Here I am, writing from the best writing spot there is; third row, right side, window seat. I’m on my way back to Arizona after a quick weekend trip home to Chicago. It was one heck of a weekend though… and this is why.
Some of you may know, some of you may not but 20 years ago, following the onset of me contracting Transverse Myelitis, my family started The Claddagh Foundation. The Claddagh Foundation has been around for 20 years now and it is still going strong.
The Claddagh Foundation helps assist those conducting research on spinal cord injuries in hopes of one day finding a cure. The Claddagh Foundation also assists organizations that help those living with spinal cord injuries, showing them no dream is ever to big. Over the last 20 years, the Claddagh Foundation has put on a variety of events including: 3 on 3 basketball tournaments, wheelchair basketball tournaments, and 5k races. The one event that has been going on for the last 20 years and the one that is our largest event; the annual golf outing. To date, The Claddagh Foundation has been able to raise over 1.5 million dollars to help people across the country.
What is so special is that: so many cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends have grown up to hold the Claddagh Foundation so close to their hearts. Sure we have grown up to looking forward to riding around in the golf cart during the golf outing when we were little, finding out what the next color shirt will be for the 5k, and having one of the greatest days and nights of the year surrounded by friends and family (singing and dancing our hearts out). But what we get excited for most, is knowing that each and every one of us will be able to have an impact on someone’s life because of the support the Claddagh Foundation gets at each event. And that is what it’s all about. What makes our organization stand out? The people. We are stronger than ever because of the people that continue to believe in us and what we do.
This past weekend, after years of looking up to the original leaders of the Claddagh, the next generation kicked off the 1st Annual: Final FOUR A Cure. They truly did an unbelievable job. They introduced a new generation of people to everything the Claddagh Foundation has been able to accomplish in the last 20 years as well as what we hope to continue to be able to accomplish in the many years to come. We saw young people all come together for one cause. We saw people who may not be effected by someone with a spinal cord injury come together because their friend or coworker knows someone who is. This is the friendship, loyalty, and love each and every one of our supporters possesses and continues to show us, year after year.
Having such a successful event like this brings so much hope to a world that has a lot of evil things happening in it. It shows how much power we have if we all come together. We can make a difference. The Claddagh Foundation is part of a fight: fighting for a cure to one day be found. Fighting to give other individuals living with spinal cord injuries the opportunities to go out into the world and do big things, not letting their chair hold them back. We know we have a whole new group of people joining us on this journey. My wish is that one day, I will be standing on my own two feet thanking each and every one of you for never giving up on what the Claddagh believed in but until then, we continue to stand together.
I could not have been more proud to be a part of this family last Saturday night. A family that continues to rally around this foundation because they have seen how much of an impact the Claddagh Foundation has been able to have on so many.
Cheers to all of you! Cheers to the original leaders of the Claddagh Foundation for teaching our generation that we have the ability to make a difference. Cheers to everyone who helped us organize the event on Saturday. Cheers, to every single person that joined us Saturday night or at any Claddagh event. Cheers to a bright future for the Claddagh Foundation!!
Saturday night definitely gave me a little extra inspiration to run a little faster in The Shamrock Shuffle on Sunday. Why? Because I got pretty lucky to be a part of a family that is second to none and continues to let me chase so many of my dreams.
This is a personal invite for you to be a part of this one of a kind organization. Be a part of the change and I promise, you’ll have a good time doing it.
Until next time,
“People who need people are the luckiest people in the world”