Team Owen: 200+ Runners, $20,000+ Raised, Impact ImmeasurableMarch 22, 2012 by Victoria Strong
The New Bedford Half Marathon just took place on Sunday, March 18th in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Every year thousands of runners gather to take on the hills (and often bitter cold) and take in the rocky New England coastline. And for the second year in a row Team Owen made a massive presence and helped change the future of Spinal Muscular Atrophy.
This year Team Owen was over 200 runners strong with two hundred more in the crowd wearing this year's blue Team Owen shirts. For many the NB Half has now become an annual commitment because of their love for the inspiring Simmons family and their son, Owen, who was taken far too soon by SMA. For others this was their very first race with many signing on simply to help the SMA cause in Owen's honor. And, of course, since the team is co-organized by ultra-marathon runner, Stephen Taylor, there were several seasoned endurance runners in the mix too -- including a barefoot runner (yes, barefoot as in no shoes). Experience was not the focus however. How well each person ran seemed to come second. What shines the most is the feeling that day -- the incredibly positive, uplifting, making a difference feeling that because of Team Owen permeated the entire event! Those who experienced it firsthand put it best:
From team organizer Stephen:
From team member Drew:
From team member Marjorie:
From team member Marci:
It has been two years since Heather and Andy lost their beautiful son and they haven't stopped fighting. What the Simmons family and Team Owen has accomplished in that time is remarkable. They have raised thousands and thousands of dollars and have inspired an entire community to not just learn about this brutal disease but to get involved -- all while coping with their own grief.
This Sunday was one of those days that will never be forgotten! The group picture was the one time that I really got emotional over the amazing thing we call Team Owen. The amount of blue shirts running and out on the course was incredible! Thank you to each and every one of you for helping keep our son's memory alive! We are so grateful! Can't wait to get a grand total of how much we raised for GSF!!
And the grand total....$21,000!!! And amazingly they aren't finished yet. Incredible!!! Thank you Team Owen! Thank you for honoring sweet Owen's memory and rallying beside the Simmons family. Thank you for taking on the SMA cause. Thank you for talking about SMA and getting new people involved. Thank you for representing the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation and what we do with such pride. And thank you for raising funding so we can fulfill our mission to end SMA. You have made a difference!