Obi Wan Kenobi: “That boy was our last hope…” Yoda: “No, there is another.” Cue Star Wars fanfare! Roll title scroll! Obi Wan might have given up hope, but Yoda knows there’s always hope for the Rebel Alliance. In fact, there’s a whole Village centered around hope, Florida’s Give Kids The World Village (GKTW), the nonprofit resort that arranges week-long vacations for families with children with a life-threatening illness. In January 2015, my daughter Evie (age 13) and I will participate in the inaugural runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend events as part of the Run GKTW Team. Please continue after the break to learn more about the Village, and how you can support us in our fundraising efforts.
Last year, 40 people came together as a team to form the red and white polka dot brigade that was the Inaugural Run GKTW Charity Team benefiting GKTW during the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon weekend. Alumni wish families, former volunteers, and runners each committed to raising a minimum of $3,000, and together we collected enough to fulfill 35 wishes for children with life-threatening illness who want to visit Walt Disney World. It was a transformative process, an incredibly inspiring weekend, and I can’t wait to share the experience with Evie.
Our family has been fortunate to take many Disney trips, most recently a cruise on the Disney Dream to check out Halloween on the High Seas, and it’s always been important to me to help other families have magical vacations too. We have visited GKTW together as a family, and I have volunteered side-by-side with both my daughters. After spending 24 hours at the Magic Kingdom in May, Evie and I spent the next day giving back at Give Kids The World. Our volunteer shift at GKTW had as much, if not more, magic and pixie dust as our previous day at the Magic Kingdom, and Evie and I both grew and bonded together from the experience.
There are so many reasons why I am running this race together with Evie. I want to set an example of getting in shape, staying healthy, and exercising for stress relief and personal enjoyment. Plus, runDisney’s Star Wars themed race is something this Skywalker-wannabee just couldn’t resist. Evie and I will run the Star Wars 10K together on Saturday, January 17, 2015, and then I will attempt the Star Wars Half Marathon on Sunday, January 18th to complete the Rebel Challenge. However, by that time, I may need to mount a Tauntaun in order to stay ahead of the Stormtroopers during the Star Wars Half Marathon. I’m really going to need a Force push to help me to the finish line. I’m asking you to support this Jedi and Padawan as we confront the Evil Empire in our run for the Younglings.
Give Kids The World has been awarded a four-star rating for sound fiscal management for eight consecutive years by Charity Navigator. In 2010, GKTW was recognized as the #1 most fiscally responsible charity by Worth Magazine, and MSN Money named GKTW the Highest Rated Charity in America in 2012. Any amount you could donate would be greatly appreciated, perhaps $2 for each mile of the half marathon – $26.20 total. If that’s not possible, consider pledging $10, $5, or even $1. Every bit will help the children at GKTW, and 100% of your donation will go towards the mission of the Village – no funding will go towards our race registration or travel expenses. Thank you for inspiring “A New Hope” to these deserving kids.