A Night to Remember

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Point to Ponder:
Do you have a difficult time accepting the unknowns of your life?
by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

While I am certainly not trying to compare my dancing abilities to Betty Cunningham (our iGnite dance leader extraordinaire), I love a dance party!…especially with girlfriends, which is exactly what took place this weekend during Run to the Sun – the overnight relay race from Enchanted Rock to Camp Mabry benefiting Beyond Batten Disease FoundationExhilarating, very hard, hysterical, boundless joy, exhaustingand absolute fun are some of the words that describe Team iGnite’s experience.  It’s actually very difficult to articulate the unforgettable event so I’m not sure I’ll do it much justice in writing. Maybe saying that staying awake for twenty-nine hours, still having a smile on my face and in my heart, and wishing I could do it again next weekend says enough?

In addition to witnessing the awe-inspiring power of community as well as countless displays of extraordinary courage and strength, there were two specific moments that made a sizeable impact and still have me thinking.

The first was during my relay leg, around 1:30 a.m on Hamilton Pool Road.  It was of course dark so I wore reflective gear, blinky lights and a head light.  Even though I knew my run was difficult and hilly,  my head light only allowed me to see about fifteen steps in front and therefore I couldn’t anticipate what was coming up until it was upon me. Also, because I desperately wanted to mentally prepare for what lie ahead and feel like I had some control, I often times tried manipulating my head light to see if I could get greater range, but it was always a waste of effort. Therefore, I had to alter my mindset, accept the unknown while not giving up, and accept taking it one step at a time.  It was blind faith until every 1.5 miles when I heard the sounds of Team iGnite–sirens, cheering and the non-stop dance party.  Hearing and seeing my friends was not only comforting and energizing, but their support enabled me to keep going and feel confident that I could do this!

In hindsight, this was analogous to life.  There are so many times during our life journey when we are not exactly sure what lie on the road ahead, and it’s during these times that we don’t need to focus on the end or even know the exact route.  Rather, the opportunity is to accept and trust our challenge or unsure path, don’t worry about crossing a bridge until we need to and take it one step at a time – one minute, one day and one week at time – knowing that when we don’t have the answers, strength or confidence to take that next step, the answers will come and our community of friends and family will lift us up and pull us through. It’s pretty awesome!

The next significant impact came after we finished the relay at Camp Mabry.  BBDF held a kids 2K around the beautiful and new track.  Durant, my four-year-old son, wanted to run and despite being physically juiced, I could not turn down my little’s guy’s desire.  He was the youngest and we were at the back of the pack of kids and having fun running when I looked to my left and saw Christiane Benson running WAY ahead of us.   (Christiane is the precious 12 year old who was diagnosed with Batten Disease when she was five years old and is the inspiration of the Beyond Batten Disease Foundation.)  What you may or may not know is that Christiane is blind.  She can see blurry objects and will one day be completely blind.  You would think this would slow her down, but not even close.  Christiane wasn’t just running- she was sprinting!  Had I not known who she was, I would have NEVER thought she was blind or had a terminal illness.  She did have a friend nearby, but this full of life and fearless child was beyond inspirational and once again proved to me that not only is anything possible, but also no disability or illness can define or determine our limits.  In fact, there are no limits to what each of us are capable of doing. Not just physically, but in life in general.  Nothing can or should get in our way of living a full and fearless life!  If Christiane Benson can do it, so can we!

Finally, below are beautiful quotes and personal testimonials from Team iGnite and our Run to the Sun experience. We cannot thank you enough for your donations, support, thoughts and prayers.  Our team goal was to raise $6,500 and so far we’ve raised $7,335 and hope to continue to raise more throughout the remainder of the week.  This is incredible!  We felt lifted up by your support and prayers, and for those we are so grateful!

Team iGnite/Run to the Sun Testimonials

Babe Keahey: I loved the encouragement and joy everyone had when cheering on the runners throughout the night!  Whenever it started getting difficult- there was always a light at the end knowing that your teammates were welcoming you to finish.

Catherine SandersonWhat struck me most was the impact that having a team of friends wholeheartedly supporting me and reminding me they believed in me and that I could do it in moments where I was struggling to believe I could go on had on my ability to push through a hard run.  Such a perfect illustration of being able to go further and be stronger when we allow others to fully support and sometimes carry us through hard times.  A close second favorite memory is our glow stick rave dance parties in the middle of country roads in the pitch black! 🙂

Courtney Seal: Run to the Sun was an incredible challenge and event where each leg of the race was full of both unforeseen challenges and rewards both physically and emotionally. Amazing experience and amazing to share it together.

Jenni Thurow: The Run to the Sun made me realize that the words and support of others are SO powerful. The words of others can help us accomplish things either we never would try or we never thought would be possible.  Every time I wanted to give up I would see the iGnite team in a distance and I would be fully recharged.  Anytime I was ready to give up or got scared being by myself in the middle of the night I would see the blinking lights of the Tahoe in the distance and know I was not alone.  What an amazing run!

Jessie D’Andrea: Run to the Sun was an amazing experience that I will never forget.  From running in the darkness of the night, but knowing I wasn’t alone, to lifting these children who are battling Batten Disease up in support and prayer, I treasure the memories.  Also, the kind of team support Team iGnite showed not only to our own team but to the other teams’ runners will forever be in my heart.  

Kathleen ParkerA truly unforgettable experience.  Words can’t describe the outpouring of love and support I felt.  Truly life changing for all of us.

Laura Gentner: The spirit and friendship of the group was uplifting and genuine.  It was amazing how committed this team was to rallying around each woman during the race – cheering and pumping them up the entire time.  I’m so glad for the experience and to know the iGnite women even better.

Maggie McCauley: Unbelievably rewarding. The love, encouragement, spirit, and fun shared by our team and beyond taught me so much in so little time.  I now truly understand what teamwork and camaraderie mean.  Knowing that you are going to see someone who cares and believes in you throughout a tough run makes the difference.  Run to the Sun has inspired me to accept every challenge knowing that I have a team who will always support me.

Molly DanielsI loved every minute of the experience because it was non-stop support — yelling, cheering, dancing, laughing, singing — for every person running, whether or not they were on Team iGnite.  What an inspiring event that I will always remember!

Paige Clark: I loved the magic of running through the peaceful dark stillness of the Texas Hill Country at night, which was made even more special by the constant enthusiasm, joy and loving support of Team iGnite. What FUN we had!!

Action Item:

Whenever in doubt of your capabilities, grab a friend and let them lift you up!

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