A few months ago I found out that a former student of mine, Ryan, was diagnosed with and currently fighting Lymphoma. A coworker set up a donation site and challenged our staff to drum up some financial support. I was bummed out, obviously because Ryan and his family are awesome people, but also because I'm no where near financially capable of contributing a bunch of money toward anyone. As a public charter school teacher (and sole financial provider) it's a blessing to be able to get by on a little over what's needed on a check to check basis, but after completing a few of the endurance challenges and obstacle course races over the course of this year I realized that the African proverb "If I want to run fast, I run by myself. If I want to run far, I run with my team." can apply to the simple task of asking others to help. And so, little by little, I began the task of setting up a custom Goruck event. All of the participants would contribute toward a fund for Ryan and we would get him his very own Goruck bag, fill it with some swag and enclose a few checks to make this Christmas a bit more merrier. I was humbled by the overwhelming response that followed. In just under two months we raised over $3,500 in cash and goodies for Ryan and his family. Stay tuned for a video recap, but for now please enjoy the pictures below. Thank you again to everyone who donated, bought a patch, a t-shirt or entered in the raffles we set up to benefit Ryan. I look forward to seeing him wearing his gear in the coming days. Special shout out to Daria and Michael for the images below.
Thirty-four participants came out early on windy, snowy Saturday morning for what is called a Goruck Light. Cadre Matt made sure we understood that Light =/= Easy.
Throughout the event we participated in a variety of physical training exercises including, but not limited to push ups, squats, bear crawls, crab walks, inchworm push ups, and lots of rucking (marching, shuffling and jogging) all while wearing 2 to 11 bricks in our rucksacks.
In addition to carrying our weighted rucksacks, we were also tasked with various team weights - coupons that could be exchanged for what we call "Good Livin'." Pictured above are hose, a 20lb sandbag and a 25lb kettlebell.
Among the most daunting of tasks included bear crawling across a portion of the Brooklyn Bridge. Quite a few people faced some demons on this bridge - limitations were kicked in the face and we carried on stronger, united and with a renewed perspective on our personal struggles and how they compared to Ryan's fight and the sacrifices made by the brave men and women who serve our country daily.
After traveling 8.67 miles on foot from Battery Park to Bushwick in just under 8 hours, we each received the official Goruck Light patch and took a moment to reflect on what we had accomplished in Ryan's honor. Twelve of Ryan's teachers were among the participants and 17 of the 34 who completed the event had never participated in a Goruck event.
Among the various fundraising efforts, we produced a patch bearing Ryan's name and the Lymphoma ribbon. These are still available and you can contact me personally if you're interested.
By now I have said this about at least five of Laura's ties, but this is far and away my most recent favorite. It's handmade from 1000D CORDURA, the same material used to produce the Goruck rucksacks. She reconstructed it from the Man Tie, the only military-grade necktie I know of.
update: 12/21/13 Check out Ryan smiling with his new gear!
Update: 12/24/13 Check out the Ruck for Ryan Video!