GIVE KIDS THE WORLD
Give Kids The World is a non-profit organization that exists only to fulfill the wishes of all children with life-threatening illnesses and their families from around the world to experience a memorable, joyful, cost-free visit to the Central Florida attractions, and to enjoy the magic of Give Kids The World Village for as long as there is a need.
100,000 children have had their dream come true at Give Kids The World. No child in need has ever been turned away – and no child ever will. Give Kids the World is a place where families find joy, laughter, serenity, and a lifetime of memories. Through the tireless support of our volunteers, employees and generous partners, we dedicate each and every day to these special families.” SOURCE
Every Sunday for 3 years I was a 7 foot bunny rabbit called Mayor Clayton. Mayor Clayton is the mayor of the village and the kids grow to love him over their weeklong stay. He is at every nightly party. He is in the ice cream parlor (which BTW serves ice cream from sun up to sun down for the kids). He is at the free onsite cafeteria. And for one night you can get Mayor Clayton to tuck you into bed (more like wind you up and hand you back to your parents).
Every Sunday night I danced and played with the kids at the Candyland party. I (sorry Mayor) would then stop at 5 different villages each night and tuck the kids into bed. During my stay at GKTW I saw and heard many inspiring stories about people overcoming all the odds and sometimes I heard some really sad stories. Many times I cried in the bunny suit while hugging the kids. For one week out of the year Give Kids the World gave these kids everything. And for one day a week I help to make miracles and dreams come true.
Today I saw the above video of Team Hoyt participating in the Ironman and it reminded me of my stay at GKTW. This is truly an inspiring story about a boy (Rick Hoyt) who is a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy.
“In the spring of 1977, Rick told his father that he wanted to participate in a 5-mile benefit run for a Lacrosse player who had been paralyzed in an accident. Far from being a long-distance runner, Dick agreed to push Rick in his wheelchair and they finished all 5 miles, coming in next to last. That night, Rick told his father, "Dad, when I'm running, it feels like I'm not handicapped."
This realization was just the beginning of what would become over 1,000 races completed, including marathons [including the BOSTON MARATHON], duathlons and triathlons (6 of them being IRONMAN competitions). Also adding to their list of achievements, Dick and Rick biked and ran across the U.S. in 1992, completing a full 3,735 miles in 45 days.
In a triathlon, Dick will pull Rick in a boat with a bungee cord attached to a vest around his waist and to the front of the boat for the swimming stage. For the biking stage, Rick will ride a special two-seater bicycle, and then Dick will push Rick in his custom made running chair (for the running stage).“ SOURCE
I hope these stories inspire you to not only train harder but maybe spend a few hours a year volunteering your services to help out others in need.