Born to Run–NOT. But kind of.

I hate exercise–just ask my doctor. Since I was 16 years old, he’s begged me to do any sort of cardio. I sit there on his paper liner and squint my eyes and jut my chin out in thoughtful, optimistic consternation as he bullet-points all the reasons why people would bother exercising and agreeably nod my head. And I still don’t get it. Why run when you can walk? Why walk when you can drive? Am I right?

Usually I hate moving my body at all for mostly any reason, unless there’s hooch involved in the before or after. And I’m not competitive–oh God no. But I started running last year. You could say I’ve channeled my inner Forrest Gump, maybe. But the best part is that I’ve found an amazing cause to run for–who could say no to respite, palliative, and end-of-life care for little kids and their families? London has it. Vancouver has it. How many cities in the US have this? Two.  And one of those places is in Phoenix. It’s called the Ryan House, named after our personal friend Ryan. His family built this amazing facility in downtown Phoenix (adjacent to St. Joe’s) from the ground up. Families of critically and terminally ill children from anywhere can come to Phoenix and reserve a stay and enjoy a well appointed room with world class medical and respite care for their child, for free–thanks to the generosity of donors.

If you’ve been blessed with such an extraordinary child, you know how time consuming and stressful it is to be at the beck and call of pulse oximeters, feeding pumps, body turning schedules, suctioning needs and more. If any of you families with medically fragile children visit Phoenix, you can contact the Ryan House in advance to take care of paperwork, and then enjoy your time here as a family, worry free. The nurses at Ryan House are the best of the best–and most of the doctors are the doctors we’ve chosen for our own kids, before the Ryan House existed. Everything about the Ryan House is world class, believe me–even the playground. What–you don’t think a playground can be world class? Go visit. You’ll see.  Additionally, they offer sensory and music therapy, and a pool (including a lift) for hydrotherapy.  Amazing much?

So this is why I am getting off my lazy, self-centered ass to run on 5 March 2011. That’s right–I’m competing. I’m running a 5K to raise money for Ryan House so that more families can take advantage of this stunning facility and amazing nursing staff. If you happen to be a runner, there’s also a 10K and a half-marathon–it all takes place in Scottsdale in March 2011. If you’re not a runner, then I’ll take your money. I challenge anyone who reads this to donate $4 to my cause. Sure, $5 would be nice–but that somehow sounds like a lot more than $4. If just a few dozen of you readers each pledged $4, that would equal….like, a whole lot more money than this liberal arts graduate can count.

My family qualifies to stay at the Ryan House because two of my three children have a terminal disease. So, I run for my kids, too. I also run for myself, to prove that I can do something amazing. The last amazing thing I did was to mail merge 264 address labels on an Excel spreadsheet. Before that? Well, I went to Costco with three kids, by myself, on a Sunday–omg stop clapping, it’s embarrassing. Before that, I hadn’t done anything else amazing since carrying twin babies to 36 weeks gestation. After being on bedrest for 11 weeks. Uphill. In the snow. Both ways. (the clapping, though! knock it off!)

Runners–learn more and join Team Double Trouble in Scottsdale on March 5.

Readers–send your $4 this way. And mention Team Double Trouble in the notes.

“Meh”, you say. I hear you, I hear you. You need something compelling for your $4? I present this. But if you shed a single tear, you owe my team $25. (not that I could put a dollar amount on a baby’s life. I just mean that certain stories compel people, and it’s all for the good of the Ryan House anyway.) This family–this mother–so encapsulates what it’s like to lose a child–and a compassionate environment such as The Ryan House can be a key emotional component to coping with such a tragedy. Donate for her. Her. I’ve never met Faith. But I run for her. One day I hope to meet her. What courage.

And then go kiss your kids. Because nothing else matters. I don’t care whether you throw your bills at me or not–just go kiss your kids. If you don’t have kids, kiss your dog. And if you don’t have kids or a dog, well, kiss a grapefruit (I don’t know, what do you kiss in this situation? My grits? My ass?)

See ya Saturday–xo.


Cassandra can be found on Twitter @aclevergirl.  Learn more about her family’s unique challenges and why they have hope for a cure for muscular dystrophy at Byrds for a Cure.


  1. Azlb says:

    I am running the 10k did the 5k last year. Ryan house is a great cause!!!! See ya there

  2. Cassandra says:

    The run went great. My knee was bothering me all week, but I fought it the whole way. My first 5K ended with a 34.something time–I’ll take it. Thrilled, actually. I FINISHED!

  3. […] two minute video about Sophie, and then click this link to give $5 to The Ryan House—but even if I’ve already sold you on The Ryan House in the past and you’re just looking to unload your last few bucks, read her story anyway. I tend to hate sad […]