Why I'm Running Chicago for Charity

The Chicago Marathon has been on my “to run” list for a few years now. Chicago is my hometown so I knew if I ever did another full marathon, Chicago would be it. So when they announced the race would be a lottery this year, I was a little bummed, but I thought running for charity would be a good way to bypass the lottery while in turn giving me Heaven points.

I researched charities and nothing really clicked. I was really discouraged because during my research, I realized I’d rather not run Chicago at all if it meant raising money for a charity I didn’t care about. (I know. I’m just as surprised as you are that my heart is not cold and black.) Just when I was ready to forget the whole charity thing and take my chances with the lottery, I found the American Heart Association (AHA).

I just knew AHA was it. I have to raise more money as a part of AHA than other official Chicago Marathon charities, which is a little scary for me since I’ve never done this before, but AHA is the only one that felt right for a few reasons. Not only do I try to make physical activity a part of my everyday life, but I lost my dad to a heart attack five years ago.

His senior year and the hunky days, apparently.

I lost him two weeks after his birthday.

One month before we were going to spend our first Thanksgiving together.

And four months before he was going to walk me down the aisle.

So that sealed it. I’m running with the American Heart Association in memory of my dad.

As long as I knew him, he always had a weight problem, which probably has something to do with my workout and food obsession. My dad loved food too. I think butter was his favorite food group. Whenever we talked on the phone, I’d ask him if he was getting on his stationary bike and eating well (and he’d ask me when I was going to finish college, heh). If he told me he wasn’t being good about it, I’d always tell him to get on the bike for me so he could stay around a few more years.

He was one of the most positive, good-spirited people I’ve ever known.  My ridiculous sense of humor came from him. He made friends easier than I’ve ever seen. When we went out to a restaurant, I’d have to wait 10 minutes to order food while he asked the waitress 20 questions about her life because he was genuinely interested in other people. He retired to Florida from Illinois three years before he died and made enough friends in that time to pack an entire church full of people at his funeral. It was ridiculous. My brother and I even said that we’d be happy to have a fourth of that amount of people at our funerals.

Everyone loved him. Especially me.

Anyway, that’s just a little about my dad. I’m going “home” and running this race for him. Or someone like him. If the money I raise can help just one other person’s dad stick around a little longer than mine did, then it’s all worth it.

So, if you have the means and are interested in donating a few dollars, you can donate on my personal page. I will be so grateful.


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25 responses to “Why I'm Running Chicago for Charity

  1. I ran my first marathon (errr, and only) for my dad for charity, and it definitely helps get you through the last miles. Nice choice!

  2. I am a huge sucker for daddy-daughter stories. Thanks for sharing yours. Looking forward to living the marathon again vicariously through you!

  3. Wow – this reminds me of my story about losing my dad young as well. I’m sorry to hear you lost him, but I think it’s wonderful you’re running Chicago – and raising funds for a good charity – in memory of him. Please keep the fund-raising reminders coming — I want to donate, but now’s not a good time (we have a surprise leaky roof that’s requiring a whole re-roof not a repair…whomp whomp), so please keep badgering me. I will donate, I promise.

    • Paula

      I will give reminders here and there! Funny because I told Michelle I was going to donate to her charity but I need to wait till April to do it. So I understand for sure!

  4. Awe, your story is so sweet…sounds like he was a wonderful man. And, definitely agree with you that one should believe in the charity they are raising money for. *You know I was on it!*

  5. Jenny

    Sounds like the perfect charity to run for! 🙂 ❤ ❤

  6. Melissa

    Someone in heaven doesn't think your heart is cold and black!

  7. Aww, what a great thing to do! I never thought your heart was cold or black in the first place though. 😉

  8. I just tried to donate using PayPal, but when I clicked ‘continue,’ it just took me to a blank screen that never loaded (womp, womb). If it didn’t actually go through, I will definitely try again later. What a great cause and person to run for!

    • Paula

      Aww, that’s a bummer. I’m not sure what happened. A friend of mine couldn’t get the page to work in Firefox but it was fine in IE. Maybe it’s just being finicky. Thank you for trying though!

  9. Aww Paula, this is a beautiful post. And what a great cause to run for. You know, I’ve always wanted to go to Chicago. Maybe I will come and cheer your sweet ass on. I bet I could rope Evan into coming if Fabian is there 😉

    PS – you do have a ridiculous sense of humour.
    PPS – your dad is a super hunk in that first picture.
    PPPS – I be donating.

  10. Ali

    Dude the new blog look! I AM LOVING! Genesis is a great framework! I wish I’d known you were shopping for it b/c I have the basic framework and get discounts on the themes!

    Anywho! This is a really sweet post and I am on my way to support your cause now. My Dad is my best friend and everything to me… he’s also overweight, and just went to the hospital where they said ‘hey your heart is strong but you should lose some weight.’ I’m so scared to lose him, and even though I know it will happen one day I hate to think it could be too soon and he could do something to prevent it.

    So support this. Run for your Dad. Kick ass in Chicago. Raise money and help other Dads! You can doooo eeeet!!!!

    • Paula

      Thank you! It’s still a work in progress but I’m liking it so far.

      And thank you soooo much for your donation. That was seriously, MORE than generous. You are amazing. ❤ ❤

  11. Oh man. I’m sending you a big hug! The death of a parent is the worst, especially so young. Raising money for the AHA is a great way to honor him!

    I know what you mean about needing to find the right charity. I raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and I can’t imagine putting all the work and effort required to constantly berate people about donating if it wasn’t something I was personally connected to. Good luck reaching your goal!

  12. Thanks for sharing your story. I don’t think your heart is cold and black either. 🙂

    I will donate. Just keep reminding me. There are a few other people that are running that marathon for charity and I want to donate as well.

    Make sure to let me know when you are here. Would LOVE to meet up with you.

  13. David A

    Great cause, Paula!

    My dad died of a heart attack when I was 9. Unfortunately back then there weren’t the medical advancements we have now that could have saved him. So I’m happy to donate to your charity to keep the advancements coming and save other dads!

    I’m sure you’ll have a great time in Chicago (my home town too) and a great run.

    P.S. Miss seeing you here around the old office! 😦

    • Paula

      Thank you so much for the donation! Warms my heart. I really appreciate it.

      I miss being around the office too. I didn’t even get to see everyone at the Christmas party since it was in the office.

  14. Love that you are doing this for your Dad! I just donated 🙂

  15. Best of luck in your training my friend. I one day too hope to run in my Dad and Mother’s honor. Great cause! I will be cheering you on all the way 🙂

    • Paula

      Thank you for the donation, friend. I really appreciate it. I got some warm fuzzies when I saw your name come through on the donation email. ❤ ❤

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