Miracle Challenge 2015

Motivation is what gets you started.  Habit is what keeps you going.
Jim Ryan

September 1 – September 27 marks the days of a challenge whose causes are near and dear to my heart.  Miracle Challenge is a fundraising campaign for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals that emphasizes getting up and getting fit.  After selecting one of 5 different athletic “tracks”, you embark on a 27 day fitness challenge.  You receive e-mails every day with motivating quotes, motivating stories about children in the hospital, and a challenge from your fitness trainer.

For me, this challenge really puts things into perspective.  We all have days when we want to be lazy.  I’m guilty of having days I want to skip my workout and eat cookies instead.  The idea of this challenge is to be active for children who cannot run and play themselves.  This challenge asks you to run for kids who are stuck in hospital rooms, whose inability to get active is not laziness but circumstance.

Imagine being a child living in a hospital for weeks on end.  You cannot go on a bike ride in the sunshine with your sibling.  Maybe you can go on a stroll to the hospital’s decorative fish tank if you’re feeling well, but if it’s a bad day, you might not get to leave bed at all.  Instead of the rough and tumble days we imagine for most children, your days are spent with quiet artistic expressions and the comfort of a favorite movie.  Your parents have created this new construct of childhood and are doing the best they can to provide you with fulfilling experiences each day, but you know you are missing out on the fun your classmates get to have.

Being a child in a hospital is hard, but the kids you meet there are inspiring.  They face challenge after challenge with courage, but they need our help.  Please support my participation in Miracle Challenge today by going to
http://events.dancemarathon.com/participant/tracyelizabethmcgee
and donating $1.  Every dollar goes directly to CMN and impacts a child’s life.  My goal is to raise $100 during Miracle Challenge because that is the cost associated with a pair of hanging basketball hoops.  These hoops would provide children in the hospital with their own means of staying active, and I want to help provide kids with a normal athletic activity that makes some of their time in the hospital seem like just a day as a kid.

James MasonA special shout out to my friend, James Mason, who is going in for surgery this morning.  He is on my mind and in my prayers a little extra today.  I know his mom and I would appreciate you lifting him up in your own prayers.

Thank you for reading this message.  If you want to get involved in the Miracle Challenge, it’s not too late!  Go to www.miraclechallenge.org and register today.  FTK All Ways, Always.

FTK Always, All Ways

“Even miracles take a little time.”
The Fairy Godmother

I believe in making commitments to things I feel passionately about.  That way, losing sleep and pouring out energy is worth it.  When I attended my first dance marathon my freshmen year (2013) I walked away knowing that Children’s Miracle Network was a cause I wanted to take a stand for.  I applied and was accepted to a position on Clemson Miracle’s executive board, and since then, I’ve given countless hours to the kids at Greenville Children’s Hospital.

On March 7, 2015, we raised a little over $42,000 for CMN.  After the incredible amount of time and commitment put forth by our executive board, it was overwhelming for us to see such huge success.  This was the most Clemson University has ever raised for CMN, and of that money, over $10,000 was raised during the event itself through in house fundraising activities.

I love everything about Clemson Miracle, but one of the best things is the people on the executive board.  Each of us is passionate about the children we work to help, and each of us is willing to push for what we believe in.  The committed people I’ve worked with over the past year to organize this event have never tired, refusing to give up on the kids at Greenville Children’s Hospital.  This executive board not only continues to inspire me, but we have inspired so many others.  We’ve lit a fire in the hearts of Clemson students for the kids, and we will fan those flames until it consumes the entire Clemson community.  I know for a fact that the executive board of Clemson Miracle will never settle, we will always push for more, and I thank everyone I’ve worked with over the past year.

So why do we do it?  Where does the passion come from?  We each have our own personal reasons, but I think this cause is universal.  Every child who is admitted into a Children’s Miracle Network hospital has the innocence of youth.  They should be worried about being found in hide-and-seek, not worried about the next needle or procedure.  Every child deserves a childhood, and growing up in a hospital is not the life any parents wants for their kid.  Life doesn’t work like that, though.  Life isn’t fair.  Kids will spend hours on end undergoing treatment, and the outcome isn’t always what we think it should be.  I believe God has a plan and a reason for everything, even if we don’t always understand, but I also believe we should do everything we can to make the lives of those children as innocent, happy, and fun as possible.

Although there were many emotional moments for me during the 10 hours dance marathon, one of the most upsetting occurred toward the beginning.  Every participant is given a hospital bracelet with a miracle child’s name on it to wear during the course of the day.  At the end of the day, there is a circle of hope ceremony in which all the dancers stand in a circle, while a miracle child walks around and cuts off each bracelet.  It shows support of the kids, but it is also a prayer that every child will one day get to remove their bracelet.  Mia, one of our miracle children, was checking in.  She reached for a bracelet, and I asked her if she needed help putting it on (many of the college kids had; the snap can be confusing).  She looked up at me, smiled, and said “No offense, but I’m probably better at this than you are.”  She proceeded to snap on the bracelet with her name, cut the annoying tail off, and leave the table, and for the first of 50 times that day I was reminded of why I gave up my Saturday and plenty of other hours throughout the year for CMN.

Mia
(
Mia also insisted on taking a selfie.)

I just want to say thank you.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone who put their money where the miracles are and gave to Clemson Miracle.  Your generosity to this incredible cause means the world to me and to these children.  Thank you to the best executive board around.  Each of you inspires me daily, and it was our passion that made this event a success.  Thank you to the miracle families who gave up a Saturday to share their stories.  I cannot think of anything more moving than hearing what you have been through and am so glad that your strong, brave kids are giving their time to help other hospitalized children.  I am blessed by the opportunity to serve this organization, and I promise that I will never settle.  Next year, Clemson Miracle will continue to grow, and we will astonish even ourselves with what we can do.  Through love, nothing is impossible.

For The Kids
Always, All Ways

James Mason

PS. My fundraising for CMN has not ended.  If you are willing and able, please consider making a donation to help me on my journey to Miss South Carolina this summer!  As always, it’s FTK!

http://www.missamericaforkids.org/Donate/tracyelizabethmcgee

Julia