Virtually Inspired (A Mama Kat’s Writing Workshop Prompt)

This week, Mama Kat gives us an opportunity to share a photo of something that inspires us. I am celebrating my 200th blog post (!) and hope to mark the occasion by being a catalyst for good. First of all, meet my inspiration:

Brenya Elizabeth Sullivan

Brenya’s adorable face smiles out at me from Doug Welch’s Miles for Miracles page. Doug is running the 2011 Boston Marathon this year in honor of Brenya, who lived from March 8, 2009 to October 18, 2009. She had Polymicrogyria, a genetic brain malformation. Doug is a “charity” entrant into the Marathon, meaning that he has committed to raise $10,000 for Children’s Hospital Boston. “Luau” wrote a post explaining how the charity entries work and how much each charity entrant is putting on the line personally here.

How does all of this tie in with celebrating my 200th blog post? First of all, if you are reading this and if you have read any of my other blogs, thank you for listening to me prattle on and on about convenience store bathrooms, red velvet cupcakes, ways in which the English language is maligned, and the original topic I started blogging about: running.

Doug Welch is running for Brenya and for Children’s Hospital Boston, which “welcomes kids whose families can’t afford health care-more than any other hospital in Massachusetts. It makes a point of reaching out to local communities to help low-income and at-risk kids. And it really gets the importance of training the next generation of top pediatricians and nurses.”

Doug told me more about the moment when running and compassion merged for him:

I was almost 300 lbs and recovering from knee surgery when I decided to run the Boston Marathon for Brenya. When I applied for the “Miles for Miracles” team Brenya was still alive and her family were going to be my “patient partners.” Her father James is one of my best friends and my former roommate. I was literally in the parking lot of the funeral home on the day of her funeral when I got the phone call from Children’s to let me know I was on the team…” So, here I was, incredibly out of shape, with bad knees and a bad back, who’d never been able to run more than a few miles (as an adult), and I was committed to running the Boston Marathon. At Brenya’s funeral they handed-out purple Mardi-Gras beads (purple was Brenya’s favorite color, she ALWAYS responded positively to it) and I wore 2 pair of them on all of my long runs and races leading-up to the Marathon. I often had to reach down and grab them praying to Brenya for strength to get me through… I wore them in the Marathon and gave them to James and Shannah right after I finished in 4:14:09.

I am asking you to “celebrate” with me by generating 200 “actions” to help Doug out in his effort and, by so doing, to celebrate Brenya’s memory and help innumerable children who will need the services of Children’s Hospital Boston. Here are some suggestions:

1) Participate in Doug’s “Virtual 36K,” Miles for Miracles, this Sunday, 3/20/11! How often do you get to pick your own location and start time for a 5K, 10K, half marathon or marathon? It’s all explained on the event page, and your affordable entry fee (for example, $5 for a 5K) benefits Children’s Hospital Boston and qualifies you for “door prizes”! Every dollar will count toward “the 200 actions” (i.e. $10 for a 10K will leave us with 190 more “actions” to take).

2) Help get the word out! I know how stretched many of us are budget-wise, and I know not everyone is a runner/walker (YET!), but with the click of a button you can enlist others and help communicate about this cause.

Facebook:  Visit the event page and share it with your friends on Facebook!
Twitter:       Follow Doug here @reallynotarunnr
Tweet this:  Check out this virtual race that benefits a great cause! cc: @biggreenpen @reallynotarunnr Please RT
If you “don’t do” social media and you don’t walk or run, please know that your moral support counts too! You can email Doug a personal note of support at “reallynotarunner (at)”.

And if you could comment back or email me (opuswsk (at) to let me know you took action, I’ll do my best to keep track, hoping we reach 200 “somethings”!


Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

5 thoughts on “Virtually Inspired (A Mama Kat’s Writing Workshop Prompt)

  1. Signed up for the 5K and 10K…don't know if I have it in me to run all three races, but I did donate $26.20 (a dollar for every mile Doug will run on April 18th). Also posted on the Run Luau Run Facebook page, on dailymile and on Twitter. I do adore our network of runners!

  2. I'm so glad you shared this story. I retweeted this post, tweeted your suggested comment and shared this on Facebook. I will continue to do so. Good luck to the runners!

  3. Hi,
    I found you by way of the weekend blog hop on the Red Dress Club. Thank you for a beautiful story…I want to donate…but can't run. 🙂 I will post it on facebook and twitter also.
    Nice to meet you!

  4. (this is Paula) I received a very kind message from Brenya’s father today — it went on the Blogger version of this post so I did not show up here. I can’t express adequately what it means to know it brought him some measure of happiness that Brenya was remembered in this way. Here’s his comment: “Hi I am Brenya’s father. I was browsing the web to see where my daughters story had gone, who it had reached. I would like to thank you for helping my close friend Doug meet his goals for the Marathon runs he did in my little ones name. So much good came from her life, and you were a part of that.

    Thank you, all of you, for making her life effect the world in so many positive ways.”

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