Well, it's a painful, exhausting celebration, but still.
The senseless violence at the finish line would have shaken me up, regardless, but having some experience with what it means to complete a marathon (and what it means to have people on the sidelines supporting the effort) greatly magnified the impact on me.
And then there were the victims. That sweet-looking 8 year old boy who lost his life, and then all those people who lost limbs. Having researched and written The Running Dream, I'm acutely aware of what adapting to the loss of a limb will mean to these people, and it set me on a mission last week to send them money to help out. There's been good coverage on TV and now it's swirling around the Internet, and their funds are growing. Some even seem full. But I know that it's going to be a life-long physical and financial challenge to attempt to replicate what was ripped from their lives.
Regular readers here know that The Running Dream won the Schneider award for its portrayal of the disability experience. What you probably don't know is that, of all the wonderful, prestigious ALA awards like the Newbery and the Caldecott, etc., the Schneider is one that also comes with a monetary award.
When I got the call, the Schneider committee reminded me of the award and encouraged me to buy a new outfit. I think they must have researched me on the internet and discovered that I'm wearing the same 3 things in all the pictures.
I did not buy a new outfit. (I wore one of my favorite 3 things to the ceremony.) What I did instead was give half of my prize money to charities associated with the people who helped me research The Running Dream. It seemed like the right thing to do.
The other half I squirreled away. Until this week, when I decided to take it, match it, and divide it among the funds for the victims. It doesn't work out to be much apiece, but it seems like the most appropriate thing to do with what I've got. (So no making fun of my same old outfits, okay?)
Just one more thing: A middle school in New England used The Running Dream as a school-wide read and incorporated it into a several day program that included amputees and inspirational guest speaker / demonstrators. Here's how the article begins...
BEDFORD - Edward Joyce, principal of Ross A. Lurgio Middle School, wanted to remind his students - in light of all that's happened in Boston and its neighboring suburbs this week - that while "there are some bad guys in the world, there's way more good guys."
If you're interested in reading more of the article (it's really inspiring), click here.
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