Stopped in my tracks

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”John Bunyan

Out on a short run, I heard my phone make a ping sound, letting me know I had just received a message. More than ever, I’ve been attempting to multitask and figured the message had something to do with the upcoming benefit for Jason Boutwell.

As I ran, I glanced at the message. It forced me to stop in my tracks as the emotion prompted by another person’s generosity forced me to catch my breath. Truthfully, I was a bit surprised and overwhelmed by the commitment.

And so the past few weeks have passed – marked by long, long work days and lower leg problems that make running next to impossible. Except in occasional, small doses.

My spirit has been buoyed by the generosity of others and the opportunity to help a friend.

His battle isn’t over, and it won’t be as simple as we hoped. But Jason will fight valiantly and beat cancer. When he does, he’ll be a spokesperson and champion to find a cure for others.

Those participating in any event during the Fargo Marathon weekend have a way to contribute. There are several ways to help Jason, a husband, father of four, and a uplifting friend who has raised money for Down Syndrome awareness.

Make a commitment to join Team Boutwell: buy a shirt from CI Apparel in Fargo, collect pledges for miles you’re completing in a Fargo Marathon event, donate an item to the silent auction set for May 17 or make a contribution to the Jason R. Boutwell Fund through any Bell State Bank and Trust location. Additionally, we need people to attend the benefit, and the silent auction will have terrific items, including autographed donations that Bison fans will certain want for their memorabilia collections.

About the shirts: Team Boutwell organizers are asking $40 for black shirts/tanks for women or black/gray shortsleeve shirts fort men. The fee covers the shirt cost and provides proceeds to help defray expenses related to Jason’s battle against cancer. Shirts should be ordered by April 25. For more information or to order, contact Billie Carlson. She can be reached at billiecarlson@cableone.net.

There is a lot of work being done, by amazing people, and more details will be available soon. Follow this blog for information as it becomes available.

For the runners out there, I’d ask that you consider making a difference through the simple act of running. Find people who are willing to donate $1 for every mile you complete at the Fargo Marathon. Then collect the money and send it to the Jason R. Boutwell Fund at the bank, or donate it online (a website will be available soon).

If 10 people find 10 others willing to donate $1 for each mile completed, the cumulative impact can be profound. If those 10 runners each run a half marathon, that’s $1,300 to the fund. Add in others who are willing to do the 5K, 10K or marathon, and we can help a family.

Personally, I’m signed up for the half marathon, and despite some painful leg issues, I will be running. If you’d prefer to pledge to my run for Jason, please send an email to me at run4distance@gmail.com.

Finally, I want to share with you just one of the commitments that I’ve received for the silent auction, the one that stopped me in my tracks. Legendary marathoner and motivational speaker Dick Beardsley, who will be a speaker at the Fargo Marathon this year, has pledged autographed copies of his books and a photo from his famous duel with Alberto Salazar in the 1982 Boston Marathon. Dick didn’t even hesitate to commit when I asked, and he did so in record time.

In the next few weeks, there will be some other announcements of some cool memorabilia for the silent auction. But, in advance, I’d like to thank Dick for his generosity.

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