Endure-athon

For me, September has always been a special month. Football is back, comfort clothing makes a triumphant return, landscapes morph into a crispy, pumpkin color (some might say a nice pumpkin-spice shade... depends on who you ask), and all seems right with the world.

Well. Almost.

In the summer of 2014, I found myself spiraling into one of those YouTube binge sessions. You know what I’m talking about - one minute I’m watching D Rose highlights (still waiting on “The Return” btw) and the next minute I’m watching Aaron Rodgers toss the pigskin around with Jack Bartosz, a young, bright spark diagnosed with cancer.

Their untraditional friendship was special even coming from a Bears fan. I don’t know what it was about that story but I pictured myself right there with them, laughing and supporting one another. As their friendship blossomed, Jack’s health started to deteriorate, eventually leading to his passing in 2012.

In her brother’s memory, Annie started her own charity aimed at raising awareness for pediatric cancer. Her goal? Turn September gold just as October is recognized by the color pink for breast cancer awareness month.

I’ve always had a soft spot for kids battling life-changing obstacles (I hope we all do), but this story... Man. It struck a cord. Being able to help kids get back on their feet was one of the reasons I decided to major in Pre-MED, and right there I knew that if I didn’t do something, anything, I’d immediately regret it.

That day, I called up my close friends and asked them if they’d be interested in hosting our own fundraiser to help turn September gold. I called up the organization that Annie started and pitched them the idea, and they said they were looking to make more of a splash with the collegiate scene, and the rest was history.

That year we raised $1,500 dollars+ for patients at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Maybe that’s not a lot to some, but it was the start I needed. It ignited in me a deeper fire to continually up the ante every year to support these patients, families, and communities going through these challenging times.

Which brings me to this year.

I wanted to do something outside the box. Something that not only challenged me but also helps contribute to the goal of raising awareness of pediatric cancer. Right there, 2 things came to mind: Running and Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. 

“DeAnna, it's me, Peter. I got an idea that I wanted to run past you,” I said to my go-to community outreach contact at Lurie’s.

This is the result of that conversation.

In the month of September, my goal is to run 262 miles**. Yes, 262 miles. For each mile that I run, I will personally donate $2 to support 3 phenomenal individuals - Mia Gurevitz, Adler Carris, and Matthew Erickson.

“But Peter, why running?! And why 262 miles?!”

Thanks for asking.

Contrary to some posts on my social media channels, running never came easily to me. Seriously, just ask my elementary PE teacher, Mrs. Wenzel. Want in on a secret I have never told anyone? For the glorious mile-run as part of the physical fitness every year, I would fake sick, say I had a cramp, and pull every trick in the books so I didn’t have to run. I was embarrassed that I could not complete one stinkin' mile. Even in high school, I’d rather swim 2 miles in a pool than have to run 2 miles on the track. It was like toothpaste and orange juice, coke and mentos - simply put, we didn't mix.

So it’s been a work in progress to say the least and this is the first year I’ve enjoyed moving these flippers on the ground. However,  running 262 miles?! *Insert expletive*

The goal in choosing 262 was to make it challenging, to make it a daily grind, to come face to face with exhaustion and see who comes out on top.

The thing I think about continuously is perspective. These kids I’m running for have gone through numerous rounds of chemo, stayed months in hospitals, and are fighting for their life every. single. day.

Take Matthew  for instance, he was born with a rare form of brain cancer and continues to fight valiantly.

Then there’s Adler - a gem of a person diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. Some days are better than others, but he continues to tackle this head-on.

Lastly, there’s Mia , and what a firecracker she was. She had an impact on me more than she knew, and when it came to busting out a move on the dance floor, she made everyone look bad. Then, in October 2017, after fighting brain cancer for over 5 years, she passed on to a bigger and brighter stage.

Pediatric cancer is ruthless. It’s unforgiving. It's incomprehensible. But I want to do my part to help.

If you would like to support me, but more importantly these individuals and families, I’ve created this page to do so. Unlike most fundraisers, I wanted to play this a little differently instead of having donations upfront (unless you’d like to do so then I won’t hold you back ). If you’re so inclined, I’m asking that you reach out to me and tell what you’re willing to commit for every mile that I run - it could be $0.01, $0.25, $1, whatever. At the end of September, we’ll tally up how many miles I managed to clock, multiply that by your commitment, and boom, we’re playing ball.

If you have any questions, please reach out! 

Let’s turn this September Gold.


Your friend,

Peter

** Note:  WE DID IT. We racked up 361 miles in 30 days. Thank you, everyone, for the support, the social media shares, the donations, everything. This month would not have been possible without a whole group effort, so thanks for helping put our best foot forward!

Donations

  • Michelle Gagnard 
    • $50 
    • 20 mos
  • Kenneth Slifer 
    • $20 
    • 20 mos
  • Dennis and Joan Callan 
    • $100 
    • 20 mos
  • Griffin Hanekamp 
    • $20 
    • 21 mos
  • Sofie Lenzen 
    • $15 
    • 21 mos
See all

Organizer

Peter Krzywosz 
Organizer
Chicago, IL
Ann & Robert H Lurie Childrens Hospital of Chicago (Dba Lurie Childrens) 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are 100% tax deductible.
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