I had the privilege of attending a fundraiser hosted by two members of the Cervello team this past weekend. Mike and Christine are running the Boston Marathon next month and they organized the event to raise money for the Children’s Hospital Boston and Easter Seals. They were able to get over 150 people to attend a fun afternoon of bowling at Lucky Strike Boston in the shadow of historic Fenway Park. My son, Griffin, and I had a great time bowling and spending time with the crowd there to support Mike and Christine. My sense is that Christine and Mike achieved their fundraising goal based on the size of the crowd and the quality of the items in the silent auction and raffle.
What occurred to me as I was thinking about it later is that marathons and fundraising to support others share a common trait – it is not how much you raise or how fast you run the race that matters. Instead, it is the reasons for doing it and the fact that you do it that really matter. It is no surprise that these two efforts are commonly linked.
The marathon is the most humbling of races and many times there are very touching stories as to why people run. For those that have participated in a marathon or watched one you quickly notice that it is not a field of traditional athletes. Yes, there are the elite runners that ghost effortlessly along and finish the race in a little over 2 hours but then there are the masses that are there for some combination of pushing themselves physically as well as something bigger. As an example, I ran the Marine Corp Marathon a couple of years ago and was deeply moved by many of the young men and women of our armed forces running for a fallen comrade. There are so many examples.
The same points can be made with fundraising to support others. For many people, the process of raising money can be very humbling and there tends to be a touching story or motivation for doing it. There are so many examples of causes that people seek to support and the reasons for doing it are varied and personal. As well, there are always a group of “elite fundraisers” that can raise significant amounts quickly but the truth is that anyone can do it. Like a marathon, you don’t have to be part of the elite group to do it and be effective.
So what really impresses me about Christine and Mike is not only how they are pushing themselves physically to prepare for this race, but, more importantly, how they are pushing themselves to prepare for this race by making it bigger than themselves. Their effort to raise funds for Children’s Hospital and Easter Seals, which is a marathon unto itself, makes running in this historic event more than just a race.