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Running gives me time to think, clear my head, focus on something (or not!), and sometimes even gives me creative ideas. So I thought – why not write blog posts again?? Here’s to resurrecting my blog, the first entry in a long time!

Many of you already know that I retired at the end of 2016 from the day to day responsibilities at Push to Walk. While I continue to be involved and work with both the staff and the board, I can make my own schedule and do things on my own time.

However, on my visits back to our awesome new location in Oakland, NJ, I continue to interact with the clients and family members. Our clients face challenges every single day, a lot that we don’t see and most that we can’t even imagine. Every day, I know they all “push harder” because they have to. So that is my theme this week – week 5 – of my half marathon training program “Marathoning for Mortals.”

Each week, I have 3 days of running, 2 days of cross training and 2 rest days. One of my rest days usually includes tennis, but not every week. This past week, I really did not feel it was a rest day at all – it was a real workout, and fun, too!

As I think about the goal to “push harder,” I think about our clients, their families and loved ones, their communities and support systems. My mind wanders to the actual pushing of their own wheelchairs, family members who need to push their loved ones, and how this takes a toll on their bodies. But is a basic necessity of living life in a wheelchair. I also think about how our clients with spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, MS and CP “push” themselves to reach their goals. Whether it’s the number of reps or the amount of weight needed for an exercise, or it’s walking a number of steps or a certain distance, the challenges are many. All of our trainers push our clients to do their best, set goals, work towards those goals and celebrate success.

In fact, I think it was these very thoughts that helped Darren come up with the name Push to Walk in the first place! If my training program can help me stay focused on reaching my goals, reminding me of our clients and their challenges and successes, I will be a better runner and a better person for my efforts. Help me “push harder” this week by letting me know you are with me on this journey! Thank you!

Happy Monday Everyone! I hope you enjoyed the beautiful weekend (at least for my friends in NJ!). I hope it was nice wherever you were!

I recently came across a beautiful pillow in Darren’s closet that was made to commemorate a wonderful event. A group of 18 dedicated, caring and loving women participated in the MORE marathon, and team half marathon on April 10, 2005. Some of these women I knew better than others; some I did not know at all. Some were runners, some were walkers and ALL were “doing it for Darren.” Not only did they become part of the group to raise funds (which they did and was MUCH appreciated) but they provided motivation and support that they might not have even realized. After the event, they gathered at our house with their aches, pains, blisters, smiles and medals. They had accomplished their goals and we were all so proud of them and their efforts to support us.

Darren’s spinal cord injury had only happened 9 months before. Our emotions were raw, our world was turned upside down, and our uncertainty was ever-present. But here were these women who decided to support us. Through their efforts and commitment, they showed us what “community” was all about. They showed us love, support and companionship. They also showed me the power of running.

It had been many, many years since I had run for any reason. But I am so thankful to my friend Liz Schecter, who organized this group, and later encouraged me to get back into running. Since a fateful conversation on New Year’s Day in 2007 (I am not 100% sure of the date, but I think it’s correct!), I have completed two full marathons and two half marathons. In just 6 days I will run my third half marathon.

Thank you to Liz, Maryann, Terry, Kelly, Trish, Meg, Christine, Cyndy, Diane, Lisa, Laura, Linda, Denise, Lynette, Teresa, Pam, Tammy and Erica for what you gave us 10 years ago and how your gift has provided me with a way to focus on goals, deal with a life-changing event, challenge myself and SO MUCH MORE. I am forever grateful…………

If you would like to help me in my own version of “Do It For Darren” and for all of our Push to Walk clients, please click here to donate, or come to Long Branch this Sunday, April 26 and cheer on Team Push to Walk!

Thank you, Cynthia

 

Happy Monday everyone! We finally had some warmer temperatures and sunshine this weekend – yay! A sure sign that spring has finally arrived!!

With warmer weather comes the opportunity to take part in outdoor activities (better than shoveling snow!). Come outdoors and join us on April 26 in Long Branch and surrounding towns as several of our Push to Walk clients take part in either the full or half marathon. Some are cycling themselves; others are raising funds as part of the event and I am running for them. Check out my story here.

Our clients work hard everyday to accomplish the smallest of things we able-bodied people take for granted. Whether it’s personal care, eating, going out and about – it all takes extra effort and planning from the moment they open their eyes in the morning. Some of our clients need more assistance than others; some are quite independent. In either case, the exercise and strengthening they receive at Push to Walk helps them do more for themselves and live more independently.

Please become a part of our team, and our client teams, by supporting us in this event. Check out the link here to see the entire list of team members. Then check out the stories of Alan, Darren, Gabe, Kevin and Lois. Their determination and commitment to help themselves is evident in their stories. I’m also very proud that so many of our staff members are joining us: Cory, Christine, Jackie, Kendra, Nick and Tommy. Our Board Chair Bob Snyder and his wife Mandi put together another awesome team this year, and several friends and family members round out the group.

I hope you’ll make a donation, spread the word for us, and come cheer us on! Help our Push to Walk clients achieve their goals!

Thanks, Cynthia

Hello Everyone,

I have been running and training for the past 11+ weeks to be ready for the April 26th Half Marathon in Long Branch, NJ. Thank you to everyone who has supported me so far with your motivational comments, compliments and donations! Every single message I receive helps keep me going!

When I was about halfway through my training, I added up all the miles I had been running (mostly on the treadmill) and biking on my stationary bike. I needed to see just how many miles I had covered. I was surprised but pleased to see I had run almost 95 miles and biked almost 170! That number has increased now, since it’s been a few weeks ago I added everything up. I’m also pleased to report that my body has been holding up pretty well, too!

This past Saturday I ran 10 miles at the shore. The temperature was nice and the sun was shining but it was really windy. Good training, I figured, since it is often windy on the course I’ll be running. Halfway through I felt really good, and at the end (with the wind at my back, thankfully!) I practically flew toward my house! I felt good, strong and optimistic that I could do 13 miles in three weeks from now.

As I think about these final weeks of training, I am motivated by the Push to Walk clients I’ll be running for. As most of you know, Push to Walk provides specialized exercise workouts to people with spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, MS and stroke. Often, the biggest obstacle a person encounters when finding a program like ours is the cost. While we are not “expensive” compared to other programs and therapies, the cost is prohibitive to many people. So I am running to raise funds for so many clients who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford what Push to Walk offers: the opportunity to live a higher quality of life by becoming stronger, healthier and more independent. Please check out the link to my fundraising page, and consider making a donation of any amount that will help people take advantage of our program. They are committed and dedicated to working hard and staying strong and healthy – will you help them???

Thanking you in advance for your encouragement and support. Together, we can make a difference!

Link to my fund raising page for the Long Branch Half Marathon on April 26, 2015.

Hello everyone, and Happy New Year! I hope 2015 brings health, happiness and joy to your lives!

Yesterday was the actual day of Push to Walk’s 8th anniversary!! Wow! When I look back to all that has happened in 8 years, it is hard to comprehend it all. As a still young but growing organization, I believe we have a great combination of motivated clients, dedicated staff, active Board members and committee volunteers, and generous donors.  All of these groups contribute to the sustainability and growth of Push to Walk, of which I am very proud. So many people have contributed to our success, and I am grateful to each and every one of you, for whatever it is you have helped us with (more people than I can count; more things than I can remember!).

As a nonprofit entity providing a very valuable (and otherwise not available) service to our clients and their families, friends and others with paralysis, it is sometimes forgotten that we must run as an efficient business as well. I am trying to focus on this aspect of the business in 2015, always keeping in mind that first and foremost we are a mission-driven, people-based organization. We exist to provide the highest quality of service, 100% of the time, to help our clients reach their goals and live a higher quality of life.

With your support, we will continue this pursuit of excellence, continue to grow as an organization and as individuals, and continue our quest to help so many people on their journeys in life that have connected us. Thank you for believing in us, and “pushing” with us!

Cynthia

Merry Merry Christmas!

I wish everyone in our Push to Walk family a very Merry Christmas! I hope you enjoy family, friends, caring and sharing this holiday season. May you enjoy celebrating with those you love, cherishing the gifts of time spent together, family bonds and friendship. I am blessed to have all of you in my life, and am thankful to know you and your families. Our Push to Walk family holds a special place in my heart, and I am grateful to our wonderful and dedicated staff, motivated clients, supportive families, generous donors and good friends  who, together, make it all happen! Thank you for all you do for me, our clients, our program and our organization. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Love Cynthia

Hello everyone & happy Friday!

We are so excited that Giving Tuesday was a success for Push to Walk! It was our first foray into this now nationwide trend, and what a great idea it was to participate. Thank you to our staff members Stephanie and Anthony for coordinating the effort; for our trainers, aides and board members for jumping in, and to those who either commented or donated as a result. What a great team effort – THANK YOU! I know I enjoyed showing everyone that even I can do push-ups! We have a tough crowd in our Push to Walk gym everyday to compete with, so I was glad to do my part! Check out our Facebook page to see all of our fun videos!

I learned yesterday that one of our matching gift employers committed to matching 150% of employee donations made on Giving Tuesday, so that is awesome! It is great to see Corporate America continuing their philanthropic efforts and participating in this “new” event to help non-profit organizations.

With the donations we receive at the end of the year, and all year long, you can be sure we are using these contributions to help so many people with spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, MS and stroke to live more independently, live a higher quality of life and participate in their communities. While clients do pay for their workouts, even those fees are not enough to cover our operating expenses. We pride ourselves on operating as efficiently as possible to keep all costs reasonable and scrutinize every expense, including administrative salaries. When you support Push to Walk, you are directly helping our clients, investing in their futures. If you’d like to make a donation, click here.

Thank you, and enjoy the weekend!  Cynthia