Refuse to Lose!

$3,800 of $3,500 goal

Raised by 89 people in 1 month
Michelle Smallmon  BELLEVILLE, IL
Heeeeyyy everybody,

Michelle here. I’ve got to tell you guys about something gross that happened to me recently. I turned 30. Ugh it was terrible, I was dreading it, and couldn’t avoid it, despite my best efforts. 30 is the equivalent of getting your wisdom teeth pulled, except I was lucky enough to escape that torture. 

So since I had to hit this ‘milestone’, I figured I needed a plan.

This plan included (in order of appearance):

 -Drinking a lot of wine (many studies say it’s anti-aging)
-Reflecting on my life (man, college was awesome)
-And curating what I wanted my next 30 to entail. (my 60 year old self thanks me in advance).

I should have been focusing on my 401K, making further career goals, or even scheduling that oil change I desperately need, but instead… I wormed my way into a Google rabbit hole and at 3:30am on a Wednesday, an idea was hatched.

This idea, and it’s an ambitious one, needs some context. I've always liked to run, but generally hate working out. I’ve always loved to travel, but find myself bogged down with work, and never get to plan those big trips I spend hours planning on Pintrest.

So, why not combine the two and run a half marathon in all 50 states? Seems attainable, right? The beauty of this goal is that it can be achieved over time, and will keep me motivated and active in the meantime. It may take me 30 years to get it done, and I may need to be wheeled across that final finish line, but hopefully I get there at some point.

Once I started telling people about my idea, an incredible thing started to happen. People wanted to get involved. Many friends said, "that's a great idea ... I'll run one with you!" A few said, "you're really going to go to the Dakotas for fun?" .... and “Ew, if you’re going to have a pre-mid-life crisis, just get a tattoo and be done with it.”

30 is an interesting age. It has changed me in surprising ways. In the 6 months since T-Day, I find myself choosing to be in bed by 11, seemingly everyone I know had kids overnight/wants to tell me about breastfeeding and I don’t understand half the things kids these days are tweeting. But with age ALSO comes wisdom (or so I’m told), and I’ve also come to really understand and appreciate all the great things I do have around me. That starts and ends with my family, and my friends, who are my chosen family. My dad always told me my greatest treasure in life was that I have so many wonderful friends, and boy is he ever right. They truly are the best gift.

One of those friends was a guy named Mike Kelley. For those of you reading this who didn’t know Mike, let me tell you a little about him, from my perspective. Mike was a great cocktail of a guy … equal parts fun-loving, happy, and kind … and when mixed up, you got one of those rare people you just wanted to be around. People were just naturally drawn to him. He had a million friends, a great smile and loved sports. And he was good at them too, particularly baseball. I knew that as an athlete, Mike had that competitive fight inside of him, but I never knew just how tough Mike was, until he had to fight for his life. When Mike was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, he tackled the challenge with a tenacity and grace that was well beyond his years. His slogan, Refuse to Lose, became his battle cry, and his courage strengthened those around him, bonded a community and inspired countless people, many who had never met him.

I guess I’ve been thinking a lot about Mike as I think about my life at 30, because I keep thinking about how unfair it is that Mike never got to see that day. The world was robbed of a special person, but luckily for us, Mike left an imprint that will last forever.

The Mike Kelley Foundation was created to honor Mike’s legacy, and encapsulates everything he was and loved. The money that’s raised and donated to the foundation every year goes to fund a baseball camp, where kids get to learn the game Mike loved, free of charge. These kids may not otherwise be afforded this opportunity. 

Since you’ve made it this far down the page … I have a small favor to ask ….with race #1/50 coming up, I thought I would run it in honor of my friend Mike, and do my part to contribute to his memory.  If you feel it in your heart, please click and donate to this wonderful cause. Even a dollar will do. Then take a deep breath, realize you just filled out all of these tabs, and throw a zero at the end of that 1 to make it worth it. Go ahead … it’s for the kids!

I know when I’m running the coast of Rhode Island, and I’m tired, wanting to skip out and head to brunch, I’ll think about my pal Mike… with his backwards hat on, looking at me with that megawatt smile… and I know he would tell me not to give up. And you know what? I’ll keep on going.


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$3,800 of $3,500 goal

Raised by 89 people in 1 month
Created March 27, 2017
2 hours ago
Bob Perry
6 days ago
Travis Winegardner
6 days ago

Congrats on the race. Love the show.

Gregg Jost
10 days ago
Louise Cornetta
10 days ago
Matty Young
10 days ago

Great work Michelle!

Donny Forhan
11 days ago

Good luck and remember refuse to lose.

Jason Barrett Aleixo
11 days ago

Love what you're doing Michelle.

11 days ago
John Kennelly
11 days ago

I hope RK and DK donated! Good luck Michelle!

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