Team IOH participated in the Disney Marathon Weekend last weekend in Orlando, FL. Runners participated in the marathon, half-marathon, Goofy’s challenge and the 5K. Today, Kasandra Spears will tell us of her family’s experience in participating in the Family Fiesta 5K – which took place Friday morning. The Spears’ participated in the 2010 NYC Legacy Retreat, and as you will read, wanted the opportunity to ‘give back’ to IOH.
What a wonderful experience for our family. We completed the Disney 5K Family Fiesta. Andy and Ashley also finished the Mickey Mile the same day, in about 10 minutes, too. Our experience was memorable and we had the support of IOH and our family. My mom, Sandra, and cousin, Sonya, got up early to join us at the start line at EPCOT about 5:30 am and cheered us through the finish line.
We first encountered Inheritance of Hope as one of the Families on the NYC 2010 Legacy Retreat. We learned so much about how to recognize the need for a legacy and how to ensure one of joy and faith was created. Since our retreat we have continued to grow as a family. We decided that joining Team IOH at Disney was our chance to try and give back to IOH. Thanks to Lisa Duscio for working with us to figure out all of the logistics.
For many reasons marathon and half marathons are out of our reach. We agreed that as a family we could complete a 5K. The morning of our race the Spears donned our IOH shirts and hats and proudly walked the 3.1 miles through Epcot. It was early and cool. The route took us behind the scenes around World Showcase and under Spaceship Earth. The sun came up just as we entered the park. Ashley and Andy ran together laughing and talking all the way. Steven and I teamed up and talked about our trip to New York and why we were walking in this 5K. Steven had some difficulty with his foot, but toughed it out until the finish line. He and I talked about how our friends and family were supporting us and IOH financially and what that meant for other families facing illness together. Steven talked about how much fun the Legacy trip to NYC was for him. He is eight-years-old now still talking about a trip we took when he was six. That is how impactful our legacy trip was for him. My goal for the 5K was to not finish last. Steven and I met that goal. Ashley and Andy finished way ahead of us. Mom and Sonya cheered us through the finish line. What a great feeling to be well enough to support the IOH family.
The 5K was not the end of our day. Ashley participated in the Mickey Mile. She and Andy completed the race in about 10 minutes. Ashley talked all afternoon about her experience in New York and her desire to be a volunteer one day like Stephanie. She is eleven (almost twelve) now and is sure to reach her goal.
The next day we met up with Lisa and the marathoners and their families. It was great to see Lisa again and meet the folks who are on Team IOH. What a great time the pasta dinner was. All of us had a great time visiting and encouraging those who were racing early the next day.
It is hard to watch your kids grow up too fast. In many ways that is what happens when you are fighting to stay alive. Many questions about life and death are asked and answered. However, one of the benefits is seeing your kids depend on one another and express openly (at least when their friends aren’t around) that they love each other. The value of family and friends as a treasured part of your life is also more readily recognized. I believe that IOH has helped Andy and me to recognize and enhance the skills we have as parents. Our legacy retreat also taught us some new skills that have come in handy as our children have gotten older. Thank you IOH for all you do for families like ours.
… Thank you Kasandra, Andy, Ashley and Steven! You guys are awesome!!