I cannot be more proud or more blessed then the family I have today.


 How did you achieve it?
By staying true to myself, always being honest, and not letting ego get in the way when I was wrong.
 What motivates you to make the world a better place? 

My children who are constantly getting involved, volunteering, etc. and I do what I think would make my dad proud of me since he passed in 1994.
 What do you do to stay healthy and fit?
When I think of being healthy, I don’t just think of my physical being, but also mental and emotional. So I run, work out, “play” golf if you can call it that, participate/volunteer in charity events that raise money and awareness for great causes, eat well, spend time with my family as much as I can, and even get massages or have mother/daughter dates for mani/pedi’s.
 What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? 


I cannot remember exactly who or where I heard this but it applies in life, in challenges and in goal setting: “Don’t give up what you want most for what you want now.”
  What’s your favorite aspect of using Charity Miles? 



My 18-year-old daughter, Taylor, is the one who inspired me to join Charity Miles. We both have asthma, and so running is a difficult task for us. We use that time to bond, exercise and condition our lungs. We use Charity Miles to raise awareness and money for worthwhile causes close to our hearts.Though we facetime often, and text daily, using the Charity Miles application allows me to support our family’s fitness goals even being 1500 miles away.
 Who do you exercise for, and why? 
 Wounded Warrior project is dear to our hearts as my father, uncles, and grandparents were all veterans, some dating back to the Civil War. My father was killed in a car accident when I was just 10 weeks pregnant with my daughter, Taylor James, who is named after her grandfather. He served two tours in Vietnam, and came home with numerous medals, including a purple heart. We honor him in all our contributions. Taylor splits her miles between Would Warrior project and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in an effort to honor a high school AVID classmate, Leslie, who had to postpone college due to currently undergoing treatments for leukemia. 
Read more amazing Spotlight On stories here!







High-res

Every day we like to shine a spotlight on people doing amazing work- both with Charity Miles and without. Today we’re featuring Stephanie Cassady, a wife and mother with various veterans in her family, and a love for the Wounded Warriors Project.

What is your greatest accomplishment as of late?  

Without hesitation, my family! Although my work has temporarily separated us by several states, we unconditionally support each others goals, ambitions, and dreams. I cannot be more proud or more blessed then the family I have today.

 How did you achieve it?

By staying true to myself, always being honest, and not letting ego get in the way when I was wrong.

What motivates you to make the world a better place?

My children who are constantly getting involved, volunteering, etc. and I do what I think would make my dad proud of me since he passed in 1994.

What do you do to stay healthy and fit?

When I think of being healthy, I don’t just think of my physical being, but also mental and emotional. So I run, work out, “play” golf if you can call it that, participate/volunteer in charity events that raise money and awareness for great causes, eat well, spend time with my family as much as I can, and even get massages or have mother/daughter dates for mani/pedi’s.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

I cannot remember exactly who or where I heard this but it applies in life, in challenges and in goal setting: “Don’t give up what you want most for what you want now.”

What’s your favorite aspect of using Charity Miles?

My 18-year-old daughter, Taylor, is the one who inspired me to join Charity Miles. We both have asthma, and so running is a difficult task for us. We use that time to bond, exercise and condition our lungs. We use Charity Miles to raise awareness and money for worthwhile causes close to our hearts.Though we facetime often, and text daily, using the Charity Miles application allows me to support our family’s fitness goals even being 1500 miles away.

Who do you exercise for, and why?

Wounded Warrior project is dear to our hearts as my father, uncles, and grandparents were all veterans, some dating back to the Civil War. My father was killed in a car accident when I was just 10 weeks pregnant with my daughter, Taylor James, who is named after her grandfather. He served two tours in Vietnam, and came home with numerous medals, including a purple heart. We honor him in all our contributions. Taylor splits her miles between Would Warrior project and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in an effort to honor a high school AVID classmate, Leslie, who had to postpone college due to currently undergoing treatments for leukemia.

Read more amazing Spotlight On stories here!

And now, a guest post from our very own Roger Long!
“You’re nuts,” was followed by “honey” or “bro” or “friend” when I first told people close to me that I was going to run the Marine Corps Marathon (my first marathon) in Washington, D.C., on October 27th, a little less than six months from the day I made the proclamation. A few experienced friends were much more diplomatic while cautioning me about the rigors of and commitment to the training required to run 26.2 miles. Over the years, and especially the last three, I’ve found that when family or close friends say I’m nuts or crazy when I tell them my plans for a new adventure, I’m usually on the right path for me. Like countless others who set out on similar paths, deep down I just need to know if I can do it.

According to Running USA, 487,000 people in the United States finished marathons in 2012, and had the ING New York City Marathon been held, the number most likely would have surpassed the previous record for marathon finishers (518,000) set in 2011. Of those who finished a marathon in 2012, 46% were in the 40+ age bracket (my age bracket), and the average age of finishers was 38.

I chose the Marine Corps Marathon specifically to honor my sons, both of whom are Marines, and to do something to help other military families. I am running as part of Team Fisher House representing the Fisher House Foundation, which offers free accommodations for the families of ill or wounded servicemembers at their facilities located on federal installations near military hospitals or VA medical centers. I’m definitely not alone in my desire to participate in a sporting event to benefit others; approximately 11.5 million people walked, ran, or biked for charity in 2012.

The decision was made easier because the MCM is known as “the People’s Marathon,” with no prize money offered and the highest percentage of first time marathoners of any major marathon in the United States. Approximately one third of MCM participants are first-time marathoners. For several years I had trouble walking, much less running, due to young onset Parkinson’s disease. I used a cane and a leg brace to aid with mobility. I dreamed of walking normally, and the thought of running again seemed as likely as taking a trip to the moon. When I began what has become my recovery three years ago, I set out to learn how to walk normally again, and after 2,500 miles of walking, hiking, and mountain climbing, I decided it was time to run. I was cautioned by others to start with a 5K or 10K, but I like to dream big. An athlete for much of my pre-Parkinson’s life, I believe if you’re going to climb mountains, climb one of the tallest in the world. If you’re going to run, run a marathon.

I researched running plans, and based on the wealth of information available, I prepared a plan of my own. The spreadsheet on my fridge details every planned run over the course of the 23 weeks between the day I ran my first mile and the date of the marathon. I followed the plan religiously, and the first several weeks of the training program were great as I experienced the joy of running again. Then the injury bug bit. Like many first time marathon hopefuls, the effects of over-training began wearing me down faster than my body could recover.

Five weeks ago my left leg began rebelling (old injuries and a resurgence of a PD-related muscle issue). Every time my left leg strikes the ground is painful. Every day I waver between being confident then doubtful regarding whether I will be able to complete the race within the official time limit of 7 hours. Since this is my first marathon, I don’t know if these thoughts are normal or if I’m allowing the pain and fatigue to play games with my thoughts. I consoled myself with the thought that at least the hundreds of training miles using the Charity Miles app for Wounded Warrior Project and the Michael J. Fox Foundation would make a difference in the lives of others regardless of the outcome of the race.

I look forward to the race, both for the experience and to finally know the outcome of all the effort. At a recent running clinic for those severely injured in the Boston Marathon bombing, two-time Boston Marathon winner Joan Benoit Samuelson said, “The most inspiring stories are at the back of the pack.” Since near the back of the pack is where I will most likely be, I look forward to sharing the experience with others who will inspire me over the course of the 26.2 miles.

Just days ago, I read a story about a Venezuelan man with muscular dystrophy who recently finished the Chicago Marathon. It took him nearly seventeen hours to finish the race. When I thought about the man’s incredible feat of perseverance, I realized that it really doesn’t matter if I get an “official” finish time. All that matters is that I finish what I set out to do, regardless of how long it takes or how much pain I must endure: to honor my sons, to have a personal victory over Parkinson’s, and to have an opportunity to show others, especially those who battle physical challenges, what they’re capable of doing - just as others who came before me showed me the way. The only difference is whether or not I earn a finisher’s medal. High-res

And now, a guest post from our very own Roger Long!

“You’re nuts,” was followed by “honey” or “bro” or “friend” when I first told people close to me that I was going to run the Marine Corps Marathon (my first marathon) in Washington, D.C., on October 27th, a little less than six months from the day I made the proclamation. A few experienced friends were much more diplomatic while cautioning me about the rigors of and commitment to the training required to run 26.2 miles. Over the years, and especially the last three, I’ve found that when family or close friends say I’m nuts or crazy when I tell them my plans for a new adventure, I’m usually on the right path for me. Like countless others who set out on similar paths, deep down I just need to know if I can do it.

According to Running USA, 487,000 people in the United States finished marathons in 2012, and had the ING New York City Marathon been held, the number most likely would have surpassed the previous record for marathon finishers (518,000) set in 2011. Of those who finished a marathon in 2012, 46% were in the 40+ age bracket (my age bracket), and the average age of finishers was 38.

I chose the Marine Corps Marathon specifically to honor my sons, both of whom are Marines, and to do something to help other military families. I am running as part of Team Fisher House representing the Fisher House Foundation, which offers free accommodations for the families of ill or wounded servicemembers at their facilities located on federal installations near military hospitals or VA medical centers. I’m definitely not alone in my desire to participate in a sporting event to benefit others; approximately 11.5 million people walked, ran, or biked for charity in 2012.

The decision was made easier because the MCM is known as “the People’s Marathon,” with no prize money offered and the highest percentage of first time marathoners of any major marathon in the United States. Approximately one third of MCM participants are first-time marathoners. For several years I had trouble walking, much less running, due to young onset Parkinson’s disease. I used a cane and a leg brace to aid with mobility. I dreamed of walking normally, and the thought of running again seemed as likely as taking a trip to the moon. When I began what has become my recovery three years ago, I set out to learn how to walk normally again, and after 2,500 miles of walking, hiking, and mountain climbing, I decided it was time to run. I was cautioned by others to start with a 5K or 10K, but I like to dream big. An athlete for much of my pre-Parkinson’s life, I believe if you’re going to climb mountains, climb one of the tallest in the world. If you’re going to run, run a marathon.

I researched running plans, and based on the wealth of information available, I prepared a plan of my own. The spreadsheet on my fridge details every planned run over the course of the 23 weeks between the day I ran my first mile and the date of the marathon. I followed the plan religiously, and the first several weeks of the training program were great as I experienced the joy of running again. Then the injury bug bit. Like many first time marathon hopefuls, the effects of over-training began wearing me down faster than my body could recover.

Five weeks ago my left leg began rebelling (old injuries and a resurgence of a PD-related muscle issue). Every time my left leg strikes the ground is painful. Every day I waver between being confident then doubtful regarding whether I will be able to complete the race within the official time limit of 7 hours. Since this is my first marathon, I don’t know if these thoughts are normal or if I’m allowing the pain and fatigue to play games with my thoughts. I consoled myself with the thought that at least the hundreds of training miles using the Charity Miles app for Wounded Warrior Project and the Michael J. Fox Foundation would make a difference in the lives of others regardless of the outcome of the race.

I look forward to the race, both for the experience and to finally know the outcome of all the effort. At a recent running clinic for those severely injured in the Boston Marathon bombing, two-time Boston Marathon winner Joan Benoit Samuelson said, “The most inspiring stories are at the back of the pack.” Since near the back of the pack is where I will most likely be, I look forward to sharing the experience with others who will inspire me over the course of the 26.2 miles.

Just days ago, I read a story about a Venezuelan man with muscular dystrophy who recently finished the Chicago Marathon. It took him nearly seventeen hours to finish the race. When I thought about the man’s incredible feat of perseverance, I realized that it really doesn’t matter if I get an “official” finish time. All that matters is that I finish what I set out to do, regardless of how long it takes or how much pain I must endure: to honor my sons, to have a personal victory over Parkinson’s, and to have an opportunity to show others, especially those who battle physical challenges, what they’re capable of doing - just as others who came before me showed me the way. The only difference is whether or not I earn a finisher’s medal.

Every day we like to shine a spotlight on people doing amazing work- both with Charity Miles and without. Today we’re featuring Rena’ Campbell who recently lost 136 lbs, all thanks to running! Rena’ says “Running gave me my life back.”
What is your greatest accomplishment as of late?
It’s reading emails from friends telling me my posts and transformation photos have motivated them to get healthy, to be active! It’s a great feeling to know that I have inspired others to live a healthier lifestyle.
How did you achieve it?

I am motivated by other runners or walkers that wake up at 4am on a weekday to run or walk before working a long day like I do. Seeing dedicated people makes me strive to do more!
What do you do to stay healthy and fit?

I run/walk five days a week, I workout at Gym5 with my trainer Tommy three days a week, and I practice hot yoga twice a week. I’m a vegetarian, I have a gluten free diet and I drink plenty of water.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? 

The best advice I’ve ever received is to always use your ability to run to help yourself stay active and to help other people. I’ve ran so many races to benefit charities because God gave me the ability to move my legs and in return I feel I should use that ability to help others.
What are your favorite aspects of using Charity Miles?

My friend Shannon told me about Charity miles last year. Each time I use the app I try to chose a different charity to put in miles for. It’s so awesome!
Who do you exercise for, and why?
I exercise for myself and for my family. Running makes me happy, fresh air, feeling your heartbeat while jogging down an open road… I live for that! I have two nieces and a nephew and my oldest niece told me last week “I am so proud of you Nay Nay! I want to start running with you.” That made me feel so good to hear her say that.
Read more amazing Spotlight On stories here! High-res

Every day we like to shine a spotlight on people doing amazing work- both with Charity Miles and without. Today we’re featuring Rena’ Campbell who recently lost 136 lbs, all thanks to running! Rena’ says “Running gave me my life back.”

What is your greatest accomplishment as of late?

It’s reading emails from friends telling me my posts and transformation photos have motivated them to get healthy, to be active! It’s a great feeling to know that I have inspired others to live a healthier lifestyle.

How did you achieve it?

I am motivated by other runners or walkers that wake up at 4am on a weekday to run or walk before working a long day like I do. Seeing dedicated people makes me strive to do more!

What do you do to stay healthy and fit?

I run/walk five days a week, I workout at Gym5 with my trainer Tommy three days a week, and I practice hot yoga twice a week. I’m a vegetarian, I have a gluten free diet and I drink plenty of water.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice I’ve ever received is to always use your ability to run to help yourself stay active and to help other people. I’ve ran so many races to benefit charities because God gave me the ability to move my legs and in return I feel I should use that ability to help others.

What are your favorite aspects of using Charity Miles?

My friend Shannon told me about Charity miles last year. Each time I use the app I try to chose a different charity to put in miles for. It’s so awesome!

Who do you exercise for, and why?

I exercise for myself and for my family. Running makes me happy, fresh air, feeling your heartbeat while jogging down an open road… I live for that! I have two nieces and a nephew and my oldest niece told me last week “I am so proud of you Nay Nay! I want to start running with you.” That made me feel so good to hear her say that.

Read more amazing Spotlight On stories here!

Every day we like to shine a spotlight on people doing amazing work- both with Charity Miles and without. Today we’re featuring Velvet and Mike Ambuski who lost a total of 282 pounds! They lost the weight through a combination of running and Weight Watchers. Velvet and Mike are new to the running world. They started with a 10k in Riverside at Mission Inn. Since then, they’ve completed their first half Marathon at Fontana in June 2013. Velvet and Mike have run a marathon a month ever since!
What is your greatest accomplishment as of late?
Completion of our third half marathon.
How did you achieve it?
Training for our first marathon in June 2013 and increasing our miles. We’re training for our first full marathon in October.
What motivates you to make the world a better place?
Seeing the challenges people face everyday (autism, cancer, etc). If we can make their day even a little better we’re all for it.
What do you do to stay healthy and fit?
First choice - RUN! We also joined Weight Watchers.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Perseverance is the key to success!
What’s your favorite aspect of using Charity Miles?
That we can support those in need by doing something that keeps us healthy!
Who do you exercise for, and why?
Velvet: I exercise for my health. Mike is no longer on diabetes medicine due to the weight loss and the activity (running!)
Read more amazing Spotlight On stories here! High-res

Every day we like to shine a spotlight on people doing amazing work- both with Charity Miles and without. Today we’re featuring Velvet and Mike Ambuski who lost a total of 282 pounds! They lost the weight through a combination of running and Weight Watchers. Velvet and Mike are new to the running world. They started with a 10k in Riverside at Mission Inn. Since then, they’ve completed their first half Marathon at Fontana in June 2013. Velvet and Mike have run a marathon a month ever since!

What is your greatest accomplishment as of late?

Completion of our third half marathon.

How did you achieve it?

Training for our first marathon in June 2013 and increasing our miles. We’re training for our first full marathon in October.

What motivates you to make the world a better place?

Seeing the challenges people face everyday (autism, cancer, etc). If we can make their day even a little better we’re all for it.

What do you do to stay healthy and fit?

First choice - RUN! We also joined Weight Watchers.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Perseverance is the key to success!

What’s your favorite aspect of using Charity Miles?

That we can support those in need by doing something that keeps us healthy!

Who do you exercise for, and why?

Velvet: I exercise for my health. Mike is no longer on diabetes medicine due to the weight loss and the activity (running!)

Read more amazing Spotlight On stories here!

Every day we like to shine a spotlight on people doing amazing work — both with Charity Miles and without. Today we’re featuring Lucas Piazza, a NY native and brand strategist who loves urban exploring and continuously learning.  Here’s what he had to say: What is your greatest accomplishment as of late?On a recent trip to Italy, I was reminded how truly fortunate I am to live in New York City. I would watch the eyes of numerous Italians light up as I introduced myself as a New Yorker. Some people only dream of traveling to this city and I have the privilege of calling these neighborhoods my home — and for making it here from a small, rural town, I am incredibly proud.   How did you achieve it?While I don’t believe in luck, I do think it was a combination of good fortune and preparedness that landed me in NYC. I committed my college years to becoming the best person I could become, worked hard to surround myself with thoughtful, intelligent people, and sought out experiences that would train me at my craft. All of these things prepared me for a career and life in NY, and now it is time for me to pay it forward and extend my hand of support to the next generation who have their sites set on this concrete jungle. What motivates you to make the world a better place?I understand how interconnected the world is and that every individual action made today has rippling effects tomorrow and beyond. It is this thought that motivates me to make the greatest possible impact so that future generations can enjoy life as much as I do. Additionally, I am motivated to positively impact the minds of those in the latter group; those that live in the present without understand the devastating effects of their actions. When everyone’s actions align with their values, the world will be united by peace.  What do you do to stay healthy and fit?Just as the finest sports car needs to be well maintained, waxed, and cared for, your body is a machine and needs similar attention. After graduating from college in 2012 (where I didn’t always treat my body with the care it deserved), I came to the stark realization that this is the only body I will have for my whole life so I must care for it everyday. I try to eat as many fresh fruits and vegetables as possible, steer clear of simple carbohydrates, and drink plenty of water. While I may not have time for a formal workout everyday, I make sure my mind and body are always active. Your whole body is a muscle after all, so if you don’t continuously flex it you’ll lose that strength and agility.  What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?There is always room for improvement.What’s your favorite aspect of using Charity Miles?I enjoy the freedom of choice Charity Miles empowers its users with, and I see the benefits as twofold. First, I often have a hard time deciding where to align my philanthropic goals, as so many efforts are worthy of time and energy. So, I enjoy the ability to walk for the Nature Conservancy one day and Pencils of Promise the next. Secondly, by offering such an open platform, Charity Miles attracts a broad audience and consequentially a diverse community. I love that Charity Miles isn’t for one type of person; fathers walk for their sick children, activists run to save the environment, and educators bike to perpetuate their craft. There are many problems in the world and Charity Miles recognizes that it will take a committed group of diverse individuals to find solutions. Who do you exercise for, and why?Whenever I’m on the final stretch of a run and I want to quit, I think of those less able-bodied individuals who cannot know the joy of your earth moving beneath your feet as your shoes pound on the pavement… and I can’t feel anything but gratitude. I exercise for all of those people. I also exercise and use Charity Miles so that my future kids’ lives can be as bright as mine has been.
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Every day we like to shine a spotlight on people doing amazing work — both with Charity Miles and without. Today we’re featuring Lucas Piazza, a NY native and brand strategist who loves urban exploring and continuously learning. 

Here’s what he had to say:
 
What is your greatest accomplishment as of late?
On a recent trip to Italy, I was reminded how truly fortunate I am to live in New York City. I would watch the eyes of numerous Italians light up as I introduced myself as a New Yorker. Some people only dream of traveling to this city and I have the privilege of calling these neighborhoods my home — and for making it here from a small, rural town, I am incredibly proud.   

How did you achieve it?
While I don’t believe in luck, I do think it was a combination of good fortune and preparedness that landed me in NYC. I committed my college years to becoming the best person I could become, worked hard to surround myself with thoughtful, intelligent people, and sought out experiences that would train me at my craft. All of these things prepared me for a career and life in NY, and now it is time for me to pay it forward and extend my hand of support to the next generation who have their sites set on this concrete jungle.

What motivates you to make the world a better place?
I understand how interconnected the world is and that every individual action made today has rippling effects tomorrow and beyond. It is this thought that motivates me to make the greatest possible impact so that future generations can enjoy life as much as I do. Additionally, I am motivated to positively impact the minds of those in the latter group; those that live in the present without understand the devastating effects of their actions. When everyone’s actions align with their values, the world will be united by peace.  

What do you do to stay healthy and fit?
Just as the finest sports car needs to be well maintained, waxed, and cared for, your body is a machine and needs similar attention. After graduating from college in 2012 (where I didn’t always treat my body with the care it deserved), I came to the stark realization that this is the only body I will have for my whole life so I must care for it everyday. I try to eat as many fresh fruits and vegetables as possible, steer clear of simple carbohydrates, and drink plenty of water. While I may not have time for a formal workout everyday, I make sure my mind and body are always active. Your whole body is a muscle after all, so if you don’t continuously flex it you’ll lose that strength and agility.  

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
There is always room for improvement.

What’s your favorite aspect of using Charity Miles?
I enjoy the freedom of choice Charity Miles empowers its users with, and I see the benefits as twofold. First, I often have a hard time deciding where to align my philanthropic goals, as so many efforts are worthy of time and energy. So, I enjoy the ability to walk for the Nature Conservancy one day and Pencils of Promise the next. Secondly, by offering such an open platform, Charity Miles attracts a broad audience and consequentially a diverse community. I love that Charity Miles isn’t for one type of person; fathers walk for their sick children, activists run to save the environment, and educators bike to perpetuate their craft. There are many problems in the world and Charity Miles recognizes that it will take a committed group of diverse individuals to find solutions.

Who do you exercise for, and why?
Whenever I’m on the final stretch of a run and I want to quit, I think of those less able-bodied individuals who cannot know the joy of your earth moving beneath your feet as your shoes pound on the pavement… and I can’t feel anything but gratitude. I exercise for all of those people.

I also exercise and use Charity Miles so that my future kids’ lives can be as bright as mine has been.

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