Sunday, April 28, 2013

Why I Keep Wearing The Same 3 Outfits

The Boston Marathon bombings shook me up on a lot of levels. Having run 6 marathons myself, I know what a huge deal it is to cross a marathon finish line. The marathon (any marathon) is a celebration of lengthy, dedicated training.

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.

Thanks for checking in. I really appreciate that you do.


Kylie said...

The bombings were quite terrible. I was shocked when I read that there were few people that died that day. I was really inspired how many people that were running the marathon kept running after they crossed the line to give blood. It just shows how amazing people are.

That is really amazing what you did with the award money. So many people new help and its amazing people like you that help them get what they need.

I hope everyone has a great week!


Colton said...

Wow, I didn't know about that -- good for you for donating the award money!

Also, it turns out the Boston Bronies are hosting a charity music thingy to help raise money for the relief effort. I can't attend (because I'm here and Boston is there) but Imma go donate.

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Thanks Kylie, and go Bronies!

Jessica said...

In addition to being a runner, I'm an Irish dancer. Jane Richard (the little sister of Martin, who was killed) is an Irish dancer, too -- and she lost a leg. Their mom also suffered serious injuries (including a brain injury). The Irish dance community has rallied together, raising money for the family, and one family thought they'd make a "small quilt" of Irish dance t-shirts for Jane. Their project (Wrapping Jane in Our Love on Facebook) has already received over 450 t-shirts (and a few world champion medals) from Irish dance schools around the world.

While a quilt is a nice tangible sign that people care, it doesn't help pay for all the therapy, prostheses, and gas and time to get to all the appointments. Fortunately, people recognize that and are doing fundraisers in addition to the quilt(s). I don't know if there's an "Irish dance" prosthesis, but hopefully Jane will be dancing again soon.

Hopefully all the victims will be getting back to their favorite activities soon. Like in "The Running Dream," the finish line is a new starting line, not just for those immediately affected, but for all of us, bringing our communities closer together, kindling a renewed spirit of generosity and solidarity after so much bitterness and divisiveness in the country in recent years.

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Beautifully said, Jessica.

Harriet said...

That was a really inspiring article, thanks for sharing it :) You are a great person for donating the money to the victims! Go, Wendelin!

Jessica said...

Oh, I missed the link to the article. That was truly inspiring. I wish they'd recorded the presentation and posted it online.

Kylie said...

Okay this is a totally off topic question, but what happened to mr. Vince? I am guessing he got fired, I hope he got fired. Is Sammy's history teacher better now? And I am also guessing she didn't play softball but if Vince is gone who coached? Rothhammer? I have been thinking a lot about Sammy lately, at least more than lately.


Isabel said...

The bombings was a big shock to me. when i heard that some people dies, including a child, my heart was...torn, really. I actually donated a whole lot of stuff, too.
Those who did get injured, I hope they recover, and nothing else happens to them.
And it's true, the 'there are bad guys, but there are also so many good guys.' and 'look at the bright side of stuff.' and so many more.
I think that for all those people who did lose there limbs would love The Running Dream, because it's so emotional and inspirational.
My friend read The Running Dream, somewhere during the Bombing Week, (Devil's Week as people called it)she said it was a great book, that really touched her.
For me, it opened my eyes, truly.
Again, those who did get hurt in the bombing, or lost their family, recover from the terrible, horrific shock.

Karen said...

When I read about all the leg injuries, the first thing to cross my mind was Running Dream, and how glad I am that it ... exists. So people have something to turn to to know I am not alone. and We will get through this. and This is something your loved one might be experiencing, or maybe This is something this person you know casually might be experiencing. Not that this will be their only resource, of course, but having it in novel or film or TV form gives people who are not directly affected more of a chance to ... be cognizant, and perhaps avoid causing one of those little injustices so common from well-meaning but clueless people.

Dammit, life is hard enough before people start doing horrible things to each other. But thanks for helping me to be a little less clueless.