I had to share this from a friend's Facebook post because this is what I live everyday and didn't realize it. I've been told how inspirational I have been since the days of 12/14/2014 and I would always smile and say thank you, not really feeling I was an inspiration. Today, I read this and now I understand. I thank each and everyone of you that have listened to our story and have been inspired by my family. It has been a spiritual journey of new beginnings honoring one of the three most precious gifts in our lives. I share the story of our amazing son because of the love we shared. The remarkable life he lived in 7 years is the reason I have come to know my life's purpose. This is that post:
“Tell me your dreams,” I asked a group of young Girl Scouts gathered in 2nd grade classroom. “What do you hope to accomplish?”
One by one, their small hands raised triumphantly. Veterinarian. Singer on The Voice. Pro basketball player. Robot inventor. Olympic Ice Skater. Teacher. Published Author.
“But what if someone says, ‘You don’t have a chance’? What if someone says, ‘You’re no good’?” I challenged.
“Don’t listen to them!” one girl fired back.
That’s when I leaned in and told the girls what TO listen to—and I believe this applies to anyone of any age who has a passion or a dream …
“Listen to your heart when you hold that basketball. Listen to your heart when you take that pencil in your hand and can’t stop writing. Think about what it feels like to sing at the top of your lungs. Think about what it feels like to do something you love to do. But don’t stop there. Share that incredible feeling with someone else. Because if we share OUR remarkable thing, someone else might notice his or her remarkable thing.
So maybe you don’t make it to The Voice. Maybe you don’t make the pros or land a book deal. That doesn’t mean you didn’t succeed. Maybe sharing your journey, your dream, or what excites your heart IS the achievement. Maybe inspiring someone else to see his or her life differently IS the success.”
As I walked out of the school holding my daughter's hand, I decided now, more than ever, we must speak of remarkable things … now, when undivided attention is a rare and priceless commodity … now, when we too often choose glowing screens over shining sunlight … now, when digital notifications take precedence over soul-to-soul connection. Now more than ever, we must speak of the remarkable things that make our heart sing … that fill our eyes with tears … that bring beauty, comfort, and joy to our ordinary, mundane lives.
Because you never know who might be listening … and using your dream to envision her own.
© Rachel Macy Stafford 2014
Rebecca Kowalski named as one of the "Inspiring Women of 2014" by the WNBA Connecticut Sun
Rebecca Kowalski will be honored by the WNBA Connecticut Sun as one of the "Inspiring Women of 2014" along with Jody Rell, former Governor of CT and , Heather Ciarletto, a Wethersfield High School student who created an anti-bullying program in her community. The ceremony will take place at the Mohegan Sun Arena at half time of the Connecticut Sun basketball game on Saturday, June 7th, 2014. If you would like to attend the game, tickets can be secured at the following website: Connecticut Sun.
CMAK Completes Fundraising to Achieve Matching Grant
CMAK and the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program completed the fundraising campaign to qualify for the $13,135.00 matching grant provided by Dick's Sporting Goods. Monies raised from the Crazy 8 Ride4Chase, Color Me Rad 5k and other key donations from the Ct State Troopers Association and the St Philip Neri Church of Ft Mill SC were put toward reaching the goal. Thank you for everyone who supported this effort and we also thank Dick’s Sporting Goods for this opportunity to participate which will contribute to our expansion of the Race4Chase Kid’s triathlon program and assist us in fulfilling our mission.
We should receive the matching grant from Dick's Sporting Goods by mid June and the monies will be put toward to expansion of the Race4Chase Kid's Triathlon program locally and nationally.
Race4Chase Kid’s Triathlon July 13th:
REGISTRATION NOW OPEN and VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
Registration for the 1st Annual Race4Chase Kid’s Triathlon is now open!! There will be a limit of 220 participants on a first come, first serve basis through the online registration process. The Race4Chase Kid's Triathlon will take place at Great Hollow Lake at Wolfe Park in Monroe CT. This swim/bike/ run competition will be open for youth ages 6 through 12 with races beginning at 9am. Distances for each leg of the race will be determined by age group and according to USA Triathlon standards. Please refer to www.race4chase.com website for more information. CMAK will be in need of a significant number of volunteers including registered lifeguards and medical aides to help stage this family friendly event. Please consider helping us as a volunteer at this special event .
Race4Chase Kid's Triathlon Program Selects Participants
Participants in the first Race4Chase Kid's Triathlon program have been selected at each of the three 2014 sites by the respective YMCAs, Waterbury, Danbury and Trumbull. There may be the chance to squeeze in another few prospective triathletes, so please check with your local program for availability. New bikes have been ordered with the support of the Ct State Troopers Association, Race4Chase swim caps and goggles for each athlete has arrived care of Blue Seventy and TIMEX, helmets are on their way from USA Triathlon and Frito Lay. In early June, coaches and instructors will undergo training to administer the Race4Chase Kid's Triathlon's six week training program. All the above are in anticipation of the start of the training program which will begin on June 26th and culminate on August 2nd with the "Finale" triathlon, USA Triathlon sanction event at Camp Mataucha in Watertown CT. The program will feature training in all three disciplines, maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle and guest appearances from professional triathletes to give participants a view into the elite competitors of the sport.
Thank you for a Successful Crazy 8 Ride4Chase!
It is with humble hearts that we send our thanks and gratitude for all those who helped make the first annual Crazy 8’s Ride4Chase a success. We would like to thank our gracious host and owner of Molto Bene Italian American Kitchen for his hospitality and the delicious food both before and after the ride. Thank you to the Ansonia Little League for the use of their parking lot. We’d also like to thank Mullett for providing their talent as well as Scott Schroeder for his D.J. services. Special thanks to Father Victor Martin for his beautiful and touching prayer.
Our event could also not have been the success it was without the generous donations from the following people and businesses: our stop sponsors; Leaps of Faith, Westport Day School, CLM Landscaping, and Ron Eastwood. The businesses who “opened their doors” for our stops; M&D Roxbury Garage, Popey’s Ice Cream and Deli, Paddy’s Pantry, and Schreiber’s Farm. Our raffle prizes were generously donated by the following businesses, organizations, and people: Bridgeport Bluefish and PSE&G, Mullett, Two Roads Brewery, Top and Bottom Cleaning Service, Barbara Ferrigno, Prime 111, Dew Drop Inn, MacDaddy’s, Buffalo Bills, Westport Day School, John Crispeno of Manheim Auto Auction, GG’s Wood Fired Pizza, Carl Anthony’s, American Stone and Design, Bead of Roses, Massage Enjoy of Brookfield, Studio 57 Sound, Ives Concert Park, New England ATV-Motorcross, and Art Maybeck Septic.
Thank you to Spartacus Chooch, the therapy dog, and his dad Brad for making a visit and greeting riders along the route. Also, thank you to Kevin Ward for bringing the Sandy Hook Durango out and making sure everyone got back okay. We are also grateful for help with our design, printing, and signage from Bob Terry of Grow360, Joe Plecia of Success Printing, Gary Boros of New Milford Printing, Scott Wilson of Drew Design, and Mark Haversat of Robbins Tesar, Inc.
Lastly, a HUGE thank you to the many volunteers who helped out before, during, and after the event. We truly could not have made this event the success it was without your time and efforts! Together we created and hosted an event that will continue to bring support and understanding for the foundation and it’s goals. Again, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Crazy 8 Ride4Chase Team
Ragnar Relay Cape Cod Race4Chase
May 9-10, 2014
By Christina Hansen
(pictured from left to right are Marcia Williams Hayden, Sherrin Vail, Zach Brown, Karen Muizulis Coffey and Christina Klimkowski Hansen)
“I have a race you might be interested in”. That is how the adventure began – with that subtle inquiry from a friend. She continued “I am putting together a team of 12 people to run across Cape Cod as part of the Ragnar Relay. The race goes for two days, you probably won’t get any sleep because you will run at night, you’ll be in a van with 5 other people when you aren’t running, and if you are lucky you’ll get 1 hot shower along the way. Are you in?” Who could resist?
When our team of 12 was complete we had four graduates from the Masuk High School class of 1985: Karen (Muizulis) Coffey, Marcia (Williams) Hayden, Christina (Klimkowski) Hansen, and Pete Swanson. Our fellow teammates included Sherrin Vail, Zach Brown, Mike Armstrong, Sarah Zimmerman, James Mahoney, David Valli, Maria LaRose and Christine Watson. The spirit of the race being teamwork, camaraderie and support, along with the representation from Monroe made it a natural fit for us to sign up as a Race4Chase team. All 12 teammates received a Remember Chase pin to wear during training as well as during the race. We were then honored to be asked to carry a Race4Chase baton during our run across Cape Cod.
Starting in Hull, MA, the non-stop relay race took us through scenic, historic towns, along busy streets, narrow trails and the beautiful Cape Cod coastline, all with plenty of hills along the way. Our team was split into two vans of 6 people. Once van 1 completed their first series of runs, van 2 picked up the baton and ran our legs. This repeated three times with each person running a total of 3 separate legs at all hours of the day and night. When we weren’t running ourselves, we were catching up with our teammates to cheer them on and offering plenty of encouragement to other runners. Our team and the Race4Chase baton traveled 192 miles in 30 hours, 4 minutes, and 27 seconds to finish the run in Provincetown, MA.
Upon completing the race we found a team who truly represents the spirit of the CMAK Foundation and Race4Chase and ceremoniously passed the baton to them. They are avid runners who also swim and bike. Sarah Dombrowski, the first to accept the baton, is a graduate from Eastern CT State University where she was a four year member and senior captain of the swim team. Sarah has been running since 2011 and is looking forward to running her first half marathon in June. She will proudly carry the Race4Chase baton during her next race. The baton will be shared amongst all 11 of her other Ragnar teammates where it may even be part of a triathalon. Once each team member has carried the baton they plan on bringing it to Santa Clarita, CA, where Sarah’s friend who introduced her to running will take the baton and it will continue its journey.
(Sarah Dombrowski and her Cape Cod Ragnar Relay Team)
Thanks to supportive friends and family, our Ragnar Relay Race4Chase team raised $ 3,170 for the CMAK Foundation and once again we were honored to run with the Race4Chase baton in memory of Chase and to carry on the spirit, love and energy that it represents.
See www.race4chase.com for more photos from the weekend.
Color Me Rad – Race4Chase
The Race4Chase team gathered to participate in the Color Me Rad 5k event In Hartford, Ct on April 26th, 2014. This is an event where photos can tell the whole story....color bombs flying everywhere, no one was left untouched, fun had by all....Checkout the photo gallery.
On top of a great time had by all, we received a donation from the race organizers amounting to $525.00 based upon the registrants of our team. In addition, we have submitted this donation against the matching grant of the Dick's Sporting Goods "Sport Matters" Program, effectively doubling the impact for CMAK.
Urgent Reminder: Volunteer at the Rev-3 Quassy Olympic Triathlon
Race4Chase, the official volunteer sponsor of the Rev-3 Olympic Triathlon Finish Line, is looking for volunteers for next weekend. Please join us on May 31st to help stage this International Caliber Triathlon while earning donations to CMAK from the race organizers. There are volunteering opportunities for May 30th (packet pick up), May 31st (Olympic distance race) and June 1st (70.3 distance race) which will all count for the donation if you note your Race4Chase team affiliation when signing up. Bob Terry will be the captain of the Race4Chase volunteer squad and can be contacted at email@example.com with any questions.
While volunteering at the race you can cheer on the Race4Chase team competing in the Triathlon. The team currently consists of Cathy Kost, John Williams, Brian Pogue, Tim DiScipio and Kevin Grimes who will tackle the challenging hills on the olympic distance course (32 miles).
Sprint for Monroe and Race4Chase
CMAK is partnering for the second year with the organizers of the Sprint for Monroe 5K race to raise funds. There are two different ways the event will benefit CMAK:
1. The Linda's Story Time Race4Chase Kids' Fun Run: The Kids' Fun Run at the Sprint for Monroe has always been a fun event, but never a fundraiser. Chase Kowalski ran this event several times before graduating to the full 5K in 2012. Last year, a group of parents whose children knew Chase through preschool, banded together to turn the Fun Run into the Race4Chase Kids' Fun Run. They raised funds through sponsorships, donations and increased turnout to the event.
2. Signing up for the Race4Chase team and running or walking the Sprint for Monroe 5K. All you need to do is sign up and designate yourself as part of Race4Chase team during the sign up at www.sprintformonroe.com. It costs nothing to tag yourself this way, but the Sprint will give $5 for every sign up through the Race4Chase team to CMAK. If you have already signed up for the race, you can simply email the race director and ask to have your registration designated as part of Team Chase.
We hope to have as many friends and supporters as possible at the Sprint for Monroe on June 1st. Hope to see you there!
Race4Chase Baton Update
Baton #1- (Bethel High School Track)
The last news was that the baton remains with Shawn Delaney and we await his report.
Baton #2- (Trumbull Lakewood YMCA)
Still A.W.O.L. If anyone has any information concerning its whereabouts, please advise CMAK.
- (Remains with Kowalski family on fireplace mantel)
, Fort Mill SC has now targeted a summer Ultramarathon for the baton pass.
passed the baton to Christy Jones
at the All American Marathon at Fort Bragg, NC and Christy then completed the Kinetic Half Triathlon in Virginia. She was not satisfied with her results and has decided to hold on to the baton and pursue another competition....stay tuned!
Christina Hansen and the Cape Cod Ragnar Relay Race4Chase team
passed the baton to Sarah Dombrowski
who will run her first half marathon in June. Sarah will then pass the baton to her teammates. We will follow the batons progress throughout the summer.
is competing in the Vermont Marathon in Burlington on Sunday May 25th, 2014. She will pass the baton from this, the 5th Marathon in her quest to run one in each State, to her sister, Shawn Flanagan
, who will take the first baton to Canada for the Calgary Marathon (Full/Half) on June 1st.
A big thanks to RELAYBATONS.com
for donating all the Race4Chase batons for this program and also for use in our Race4Chase Kid’s Triathlon program this summer.
Erin Flanagan passes Race4Chase baton while capturing 3rd at All American Marathon
Erin Flanagan passed the next Race4Chase baton to Christy Jones of Fort Bragg, NC after she finished 3rd overall woman in the Inaugural All American Marathon staged by the Army at Fort Bragg, NC . The All American Marathon was Erin's 4th marathon in her quest to run a marathon in each state for Chase. Her time of 3:33 was close to her best despite the hilly course and rising temperatures. Kevin Grimes, also pictured above, competed well in the half marathon, capturing 1st in his age group (50-54) in a time of 1:27.
Erin met Christy, a volunteer for Generation UCAN, at the All American event after the race. She is racing the Kinetic Half Ironman triathlon in Virginia and was eager and honored to be part of the Race4Chase baton program. After this, her first Half Ironman, she will pass the baton to some other deserving athlete.
The weekend was also highlighted by the presence of Meb Keflezighi, two time US Olympian, silver medalist and inspirational winner of the 2014 Boston Marathon. Meb is a spokesperson for Generation UCAN and was in attendance to speak at the event and start the race. Meb is pictured below congratulating Erin after her marathon. See Photo Gallery for more pictures of the event.
The following video with Erin Flanagan is compliments of Channel ABC Fayetteville and filmed just prior to the start of the marathon.
We thank our partners, Generation UCAN, for all their support during the weekend. Please view the inspirational Generation UCAN video which captures the atmosphere of the weekend.