Saturday, March 15, 2014

Pay it 40-ward in Action: Mile 27

I am sitting in a King Size bed at The Hampton Inn in Tilton, NH. I am NOT at the start of my 40 mile run. I can't believe the way this has all gone down, but looking around the room at the fun and mildly inappropriate behavior I will be having/displaying in the next 36 hours, I'm pretty okay with it.

In case you are confused, my sisters (Heidi & Heather), my niece (Kate) and my mom (Gungah) arrived last night to celebrate with me and so far they have not disappointed! They not only come bearing wine and chocolate, they come bearing hilarious gifts, games and PRIZES! A taste of our evening below:

front of shirt: Onward & Fortyward (the O is the genetic symbol for female)
back of shirt is a list of my sister's and mom's picks for heros: Katherine Switzer, Nancy Kerrigan, Anne Sullivan, Mary Martin, Rosie the Riveter, Heather & Heidi

They had LOOONNGGG drive and they finally ate dinner at The Pine Cone at 8:30 or 9PM. Such good sports.

Yes. There are capes. Mine's the biggest.

My mama. (Soon, my NURSE!)

But what really got me motivated to pull out the laptop this morning was this amazing email I received from Saralyn, my Mile 27 teammate. She tells it all here, from how we know each other to why her idea is another example of the Universe being so very spectacular. Enjoy her journey to the PERFECT Pay it 40-ward.

Happy early birthday Phoebe!

The Pay-It-40-ward challenge has been really enlightening. I had a lot of ideas for how I wanted to pay forward the $5. Some of the ideas were:  1) offering a free Pilates class to the women of the Safehouse Alliance for domestic abuse… but I couldn’t figure out how use the money in this scenario, 2) getting $5 in change and filling all the parking meters I could find… but it seemed to trivial and not personal enough, 3) planning a full day of fitness, health and wellness coaching for community members…. Until I realized this would be like taking on another full time job. So, what have I learned? Giving of yourself doesn’t have to cost ANYTHING but time, I like to “go big or go home” (maybe to a fault), and the best part of doing good for others is the sense of community that it builds. 

But I digress… (editor's note: Saralyn, digressing is what we do best. Don't apologize for it!)

Finally, this week I approached the task in a different way. I started thinking about what you mean to me to find inspiration for how I would use the money in your honor. First, I thought about the days you used to stay with me in high school when my mom went away on business. You and Scott were students at IC and had just started dating, and our days together were full of Barenaked Ladies music, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, and the movie Labyrinth. All very important milestones in my life, but not so easy to translate into charity (“…hmmm, maybe I could sponsor a Labyrinth viewing party for kids and feed them Kraft mac and cheese and ice cream…”). Then I thought back to one of my earliest memories of time spent with you, and remembered your stint as Peter Pan in the Candor Community Chorus. I was cast as Jane (Wendy’s daughter who only makes an appearance at the very end), and it was my first non-school production. It is fair to say that was the role that made me want to spend more time on stage. I remember looking up to you, as the lead in a musical bearing your character’s name, and thought “I can’t wait until I have my chance to be the lead.”
So, I did a google search for Peter Pan Charity. I thought there must be something: after all, it’s a story about children and staying forever young (something you are doing quite well). I stumbled upon the Peter Pan Children’s Fund ( 

When I visited their site, I discovered the Peter Pan Birthday Club: to become part of the club, child philanthropists make a commitment to forego gifts for one birthday, and ask party guests to bring a donation instead. The child philanthropist chooses a local hospital or organization for the donations, and presents the gifts after the party. If you register your party with the Peter Pan Birthday Club, the Peter Pan Children’s Fund will send a $100 donation to your chosen hospital or organization.
Well, wouldn’t you know it, we just so happen to be planning a first birthday party for our daughter? And my husband and I just so happened to have a conversation to the effect of “We don’t really need people to give her too much – at one year old, the paper and the boxes and the smiles are enough for her.” And can you believe that I just joined the planning committee at my new work, for a fundraiser they do every year to benefit Brent’s Place ( 

Brent’s Place is a safe, clean, cost-free home for children receiving cancer treatment at Children’s Hospital in Denver. And, we just so happen to have a very dear friend named Brent that we lost too early, 13 years ago. It all comes full circle, doesn’t it?

So, I have registered Ivy’s first birthday party with the Peter Pan Birthday Club, and with the $5 you sent me, I am going to make a donation box. I have asked guests to bring a donation in lieu of a gift to her birthday party on April 5, and we will give that donation box to Brent’s Place after the party. All of this seems so serendipitous - helping children has never been more important to me since becoming a mom and as you know, birthdays are a perfect time to give. In fact, Tom and I have decided this is a PERFECT tradition to start with our kids – each year we will aim to do something charitable around their birthdays.

Thank you for being such an inspiration to all of us that are participating in your Pay It 40-ward challenge! I will take pictures of the donation box and the party, and keep you posted on the final donation. We love you, and happy, happy, happy birthday, forty million times over! (Don’t hate me if I steal this idea when I turn 40 J)

Saralyn (and Tom and Ivy!)

A little FB stalking and I found Saralyn running! I think this is a 1/2 marathon.... Go, Saralyn!

PS- we haven’t busted out the jogging stroller just yet. I think Sunday is the perfect opportunity. I think I can contribute at least a couple miles!

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