Archive for running for a cause

Part II: How I Dedicated My Race to a Stranger

Posted in motivation, photos, running, trail with tags , , , , , , , on December 9, 2014 by afuntanilla

With intention, I carried him on my back. At 4:30am, I wrote his name down. Aware of significance and of sorrow; aware of my anger and my ambition, just hours away. This stranger who was broken, bleeding, left dead in the great city by the Bay. How does this happen? Why does this happen? I will never understand the motivation of others to intentionally hurt, damage, kill another human being. I will never understand the motivation to willingly take a life.

I set out on a journey of 50 kilometers through challenging, breathtaking terrain of west Marin county. It was an official race, but the greater race was within. Having battled my own doubts, demons and minor injuries of late, I began with a will to finish, a will made doubly stronger by the presence of Mr. Lam’s spirit. I did not want to let him, nor myself, down. I wanted to fight…fight for both of us. I wanted to fight for him, he who could not possibly lift his body as three men ambushed and attacked him on the golden streets of San Francisco.

Ascending was hard. And visually stunning. I spoke out loud to Mr. Lam;

“hey, Mr. Lam, have you ever been here before? Have you ever seen this place? Well, you have now! Amazing, right? Ok…we gotta keep pushing. “
And then again later when it became more difficult;

“Hey, Mr. Lam, how ya doing? I’m doing ok. I’m fightin’ for ya buddy. I got your back.”

And then again, even later, when my legs were cramped and my movement slowed and slowed;

hey, mr. lam how ya doing! I’m struggling but I’m fightin’. I’m fightin’ for ya. I’m fighting for those bastards who attacked you to be caught. I’m fighting for you! I got your back. Let’s do this!”

After 8 hours and 1 minute, I crossed the finish line. My face smiling, on the verge of tears.

You are not forgotten, sir. You are not forgotten.
May your spirit be resting in a better place.

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Why I dedicated my 50k race to Mr. Tai Lam: Part I

Posted in motivation, photos, races, random, running with tags , , , , , on December 8, 2014 by afuntanilla

I try not to pay attention to the world news too much except the economic, financial news (because I need to for my job) When I do happen to read the paper, I read the sports section and sometimes the comics and do the crossword. I never watch news on TV and I don’t listen to news radio stations. I get a sense of what is happening via my Twitter feed. That’s one of the best things about Twitter…YOU customize it. You decide what you want to see. Awesome.

Anyway, last Wednesday, I actually read some of the regular news in the SF Chronicle. The first story that caught my eye was a heartwarming story of a family in need of assistance that got it thru the papers’ “season of giving” program. Of course, I like reading these kind of stories.

The next story I read stopped me dead in my tracks and really hit me in my core. A homeless, crippled man who was trying to sleep in the downtown financial district in San Francisco, was beaten to death. I read on and then found a subsequent follow up story online. Age 67, about 100 pounds in weight. Asian. Crippled. Homeless. Sleeping in a little cove he found and not bothering a soul. Apparently, 3 males, wandered by, saw him, and kicked him to death. Repeated kicking and kicking. There is video footage. They would stop when a car drove by. Then, kick again.

The police have said it was one of the worst attacks they have ever seen.
This happened in San Francisco’s financial district. A place where there is a staggering amount of wealth, in a city that has a ridiculous amount of wealth.

What did this man, the victim, Tai Lam, do? Nothing. Well…wait, he was HOMELESS! He was part of a homeless community that the greater community, for the most part, would like to forget….and they do, except when someone perhaps asks for money. Then they cringe and walk away. Or stare blankly ahead. I am not immune. I have ignored “them” too….sometimes it can feel like a scam or maybe we just gave $20 bucks to someone last week….I get it.

But, there is a bigger issue here and part of what stirred me up. In the wake of people protesting in many cities across the nation on police brutality & use of excessive force, who is rallying for this little old man? Who is coming to his aid to DEMAND the criminals be brought to justice? Who is speaking and rallying on his behalf? Who would rise to give significance to this horrific death and his now absence?

No one. There are no rallies in SF for Tai Lam. Because he, like so many of the downtrodden are truly forgotten by us! Our community. ALL OF US. It’s disturbing that people are overbidding on real estate property by hundreds of thousands of dollars, in cash, and we have people like Mr. Lam, living on the street and subject to this kind of aberration. It’s disturbing that a city with an enormous amount of resources somehow can’t or won’t give more to those who are most in need. And yet, money is just part of the issue. It’s the attitude that many take toward the needy, the homeless, those who are without….the simple lack of caring. Maybe if we cared more about these folks, if we demanded more action from our governments, if WE took more individual action. Giving money is wonderful & needed, but more involvement is necessary.

Every single homeless person has a story. Most of them probably have some kind of mental illness or drug problem. Mr. Lam was in neither category. Even if he was, so what?

We turn our backs to the homeless because we don’t want to see….we don’t want to see the potential ugly side of life and what our life could be….but you know what, that is exactly the point. The homeless guy…it is you. The homeless woman, it is you. We are all 1 or 2 or 3 steps away from our lives changing drastically in a heartbeat. Who is going to be there for you? Count your blessings if you already thought of someone who would take you in, love you, care for you.

And don’t ever forget there are thousands out there who are just not as damn lucky as we all are, in this moment.

The story of Mr. Lam’s beating shook me up and moved me to take the one immediate action I could think of: to dedicate my 50k North Face Endurance Race to this man.

And so I did. 920x920

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Bags full of difference!

Posted in 40 mile run, motivation, photos with tags , , , , on June 23, 2010 by afuntanilla

As part of my 40 mile run on my 40th Birthday, I’ve decided to raise money for a charity called MY STUFF BAGS.

I have spent weeks thinking about and researching what charity to focus on and was feeling overwhelmed at the enormous amount of need that exists in our world, in our country, and in our own neighborhoods. I wish I could raise money for hundreds of charities!!!

When I found http://www.mystuffbags.org/ I was immediately touched by their story. It’s a very small organization that uses it’s donations and resources to focus on helping children who have been abused and/or neglected.

My hope is that you will visit their website and choose to contribute to their efforts on my behalf. My hope is that thru this 40 mile run, we can raise awareness to their cause so that they can continue to serve children and that their doors never close.

In terms of donations, I know its easier for everyone these days to donate online, but my preference would be for you to make checks payable to the foundation: MY STUFF BAGS FOUNDATION and mail to me. I will then mail checks to the foundation directly. This is the easiest way for me to be able to keep track. If you choose to donate online, go to their website and see DONATE button. In the comment field, put “For Funtanilla 40 mile Run” in the comment section. This will allow them to track donations for me.

If you need my mailing address, send me an email at afuntanilla@yahoo.com

Thank you for reading and for the support! It means the world!!

Cheers!