Way back in 2008 I completed a 125K race through the Canadian Rockies known by various names including “North America’s Toughest Race” and the real name, The Canadian Death Race.
It was such an awe-inspiring experience for me and everyone who journeyed up to Western Canada to support me that we decided to do it again over the next 2 years. Now life and the race took its toll and I never again was able to muster the training time and motivation to do the whole thing, so I did several stages. But the wonderful people I met and the incredible size of the achievement burned for some time.
During this time, I decided that I “owed the universe and man” a payback for letting me live the incredible life and allowing me to attract the incredible people in my life.
They came in all sizes, skill sets and in the most unlikely places, but each and every one of them improved my own life and the lives of hundreds of others.
So, my payback was this: I would run a few more races and get people to donate to a charity on my behalf. I ran it by a bunch of people and everyone was on board…until it came time to actually do it.
Then as so often has been the case, and most likely will be the case for much of my endeavors, I realized I would have to “do the driving” and undertook things on my own.
First was getting a tax-exempt charity status from the IRS. This was no mean feat. It took several months but it eventually happened. I think it was called a 501C3. In the end the legal and accounting fees to set it up cost close to $10,000. I had several people pop up after the fact and say they could have done it much cheaper. Not one of them said a thing during the process which they were well aware of.
Next, we had to actually raise some money to convince the government we were a real charity. This turned out to be the easiest part of things. This was before the economic crisis of 2009-10 and people were in a giving mood.
The charity raised close to 20K although most of it was before the “crash”.
The Race Against Death as the charity was called, paid for several hand cycles and training programs for handicapped athletes in my immediate area. The city I grew up in has like so many other small Eastern cities met with hard times and shifting demographics. It is not even a shadow of its former self.
This was yet another reason to donate to the immediate needs of “my people”.
The loyal customers and readers of Dr. Dave’s Best supported me in this endeavor and I am so honored and thankful to them.
We continued our efforts to raise money and when 125K did not seem like a good idea for me anymore, we sent a team of people and sponsored a runner who was very successful. Thanks Tom!!!!
Then in 2012 our lawyers forgot to have the mandatory yearly meeting and the IRS revoked our nonprofit status. The last charity donation we made helped pay for a hand cycle for a recently disabled athlete. A week later he was struck by a car and killed instantly while on the road with his cycle.
We dissolved the legal entity over the next year to the tune of $5000.00 paid to the same legal firm that managed to forget us. This was done to avoid IRS consequences.
So, we raised a serious amount of cash for a wonderful charity. It cost us almost as much to create it and dissolve it as we made. And then there was that tragic moment I described above.
Now you, like me might be shaking your head. The phrase that comes to mind is “No good deed goes unpunished”.
I wouldn’t blame you if you thought that.
But today I finally was able to shut down the bank account and give a final check for over $3000.00 to the IM Able Foundation. This foundation is run by a guy who is an inspiration to everyone who knows him. He is a former Marine who is now disabled himself by a chronic debilitating illness. But he has never stopped being a role model for ALL of us and remains strong and athletic to this day running his own CrossFit gym.
Chris Kaag it is an honor to know you and to have served you! I only wish I could have done more, and perhaps when I am back on my financial feet again I will.
So, this was the final chapter for the Race Against Death.
Despite all of the difficulties and tragedy I look upon it with a positive end view.
I did something not everyone does. I started a charity and gave back to the world with gratitude for all the wonderful people and experiences I have had.
I have met role models and people who face far greater things than I do every single day just to get out the door. I think I can handle a little adversity!!!
And I ran a 125K race in Canada and made incredible friends along the way.
We cannot always control fate or what the world gives us to deal with.
This last year has been a real lesson in that. Sometimes hopes are dashed. Sometimes people and circumstances disappoint us of fail us. Sometimes fate itself intervenes so we can do something better and more impactful.
The best lesson was relayed to me by one of my dearest loved ones who has stood by me through thick and thin.
She said, “You always have yourself, and if you look at what you have done it is amazing!”
That is your Health Secret for today: You always have yourself and you too are amazing. If you want to do something then just do it. Some will help some will hinder but in the long run the world will be a better place.
I thank you for all your support over the years. I look forward to my next iteration and sharing it with you. If you have any means to give something to charity, ‘tis the season. We can all use some pennies in heaven and a little good karma.
I promise you it will come back to you!!!
‘Tis the Season!!!!