1 Aug 15

By Randy Pierce

Randy and Jose nearing the finish at their National marathon Championship victory in December 2014

Randy and Jose nearing the finish at their National marathon Championship victory in December 2014.

It’s so easy and fun to share success and celebration and so much more difficult to report on setbacks, failures and injury. Very often I can use determination, willpower, and perseverance to overcome many obstacles and achieve fantastic results. I think occasionally this creates an illusion for some that I do not get mired in frustration or failure at times. Right now I’m in the midst of one of those challenging times which has some ramifications I’m still exploring and trying to find ways to manage properly. I hope it may lend a beneficial perspective for people to get a look inside one of these difficult times for me.

Several weeks ago, I finished a run through Mine Falls which had gone poorly due to some type of stomach bug. As I recovered from that a few days later, I noticed my lower calf into the Achilles tendon was unusually tight. I worked at stretching it but it was fairly minor so I didn’t worry too much. A five-mile outside run with a friend had loosened it up nicely and alleviated my concerns. With Kilimanjaro looming, I broke in new hiking boots on a series of mountain climbs of ever-increasing duration and the tightness seemed manageable through those.

Yet, every faster run or hill-based run soon had the tightness returning and worsening. I have a fair bit of neuropathy in my legs which can mask pain, but soon it was clear to me that the Achilles was sensitive to the touch at an unacceptable level. It was relatively pain-free without my weight on it, but when would lean my knee over my feet with weight, that stretch would be very painful. Every morning I began to hobble a little more. When going down stairs, the back foot would really let me know it was unhappy. It was time for some professional medical explorations.

I halted all training, began a regimen of 4x’s-day ice and Achilles-specific massage while awaiting the appointments. Two weeks of rest with those treatments improved things notably but it hadn’t gone away.  The doctors initially suggested bilateral Achilles tendonitis and a specialist modified the diagnosis to bilateral Achilles tendinopathy. The physical therapy began that same day and continues for a bit of time still ahead.

The harder news is that this condition has an age component and I’m certainly getting older. Often this is not a curable situation as much as it is a managed care approach to minimize the impact. While it absolutely does not presently halt any of my athletic goals ahead, it does add a component of uncertainty.

Kilimanjaro remains absolutely certain at this point. It’s the California International Marathon and the USABA Championships which, while still likely, will require me to be very attentive to continually working with and adjusting a plan for managing the injury and easing into the right training for that injury. My original plan had August 3 as the start of my formal training, but I have not yet even been able to reach out to guides because of the uncertainty of how/when to begin training properly. I may still be a few weeks away from knowing more.

Friend and 2020 Vision Quest secretary John Swenson guides Randy through a water crossing on Mt Liberty.

Friend and 2020 Vision Quest secretary John Swenson guides Randy through a water crossing on Mt Liberty.

So, you may ask, how am I managing my approach?

Overall, I’m fine mentally and emotionally. There is certainly frustration, but I’ve already begun the shift of mentality to accepting my present condition and exploring every possible means to go forward successfully. Well, perhaps not every possible means, as while there are many marvelous home remedies folks might begin suggesting, I need to reasonably limit myself to a targeted plan that has earned my confidence. I’m on the path of that targeted plan right now and will continue to research and undertake with my full determination.

Does that mean I’m not still a little down when my foot hitting the floor each morning gives a little pain and tightness? Of course I feel that frustration, but now I’m as quick to reach for the leash and try the stretch techniques to help it improve and continue to heal. It’s the small steps forward with the long-term goal still in my vision but not overshadowing the need to attend to a lot of small details to manage the immediate challenge. After all, you don’t get to those glorious summits without learning how to manage all the twists and turns of the trail along the path, without learning to get up after each fall and without a little consideration for how to ensure we fall a little less along the way.

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25 Jul 15

By Randy Pierce

Mt. Kilimanjaro with elephants in the foreground.

Mt. Kilimanjaro.

It’s 11:00 pm Friday, September 25 and many of you (my friends in New England at least) might be thinking about bed time when you think to check in on our Kilimanjaro Team some 7 hours ahead of you. For us, we most likely began our summit attempt at midnight and are closing in on the prize!

We are breathing air so thin in oxygen that each step requires a breath of its own to allow our muscles the energy to lift onto the rim of Kibo’s Crater and hopefully Uhuru summit! For us the sun is just about to rise, casting a brilliant splendor across a landscape too few may ever appreciate. Can you imagine the swirl of emotions overwhelming each of us on this expedition at that moment?

Machame route on Kilimanjaro.

Machame route on Kilimanjaro.

Some speculate that the very name of Kilimanjaro is a European pronunciation for the KiChagga phrase meaning “We failed to climb it!” Others suggest it is loosely derived from a blend of two words in Swahili and KiChagga  meaning “Mountain of Whiteness.” Its legendary arctic and glacial top is steadily melting though we can expect conditions not too dissimilar from our own White Mountains in winter. I’d like to think you’ll have the chance to read our celebration message from the summit before you retire for the evening, perhaps sharing a bit in our own celebration of achievement at such an epic quest. Perhaps you’ll have been following along throughout the entire week.

Monday, September 21, we pass through the Machame gate and trek through the rainforest on our way to Machame camp. We have selected one of the most scenic routes rather than the most easy of routes. You’d expect different for a team with a somewhat determined blind man? Remember how wonderfully the new scents and sounds will be received by me. Also realize how very fortunate I am to be surrounded by a team of friends who will likely share their various visual observations to enhance my experience still further.

Tuesday

Departing the rain forest and traversing a ridgeline with heather towering at thirty feet in some places, we enter a river gorge and work our way up to the Shira campsite. Reaching an elevation of 12,500 feet for the evening we’ll have our first real taste of the impact of thinning air.

Hikers camping near the Lava Tower at Kilimanjaro.

Hikers camping near the Lava Tower at Kilimanjaro.

Wednesday

We spend the morning climbing up through mostly desert conditions to the Lava Tower where an optional lunch-time diversion would enable us to climb this prominent feature along the Arrow Glacier. We then descent to Barranco camp back at our original elevations though further along our route. This is a day which helps acclimatize us all to the impending high elevations ahead.

Thursday

Our distances are getting shorter as we hike along the Great Barranco Wall, via steep ridges before descending to the Karanga valley camp. We are now in alpine desert and continuing the preparations for our acclimatization to the extreme elevation. We’ll learn the word “Polle!” hear as going “slowly” is the key to manage the challenges of exertion at elevation.

Friday

Our shortest day will take us to Barafu Camp and the completion of the south circuit which will provide tremendous views of the multiple summits of this three volcano mountain. At just over 15,000 feet of elevation we mentally and physically prepare for the hardest challenges of the expedition on our summit day. We’ll be to bed early as the hiking starts at midnight.

Ice at the Kilimanjaro summit.

Ice at the Kilimanjaro summit.

Saturday

Midnights starts our trek between a pair of glaciers to the base of the summit cone. A strenuous scree-laden hike up the steep volcanic cone will challenge us as we rise into the arctic zone to the crater rim at Stella Point. At 18,600 feet we will earn a brief rest and begin the window of sunrise that will rival the actual summit for majestic grandeur. Proceeding ever so slowly along the rim we will reach Uhuru Peak at 19,343 feet and be on the highest point on the continent of Africa. Celebrations will be incredible but a long descent still remains down the steep, scree slide of the cone and all the way to Mweka Hut camp at 10,000 feet. Our lungs will delight in the oxygen riches of that elevation as our weary bodies take to slumber on our final day on the mountain.

Sunday, September 27 we finish our expedition and return to our hotel for a night of rest before the Safari begins the second part of this incredible journey! That is a story for another blog…

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18 Jul 15

By Randy Pierce

“Not above you, not beneath you but with you!” – Lions Toast

Randy installed as President of the Hudson, NH chapter of the Lions.

Randy installed as President of the Hudson, NH chapter of the Lions.

On July 1 Tracy and I began our one-year terms serving our Hudson NH Lions Club as Secretary and President. Why in the world would we put this additional honor and responsibility to our already busy schedules? Well, many have questioned my sanity for some time but I think the answer is a good one.

We both have been active members because the people who make up our club and most Lions clubs are simply caring, fun, and committed to making a positive difference in their community and towards easing the challenges of blindness. I’m constantly astounded when I hear reports of over 60,000 meals provided to those in need here in our community via the Anne Marie House we support. I’m proud of the benefit we bring to many aspiring college students who receive our annual scholarships. I’m touched with the number of members attending to support physically and fiscally events like Vision weekend, Lions Sight and Hearing, Camp Pride, and so many other community activities and needs. Visit the website and I think you too may be astounded at how much our one club manages. That alone is enough for me to want to lend my efforts as I’m able when they have need of my service and moreso when I consider that we are just one club of thousands. I believe Lions International represents the largest service organization in the world with roughly 1.4 million members.

Recent Lions scholarship recipients are honored. Pictured: Randy Pierce, Autumn, Carolyn Nichols, Anthony Holzhauser, Timothy Campbell and PCC Roger LaTulippe, Scholarship chair.

Recent Lions scholarship recipients are honored. Pictured: Randy Pierce, Autumn, Carolyn Nichols, Anthony Holzhauser, Timothy Campbell and PCC Roger LaTulippe, Scholarship chair.

Despite the strength of the membership locally and beyond, the reality is that maintaining membership and the ability to continue the great work requires people to step up and become fellow members, to volunteer their efforts at an event  and at times to take leadership roles. It is no surprise that as with every organization there are times when it feels like additional work.

There are times when we are tired and times when we disagree. Overall we create and maintain an attitude and atmosphere of support, encouragement and working together to create a team able to accomplish far more than we can do as individuals. We even manage to have a lot of fun along the way whether it’s a Cruise on the Mt. Washington, Cow Pie Bingo at Old Home Days one of the greatest gifts, giving the work or donation which changes a life in need.

Old Home Days and Cow Pie Bingo!

Old Home Days and Cow Pie Bingo!

As President, this year my motto is “Pride on the Path” for the drive to celebrate the work we do together, the inner community of our club and the journey we choose to take together. As part of my 2020 Vision Quest mission I strive to encourage us all to reach our Peak Potential and yet I realize the moments on our peaks are created by the work we make along the path.

So perhaps you might wish to join us for a meeting and understand more of what we accomplish. Perhaps you may wish to join us as a Lion or perhaps you are one of the many who are already helping us to do the great work or fun moments along the way. I hope you’ll at least consider how many people strive to make a positive impact in many different ways. Consider a well placed thank you to someone making your world better and think what heights we could reach by being part of a team with that in mind.

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11 Jul 15

Randy, Tracy, and Autumn lounging on the "rock couch" atop Mt. Piper

Randy, Tracy, and Autumn lounging on the “rock couch” atop Mt. Piper

By Randy Pierce

“True worth is in being, not seeming,–
In doing, each day that goes by,
Some little good–not in dreaming
Of great things to do by and by.”

-Alice Cary (from the poem “Nobility”)

While I have undertaken some marvelous adventures recently and have still more grandiose experiences just ahead, it is in the day-to-day freedoms in which I most fully celebrate Autumn’s gift to me. I delight in the majesty of a mountain summit, the euphoria of crossing a marathon finish or the jubilation of ringing the bell in the Tough Mudder for certain. The vast expanse of my life isn’t in those rare moments, but in a daily walk to celebrate morning’s coolness, weekly errands to stores, doctors, banks, presentations, meetings, or visits with friends. For all of these there are many ways I could undertake them such as sighted guide with my wife or a friend or independently tapping my way with my blind cane. The former is a dependency which infringes upon my freedom and the latter is significantly more limiting to me. This is why I celebrate what Guiding Eyes Autumn delivers to me each and every day. We have bonded into such a team that I take full independence in the “we” of any accomplishments while reveling in the companionship provided along the journey. We are so much more effective than my use of the cane and she provides such enthusiasm, affection, and pride of work into the process it makes life with her a very precious gift indeed.

Randy, Tracy, and Autumn lounging on a boat over Independence Day.

Randy, Tracy, and Autumn lounging on a boat over Independence Day.

We are just reaching our 16th month of working together and the leaps of progress in our teamwork are remarkable to me. Even though she is my third Dog Guide, it somehow still feels surprising and new to reach this point of clarity in our understanding and work together. Sure, she’s wowed me with back-to-back weekends of successful mountain hikes under her guidance, and yet I marvel most at our travels through the neighborhood, downtown, and into entirely new environments. When I take the harness into my hand and tell her to go forward, the common routines flow with a confident safety and surety which now allows my mind to think about my next blog post, plan a presentation flow, or even take a phone call in the more quiet areas because she has me in her attentive and well trained paws. A bit of this happens every single day on that morning stroll.

When taking bus to downtown Nashua, I manage the route but she handles the curbs, the sidewalk clutter, the passers-by and the unexpected dangers of construction with the confident grace which weaves my focus and our work into a true team. She proudly prances up to a door on request or to the edge of the stairs where I feel the harness turn as she looks back lovingly as many report to show me what a good girl I have in her. Every “good girl!” I deliver to her (and she is earning many) brings her ears up and a tail wag which shows me just how well she loves to be part of this team with me. This interdependence we share and all the itinerant joys of our lives is the most marvelous gift of all.

Autumn leads Randy through a parking lot.

Autumn and Randy hard at work.

You see, it is difficult to demonstrate the full measure of impact received by spending 24 hours each day, 7 days each week in the constant company and mutual support of another being. It is difficult to showcase the hours of my life gifted back to me in time saved along each route we traverse today. It’s possibly more challenging to highlight the relaxation and mental freedom I experience while Autumn guides me on our various errands throughout the weeks. Still most powerfully of all is my confidence that I have the ability and independence necessary to just live my life to the very fullest–and all the while I do so with the most devoted, caring, and playful puppy partner anyone could desire. I love my Autumn girl and thank her every day for the gifts she brings into my life directly and all of those fortunate enough to share a little time with her as well.

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4 Jul 15

By Randy Pierce

Fireworks

Happy Independence Day from 2020 Vision Quest!

David Letterman may have retired but we can still have a little summertime fun while reflecting upon the top things 2020 Vision Quest has meant to me. Perhaps you’ll have a different order or a few new items to share with us?

10. “Watching” fireworks on July 4, 2010…
…from atop Mt. Washington on our first hike of our quest!

9. The Peak Potential event of  2012
My Dad died that very morning and I needed all the love and support given to me by our community to get me through that night. We had so much to celebrate from the year and folks helped me do that while barely holding it all together.

8. Our final steps to the summit of Flume for our All-Season 48 finish
This was all the more special as Tracy, John, Quinn, and I shared the moment and those final steps together!

7. Ringing the bell for Oberto’s Hero of Summer at the Tough Mudder in LA!
A slightly selfish moment of appreciation for an accomplishment and experience which only happens when you are willing to truly reach beyond comfort zones with all that you can give to the experience!

6. National Championship at the California International Marathon 
Really? This takes sixth? It might even be lower except the teamwork and pride with Jose elevated the experience tremendously as did Tracy’s finish on the same day.

5. Atop Cannon Mountain for the final peak of my single Winter 48 completion
I still hear “Beautiful Day” playing and the cheers and laughter of a perfect winter day.

4. The Boston Marathon
Not just the finish but the entire experience leading to it, through it, and even the aftermath. I worked very hard for the goal and with a purpose well reported elsewhere. The pinnacle moment for me was cresting Heartbreak Hill but I applaud the entire experience.

3. Quinn’s legacy of achievement, dedication, and devotion
Hard to believe this isn’t number one as the boy is certainly top in my heart always. His impact to 2020 Vision Quest will always be integral to our success.

2. Feeling the steady growth and considerable support of an inspired community of friends old and new
I did not have the vision to fully appreciate how many people and places would find our work resonates so well for them.We’ve accomplished so much together and for me the lesson is clear that it’s always the people who matter the most… and for me pups are people too!

And the #1 aspect of 2020 Vision Quest for me thus far has been:

1. Knowing the positive impact of our school presentations on over 42,000 students and counting!
I never realized how much this part of the quest would positively impact our world and me personally. It is the heart of our entire mission to me. When the work is overwhelming in various ways or other challenges emerge, I always come back to the letters from students and teachers to build my strength and my belief that what we do is worth every bit of effort and more.

The truth is there are so many other worthy moments from learning to ski with Brent Bell, Century bicycle rides, Owl’s Head slide, Mt. Welch, Ms. Autumn’s arrival, and so many more. Hiking with Tedy Bruschi didn’t make this list? Winning an Emmy Award with Willem Lang and Windows to the Wild? What about the release of “Four More Feet” and the incredible friendship of Justin and Dina? Well, that’s why maybe all of you might share a different moment or aspect of what we do. I can tell you that handing a donation to Guiding Eyes and NHAB every year is an important foundation of our mission and one from which I take a great amount of joy as well.

The reality is we are now over half way to the year 2020 from our inception and I could not be prouder of the team and community helping us to reach for and achieve this dream every day. Thank you and Happy Independence Day to all of us celebrating our independence in so many varied ways.

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27 Jun 15

By Randy Pierce

I am thrilled to have been invited to provide a TEDx Talk and certainly believe the result is a video well worth watching. I deliver several of the more poignant messages I believe are simply valuable to any of us in our lives. I share a few of the more fun anecdotal demonstrations of those messages and the comfort with which I can present to any audience. The conference theme emphasized “community” while my presentation put its focus primarily upon “Reaching our Peak Potential.”

“…it rocked the entire audience of 130 people. There were farmers, lawyers, doctors, teachers, artists from young to old… Everyone felt that Randy was talking to them. It was a profound experience.”
– Celeste Barr, Beaver Brook Association

I hope all of you reading this are already aware that we provide corporate presentations and keynote addresses. I also hope you will consider sharing this with every appropriate business and organization who might benefit from having us visit. We believe that the success of our charity directly depends on our ability to earn an honorarium to 2020 Vision Quest by providing such presentations. We are confident it’s a great value and significant benefit to those who attend our presentations as well as ensuring the work we do with students will continue. It must all begin with the choice you make to refer us or invite us to such presentation opportunities.

Once you experience our TEDx Talk above and realize how many more messages we will deliver powerfully to each presentation, I hope you won’t delay in helping us with this outreach. It’s simply an idea worth sharing, which is the motto of TED. Given that, I’ll leave you with the mission statement for TED and simply share how very proud and fortunate I feel for being a part of the TEDx community. Thank you to TEDx Amoskeag Millyard and to many others who have believed in the benefit of my presentations. I hope you too will be part of that team.

The TED Talk  Mission: Spread ideas

TED is a global community, welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world. On TED.com, we’re building a clearinghouse of free knowledge from the world’s most inspired thinkers — and a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other, both online and at TED and TEDx events around the world, all year long.

 

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20 Jun 15

By Randy Pierce

“When is the last time you did something for the first time?” – shared at Mt. Snow Tough Mudder and every tough Mudder

TEAMwork at the tough mudderThere is something invigorating and life changing for many of us when attempting something new or facing a particularly poignant challenge. I believe this is amplified when you undertake it as a team due to the power of giving and receiving support along that course. This is the essence of the gifts available during a Tough Mudder. Recently I undertook my third Tough Mudder, all within the last year and all filled with different aspects of the same rewarding result.

I am by no means suggesting that a Tough Mudder is the snake oil cure for all which may ail you. I am, however, confident it is one avenue amongst many for you to challenge yourself to undertake something new, something difficult for you perhaps and most importantly to be part of a team in which you may in equal measure give and receive support towards the goal. I’ve blogged about the Power of Purpose previously and now I cannot well enough express how much I value the rewards of “Team” and how pleased I was to have a school share with me the acronym: Together Everyone Achieves More.

In order to illustrate this in our recent June 7 Tough Mudder at Mt. Snow Vermont, I think it best to refer you to the words of one of my teammates in her blog about the entire experience. Her photos, words and obvious emotional impact highlight the above point as powerfully as any of my own words. Thank you Cathy Merrifield and to our entire team!

Read and be inspired by Cathy’s blog!

 

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14 Jun 15

By Randy Pierce

Tickets are now available for our Sixth Annual Peak Potential Dinner and Auction!

When: Saturday, November 14, 2015
Where: Puritan Backroom ConferenceCenter
245 Hooksett Road
Manchester, NH 03104 

Attendees have fun at the Peak Potential 2014!

Attendees having fun at the Peak Potential 2014!

Our Peak Potential Dinner and Auction is so very much more than an incredible celebration, it is the essential event for our achieving a successful year. We have already reached over 42,000 students, donated over 124,00.00 to Guiding Eyes for the Blind and the New Hampshire Association for the Blind while creating a tremendous amount of awareness through our many achievements and accomplishments. The honors and accolades have been incredible and yet the heart of our work is the community we build and share together. This is the time to bring all of you together to celebrate and support our vision!

So save the date, or better still, purchase your ticket(s) or table right away! It’s so easy to put this aside for a bit where it might be forgotten, but it’s so beneficial to us and you to make that choice right now! In fact, purchasing a table from now until August 14 will get you the absolute lowest price for a table/ticket and help ensure our event success. Our sponsors and auction donors are treasured partners we continue to grow and they are always encouraged by our history of selling out, the sooner the better!

Last year's Peak Potential staff

Peak Potential staff 2014. This year, friends both new and old join our Peak Potential staff!

My dear and cherished friend Kim Kett-Johnson shared her experience at last year’s event on our blog: Paying it Forward. What should you expect of your experience this year? We’ve grown our team of event volunteers, changed to an exciting new venue and I have personally taken on the role of coordinating this event. It will as always be a fun and festive environment which provides a night out amongst like-minded friends from many different aspects of supporting the 2020 Vision Quest. With the full venue entirely for our use and filled with such a community of support, we’ll ensure the thousands of hours given annually to our cause continue to change the world around us in positive and powerful ways.

Beautiful art at Peak Potential 2013 silent auction

Our silent auction items are some of our biggest draws.

The Peak Potential team has already begun to collect auction items that are the central feature of this event. Last year we had spirited live and silent auctions at the event, which we plan to continue as it generated some fantastic activity. We look forward to posting all the amazing items donated by local individuals and businesses on Facebook for you all to preview before the event.

As always, if you or a connection of yours might be interested in donating to our auction, we would love to hear from you! Email Sarah Toney.

Whether you are part of our often-returning community or new to the Peak Potential event, we will do everything we can to ensure you the best experience possible. If you are unable to join us for the evening, there are still so many things you can do to help ensure our success. Whether connecting us to a sponsor or donor directly or sharing the opportunity of this event and/or our charity, you can be  an essential part of our progress forward.

I welcome and encourage any and all questions, comments and feedback. Thank you for all the incredible support in the past and I hope we continue to earn your support going forward while providing the opportunity to celebrate great community and an ever growing list of accomplishments we achieve together.

Randy Pierce
President of 2020 Vision Quest

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6 Jun 15

By Randy Pierce

I’ve been keeping very busy for awhile now and the value of all aspects of my time is something about which I’ve become steadily more aware. This includes my approach to  “down time”, relaxation and work in appropriate and necessary balance.

An email from a friend recently highlighted time management particularly well for me. It helps that there is a football connection in the report that legendary football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant carried the story in his wallet. NFL football has been one of my favorite means of relaxation and entertainment and for many reasons the quality of that time is something I’ve had cause to question more and more primarily due to the seeming malign or inept approach to many things in the NFL Management side of this entertainment outlet.

That is a topic for another time perhaps, but for now the story which gave me considerable thought is worthy of sharing with you despite coming from an unknown source. With my appreciation for Paul Bryant’s proliferation of this powerful message:

*** 

The Magic Bank Account

Imagine that you had won the following *PRIZE* in a contest:
Each morning your bank would deposit $86,400 in your private account for your personal use.

However, this prize has rules.  The set of rules are as follow:

1.    Everything that you don’t spend each day will be taken away from you.

2.    You may not simply transfer money into some other account.

3.    You may only spend it.

4.    Each morning, upon awakening, the bank opens your account with another $86,400 for the new day.

5.    The bank can end the game without warning; at any time it can say,“Game Over!”   It can close the account and you will not receive a new one.

What would you personally do with your prize?

You would buy anything and everything you wanted right? Not only for yourself, but for all the people you love and care for. Even for people you don’t know, because you couldn’t possibly spend it all on yourself, right?   You would try to spend every penny, and use it all, because you knew money would be replenished in the morning, right?

Actually, THIS GAME IS REAL.  Shocked ? Yes!   Each of us is already a winner of a much more valuable *PRIZE*.   We just don’t seem to realize it.

The prize is *TIME*

1.    Each morning we awaken to receive 86,400 seconds as a gift of life.

2.    And when we go to sleep at night, any remaining time is NOT credited to us.

3.    What we haven’t used up that day is forever lost.

4.    Yesterday is forever gone.

5.    Each morning the account is refilled, but the bank can dissolve your account at any time WITHOUT WARNING.

So, WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH YOUR 86,400 seconds today?

Those seconds are worth much, much more than the same amount in dollars. Think about it and remember to enjoy every second of your life, because time races by so much quicker than you think.

So take care of yourself, be happy, love deeply and enjoy life!  Here’s wishing you a wonderful and beautiful day. Start “spending” your valuable *PRIZE* wisely.

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30 May 15

Introduction from Randy:

There are so many great organizatons who make choices to have a positive difference. As blindness arrived unexpectedly to my life so too did the realization of how many  positive connections it would help create. Such people and groups rarely receive enough attention for their kindness and choices. I hope to help a little this week and I think you too may be moved and maybe even help them along the path…

****

On a cold winter night in 1873, Anna Boyd Ellington, Mary Comfort Leonard, and Eva Webb Dodd created their “club of mutual helpfulness”. This club has grown to an organization of more than 200,000 members, including this one, dedicated to fulfilling Anna, Mary, and Eva’s original motto to “Do Good”.

Around 60 years later, the idea of doing good took on a new form when Ruth Billow, a Delta Gamma who was blind, asked our membership to adopt sight conservation and aide to the blind as our international philanthropy. Many things about Delta Gamma have changed over the years, but our dedication to Service for Sight has not.

I began to take our philanthropy to heart while I was a collegian at DePauw, and even more so now in my career as Development Specialist for the Delta Gamma Foundation, where I am fortunate enough to work with several amazing groups every day.

The Delta Gamma Foundation is extremely proud of the partnerships we have been able to create with both the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) and the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI). This year, Delta Gamma sponsored two marathon experiences for individuals who are blind or visually impaired through these organizations.

These partnerships have allowed me to meet some outstanding people, both Delta Gammas and non-Delta Gammas. One such non-Delta Gamma is Randy Pierce, who I first met in Sacramento for the National Marathon Championships and saw again in Boston this spring.

Vaungaylyn and Dave after completing their half of the California International Marathon

Vaungaylyn and Dave after completing their half of the California International Marathon.

Our partnership with USABA also provided the opportunity for a Delta Gamma alumna, Vaungaylyn, to run in the marathon as a sighted guide for a U.S. Navy Veteran. Vaungaylyn registered her run through the Delta Gamma Foundation’s Anchor Run for the Blind program, which allows Delta Gammas to raise funds for veterans with visual impairments through fundraising runs all across the U.S. and Canada.

In addition to sponsorship support, Delta Gammas provided more than 100 hours of service for the USABA’s National Marathon Championships in December, and more than 200 for MABVI’s Team With A Vision in Boston.

Not only do our members strive to “Do Good” by providing service, but they also raise awareness and funds through the Delta Gamma Foundation. Last year, we provided more than $200,000 dollars to 32 organizations all over the U.S. and Canada that aid the blind or visually impaired.

Lee Deadwyler, Development Specialist and Laura O’Brien, Director: Advisers at the Race Expo in Boston

Lee Deadwyler, Development Specialist and Laura
O’Brien, Director: Advisers at the Race Expo in Boston.

Through these marathons, Delta Gammas have been able to establish meaningful, continuous service opportunities to aid the blind or visually impaired communities in their areas. I’ve also learned a lot along these journeys, too. I’ve learned about being brave, and trusting others. I’ve learned that something as small as serving a family dinner or walking new friends back from a pizza party can make a big difference for them, and for you.

We receive a lot of thanks for participating as sponsors and volunteers throughout the weekend, but really we should be thanking the athletes and organizations with which we work. Thank you for the opportunity to meet and serve such inspiring athletes. Thank you for showing us that disability does not mean inability. Thank you for showing us that you can have vision without sight. Thank you for inspiring and motivating us to “Do Good”.

Lee Deadwyler, Development Specialist
Delta Gamma Foundation

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