It's time for me to spread some positivity out into the world. I'm tired of seeing and reading all of the negative stuff going on everywhere.
Have you ever had a child in NICU of the children’s hospital?
Have you had a family member or friend battle cancer?
Do you have a friend or family member who has lost their child?
Do you have a friend or family member who has lost their life to cancer?
The above situations have affected me, my family, and many of my friends. I have spent years trying to figure out what to do. How to give back. How to create awareness. How to raise money. How to help these families in need.
What these families go though is devastating. It’s traumatizing. It’s gut wrenching. And it’s painful. They spend hours with their loved ones in the hospital, and then drive through the night to get to work. To get to the rest of their family. They punish their bodies and make sacrifices for those whom they love that are in need.
What I will be doing pales in comparison to what these families endure during these terrible times.
On September 10th of 2007, my family could not have been more elated. My little sister gave birth to my first nephew, the first grand-baby. The first little one of the family. This was a freaking awesome time. So much happiness. The first baby in the family was born. And his name was Forrest.
Shortly after birth, Forrest developed complications and was transported to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, where he fought valiantly for life for 55 days before his illness overtook him. While in the PICU, Forrest and our family underwent an indescribable journey of highs and lows. Amidst the daily struggles, my sister Brittany and her husband David Spence were met with a compassion and love that gave them hope and helped them survive the most difficult journey of their lives. It was in these times that they tasted deeply of the kindness of friends and perfect strangers. It was often that kindness that sustained them, as they grew weary.
In light of this experience, the Forrest Spence Fund was founded to assist with the non-medical needs of critically or chronically ill children and their families throughout the Mid-South.
The Spences view this as a way for them and for others to support families dealing with similar difficult situations and to give back to regional children's hospitals like Le Bonheur, where the amazing medical staff fought for Forrest and continues to fight for thousands of other children each year.
Since 2007, my sister has helped families all over the South and throughout Tennessee, and are now working with Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville and most recently Erlanger Children's Hospital in Chattanooga.
As Brittany and I have been discussing ways that I could help bring awareness to what she does, raise some money, and merge this all together with Ironman, the idea was born. The challenge was created. The journey was set.
What are we doing?
IRONMAN TRIATHLON - SWIM 2.4 MILES / BIKE 112 MILES / RUN 26.2 MILES / BRAG FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE
IRONMAN Maryland takes place on Saturday September 29th in Cambridge, Maryland.
IRONMAN Chattanooga takes place on Sunday September 30th in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
These 2 locations are 700 miles apart.
To the best of my knowledge, 2 IRONMAN Races have never been in the US like this on back to back days where this to be a possibility. So, my friends and I are going to race the first on Saturday. Finish in under 12 hours, get in a car. Drive through the night to Chattanooga and race the next one at 7 AM on Sunday.
How did this come about?
Well for one. We started talking about this long before the recent 50/50/50 that circulated. I’ve always been inspired by what Iron Cowboy did with his 50 IRONMAN events in 50 States in 50 Days conquest. Personally, I could never do that. But I was still inspired. And then I got to witness Luis Alvarez in either 2014 Race IRONMAN Mallorca in Spain on a Saturday, charter a plane to Chattanooga, and race IRONMAN Chattanooga on Sunday. That seems amazing in itself, but when chatting with Luis yesterday, he said it was easier because with the 6 hour time change, they had 18 hours to recover between the 2 vs. the 12 hours we are going to have. And the flight was 5 hours vs. an 11 hour drive.
So, at IRONMAN Lake Placid this summer, my favorite #Ironfan and I were chatting out on the course. He told me he was planning to do it, so I asked if I could join him. One thing leads to another. I mention it to Luis. And now 3 of us are doing this crazy adventure together.
And, if you didn't happen to hear the news, Lauralee and I are 5 months away from our first child as well. Talk about a wake up call. It completely puts a new perspective on life and perspectives.
How will you manage the logistics?
I own BASE Performance, and so I have decided to make sure all of our costs are covered by BASE. We are flying one employee of BASE, Nick Granet, to Maryland who’s job will be to make sure the RV is ready to go and loaded. Nick will get our bikes and gear out of transition and loaded into the RV so that as soon as we cross the finish line we can get in the RV and go. Nick will be driving us through the night to Chattanooga. We are also flying another BASE employee, Rachel Olson, to Chattanooga. She will be waiting for us when we arrive Sunday morning and will coordinate everything we need in Chattanooga. IRONMAN has been amazing through all of this. None of this would be possible without the amazing support of IRONMAN. I can’t say enough positive things about the team over there for their help in pulling this off.
We will have 3-5 sets of battery operated Normatec Boots in the RV for recovery. This is the greatest invention to help our legs recover from something as crazy as this.
I have decided to raise money for two charities which I care about. The first is the one I described above, The Forrest Spence Fund. The second is the FC Cancer Foundation. I chose this organization as my mom has been dealing with breast cancer for over 15 years, and I have other friends such as Brenda Wilhite who continue to show me each day how they are kicking cancer in the butt.
How will I raise the money?
I have set up a fundraising page through the IRONMAN Foundation. You can view it HERE. I chose to work with the Ironman Foundation because I truly believe in their mission, I 100% believe in their Director Sarah Hartmann’s goals and mission, and I honestly believe they do a lot of good in the communities where we as athletes get to race. So I wanted to work with them in order to create awareness for them as well.
If someone were to donate money through my IRONMAN Foundation portal, 46% of the funds would go directly to the Forrest Spence Fund, and 46% would go directly to the FC Cancer Foundation. The remaining 8% is broken down as follows: 3% in cc transaction fee’s, 3% to crowdrise who hosts the portal, and 2% for foundation administration fee’s. I am 100% on board with this breakdown as I understand there is a cost of doing business with credit card transactions.
Click HERE to read some of the IRONMAN Foundation FAQ's about fundraising through their portal.
If someone were to want to write a check specific to one of the two organizations, then 100% of those funds would go directly to that organization. If you want to write the check, you can mail it to our BASE Performance office in Boulder. We want the checks sent here as we plan to present the Forrest Spence checks to them at their annual Christmas with Santa Dinner in Memphis in December. And we will present all of the checks to FC in December as well. I want to personally send thank you notes to everyone who writes a check as well, so we need them to come there.
Full transparency. Do not make a check payable to me or to BASE Performance.
100% of the money raised will go to the organizations. BASE Performance is covering the cost of the RV, the gas, expenditures. Etc. We want to make sure that the organizations are not having to lose any donation money from our fun challenge.
You can mail them to:
6880 Winchester Circle
Boulder CO 80301
What is my goal with all of this?
How Can You Follow Along With My Training And The Race Over The Next Month?
I will be posting about all of this via my Instagram page iMattMiller. (just like iPhone). We will be doing stories, videos, all the phone stuff. So I hope you follow along and enjoy the journey. You can also follow my Facebook page.
What If You Want To Join In This Challenge With US?
We have room for a total of 5 athletes. Here are the stipulations.
In conclusion. Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you want to donate some money. GREAT. If you want to share what we are doing. EVEN BETTER. If you want to volunteer for either of the 2 organizations, I WILL LOVE YOU FOREVER. If this motivates you to go out and make the world a better place. YOU ARE MY HERO. If I have inspired just one person to make a difference, I HAVE ACCOMPLISHED MY GOAL.
We can all do superhuman things if we put our minds to it.It doesn't have to be via completing 2 IRONMAN races in 2 days. This is just what I sorta think I'm OK at.
In conclusion. I really want this goodness to share. So please share what we are doing with others. Most importantly, please leave a comment below with what you are going to do with this inspiration. Whether that is donate some money, run your own, or go volunteer somewhere. Please leave a comment below and I will get it posted ASAP so we can all read and be inspired by what others are doing as well.
Do I think this is going to be hard?? Yes, 100%. Absolutely. It will not be easy. I will have to endure a lot. But as I said in the beginning. This is nothing of a struggle compared to what many others have to deal with on a daily basis.
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