April 26th has come and gone, and with it, the first fundraiser I’ve ever had the opportunity to chair and see through to fruition. It’s honestly been one of the biggest hassles and one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Was it worth it? Oh hell yeah.
For a bit of background, I started at Le Bonheur in September 2013 after a sort of rough ending with a previous employer. Full of vigor and excitement for my new job, I immediately began looking for ways to help the kids. Many children we see at the hospital come from less than perfect backgrounds (as do we all), with little to go home to and sometimes nonexistent support structures/parents.
These kids have very little. And as one who has grown up with the blessing of attending private grade school, private high school, and the college of my choice, this concept was so foreign to me. And as one who’d been picked on in school for one reason or another (I’ve largely kept this to myself), I wanted a way to give something to these kids. To use the strength I’ve gained with strongman to give back to those who don’t have much at all.
The endurance community succeeds brilliantly at this. The strength community is starting to pick up on it, but as it’s largely fractured with different federations, natural vs not, raw vs equipped, etc, there’s a lot of difficulty to get anyone to agree on anything. I wanted to start an annual fundraiser that would involve the community in a strongman type event that they could get behind; one that would benefit the hospital and the kids we care for on a daily basis.
Thus: the ambulance pull was born.
I worked closely with a team from Le Bonheur through the Foundation (big thanks to Carol Matthews for keeping me on task!) and in coordination with Pedi Flite, Security, Facilities and many others. What resulted was a fantastic event in which we raised nearly $4000 for the kids at the hospital, everyone pulled the ambulance, and the vibe was like nothing I’ve ever seen.
There was no music, but yet the crowd was involved, cheering and excited for every competitor. We had teams of 4, 2, and individuals pull the ambulance, all quickly and all with support. I’ve never had the opportunity to be a part of something so positive, and with so much support. Honestly, it was exhilarating. And I had the slowest time of any of the teams or competitors!
People are already talking about how to make it bigger and better next year. And I’m hoping to find a date to better involve more of the members of NBS and the outside community. Who knows, maybe one day it could evolve into a competition all in itself. I’m not going to put any limitations on it and see where it ends up.
I’m incredibly thankful for all the help I received throughout the event. Most of all to my lovely wife, who allowed me to host the event on her birthday. Yeah, she’s awesome like that. Big thanks as well to Big Rich, Jay, and Mike for all their help raising money, running the show, and setting up. Thanks to David at NBS for letting me train folks at the facility, use the equipment, and borrow the megaphone (even though I found out I’m loud enough not to need it).
I’m working on a more comprehensive video, but for now, here’s a nifty one I made with Magisto:
Looking forward to all that I can do to give back in the next year. I think I’ve finally discovered why I enjoy strongman, and why it hits such a chord with me. May I have the foresight to know where I can use my strength to benefit others as much as possible.