Posts Tagged ‘Fundraising’

Kel tree

Resting up for next year

When I began my 5K for Awareness quest in January, I thought finding the time to walk would be the hard part. It wasn’t. Taking the time to write about it was. Let me catch you up on how it went in October, November, and December.

October 5K: Deep Purple

The morning of October 28, I walked 3.2 miles for those impacted by pancreatic cancer. That afternoon, I emceed the 2018 Light the Capitol Purple for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness ceremony at the State Capitol.

It’s tough to speak at a cancer event. To find the right balance between solemnity and solace, hope and humor. The keynote speaker, Dr. Gary Timmerman, nailed it. Listening to him talk was like experiencing all the emotions tied to cancer in 15 minutes. Anger, despair, fear, sadness, humor, hope. And most of all, humanity. Yes, he stated some statistics and touted some treatments but he also shook his fist in frustration, chuckled at the absurdities of life with cancer, and was moved to tears at the loss it causes. He made a very impersonal disease, personal.

It was a great speech. You can hear it yourself on the ceremony video, courtesy of Dakota Radio Group. Dr. Timmerman’s address begins at 37:00.

November 5K: Bluer Than Blue

The first Christmas after my mom died, I set a kitchen towel on fire while trying to cook Christmas dinner. It was a fitting finale for what had been two months of trying to find the “happy” in “holidays” and never quite getting it.

November’s 5k was a brisk afternoon trek in support of people battling the blues.

The “holiday blues” hit during the period from Thanksgiving to New Years. Surveys indicate more people feel sad, anxious, lonely, and depressed those few months than at any other time during the year. What causes it? Stress, fatigue, unrealistic expectations, financial problems, the inability to be with friends and family.

The holidays will go on even if you don’t cook the perfect meal or hand make your own Christmas cards or have enough money to buy the perfect gift. Maybe the trick to surviving them is to figure out what they really mean to you and focus on those few things that are most important.

December 5K: The End of the Road

It was about this time last year that I set myself a goal to walk a 5K every month in 2018 to raise awareness about organizations and events that were doing good in our world. I did it, every month.

This year I’ve told you about programs that provide travel and lodging funds for cancer patients; give people the knowledge they need to get a high school diploma or a better job; combat child abuse; build stronger families and better parents; support wildland firefighters and those impacted by wildfires; encourage people to be transplant donors; maintain memorials to our country’s veterans; avoid being the victim of a scam; and benefit regular people facing illness and tragedy.

The experience has made me pay more attention to the good and bad things going on around me, and the importance of doing something about them. You don’t have to go far to make a difference. You just have to decide to go and then do it.

I’m thinking 2019 might be the year for 10K’s. Or maybe a half marathon. I’m interested to see where the path leads.

Some of the best times in my memory involve fire.

Relaxing with Jay beside the fire pit on our patio. Laughing with friends around a campfire. Blowing out candles on a birthday cake. The “warmth” of fire – inviting, glowing, happy.

Not the “heat” of fire – destructive, ravenous, terrifying.

I wonder which of the two a wildland firefighter thinks of when they see a flame.

I’m on month #3 of my 12 months of 5K’s to raise awareness about organizations you may not be aware of that are doing good in our world. For March, I want to tell you about a group that helps protect the people who work to protect us when the world literally goes to hell:

Fighting a wildfire seems impossible, doesn’t it? Trying to contain a roaring blaze in an area with few if any boundaries where everything is combustible. But they do it, time and time again. In a volatile world, the people holding fast the front line can make all the difference.

Want to thank them and their families? Visit the Wildland Firefighter Foundation at The organization not only offers services on a national level, they also support local events like the Run for Ruhl fundraiser coming up in May in Rapid City, SD in memory of fallen wildland firefighter Dave Ruhl.

So far my 5K quest has highlighted a program that provides travel and lodging funds for cancer patients, a center that offers education and career resources for those just starting out or starting over, and a foundation that reminds us that even the invincible can use our help. Nine months to go – who will I hit the pavement for next? I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Some years ago I was among a small group of people interviewing a woman for a job. When we asked about her computer skills, she hesitated. Then she explained that she’d been out of the workforce for a while but had been proficient in Lotus and WordPerfect at her previous job.

The interviewer across from me rolled their eyes and snorted.

That ticked me off.

We didn’t know the circumstances that had kept that woman from working. Or what had thrust her back into the job market again. But I knew it took guts for her to tell us that.

Ours is a world in which we need to keep up. Not just to get ahead but even to be where we’re at. Knowing where to get the skills you need is crucial. In my community, a good place to start is the focus of my February 5K:

The circumstances that bring people to the Right Turn vary. Maybe you’re recently divorced or widowed and need a job to support yourself and your family. Could be you’re a high school student who had trouble fitting in at a conventional school but still want a diploma. Perhaps you were raised in a home where English wasn’t spoken and having it as a second language will help you to communicate.

Nobody there will judge you. But they will empower you. Find out more at

Who will I be hitting the streets for next month as my Year of 5K’s continues? I’m still undecided – what do YOU think? Drop me a comment with your suggestions.

If you ever see me running, I’m either escaping from danger or trying to get somewhere that’s closing in 5 minutes.

I’m a walker. Which is the same as a runner except it takes me longer to get there.

We all walk a certain distance every day to get from one place to another to do whatever it is we need to do. I also walk for exercise, physical and mental, mostly alone or with the dogs, but sometimes in groups to benefit causes.

Our community plays host in the spring and summer to a variety of runs and walks to benefit local organizations and events. If it’s a cause I support, I sign up, pay my fee and walk. The longest benefit walk I’ve ever done was the Breast Cancer 3-Day in St. Paul, MN, which was 60 miles walked over the course of 3 days. It’s one of the things I’m most proud of doing in my life.

Planning a walk/run takes time, money and good promotion. While many organizations do it successfully, there are other groups who could benefit from the exposure but may not have the resources. In 2018, I’ll tell you about 12 of them.

Each month this year I’m doing my own 5K to highlight one program or organization that’s doing good in our world. It’ll just be me (and whoever wants to join me) walking 3.2 miles to raise awareness. No entry fee, no tee shirts, no time limit. My first walk was this morning in 8-degree South Dakota weather with barely any wind or ice (which you’ll appreciate if you live in snow country). This is who I was walking for:

Maybe we don’t all have the opportunity to do good things on a grand scale affecting millions of people but as long as you’re upright and breathing, you have the ability to do SOMETHING. Even if that something is telling a couple of people about something good that’s going on in your corner of the world. They could tell a couple friends who tell a couple friends and so on and so on and so on. It worked for selling shampoo – why couldn’t it work for raising awareness?

If you missed it in the video, the program is the Pennies for Robert Bed and Breakfast Program through Countryside Hospice in Pierre, SD.

One month done, 11 to go. If you have an organization or event you’d like me to highlight in the coming months, drop me a comment and some information. I’m always up for a GOOD, long walk.