Team GSF Raises $1MillionNovember 16, 2016 by Victoria Strong
This weekend was the Santa Barbara Half Marathon and for the sixth year in a row we had runners come in from all over the country to make their race truly powerful by running for Team GSF. Like the many past races, it was such a positive event filled with such good people pushing themselves to make a difference for the SMA cause. And we are humbled.
You see Team GSF has now officially crossed the $1Million raised milestone. $1 M.I.L.L.I.O.N. from running. Yes, the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other, sweating, pushing oneself... has truly made a difference.
Team GSF started in a completely organic way eight years ago. With an SMA diagnosis back then, most families heard exactly what we did from doctors, "I'm sorry. Take your baby home and love her. There is nothing you can do." Nothing. No treatments to pursue. No alternative therapies that may help a little. Nothing. But doing nothing for your innocent babbling baby is impossible. And so, friends laced up and started running as their something they CAN DO to help.
In the last eight years, people have run races literally all over the world for Team GSF. From Ireland to Afghanistan to every state in the U.S., people donned NEVER GIVE UP. and they ran. They've completed 5Ks and IronMan, Half Marathons and Boston qualifiers, Raglan Relays and Mud Runs. Some pushed themselves to physical and mental extremes with Ultra Marathons, while others pushed themselves by running their very first races and going farther than they'd ever run before. SMA parents pushed themselves in almost superhuman ways because of their amazing children who are constantly going the extra mile just to breathe, many running for their children, some running with their children, and many more running in memory of their precious children in the midst of deep grief so other families would not face the helplessness they have had to endure.
Along the way, we turned the Santa Barbara Marathon into a destination Team GSF fundraiser with a weekend of events, generous company sponsors, a pre-race banquet dinner, post-race pizza party, and positivity throughout. And people joined our rallying cry without hesitation, lacing up year after year with enthusiasm and helping us make Gwendolyn's dream of running come true, too. But we also continued to ask people to turn any race near them into an opportunity to raise much-needed funding. And they did in a big way.
For many, the running came easily but fundraising pushed them outside of their comfort zone. They did it anyway. People got so creative and found ways to reach their fundraising goals. Some hosted bake sales, while others created raffles. There was yoga in the park and even a personal singing telegram. And all of them asked friends and family to sponsor their every step because they believed with us that each step could make a difference in helping to change the future of SMA.
And now, with treatments on the horizon, the future of SMA looks so very bright!
We've done lots of other fundraisers and are proud to have raised a million+ more in various other ways, but Team GSF is near and dear to our hearts. It is poignant to move in honor of those who struggle with the most basic movement. It is humbling to see people sacrifice, push themselves, do things they never thought they would do simply because they want to help. It is profound to channel nothingness into something -- and something so big.
Today we take a deep breath and soak in what all of YOU have done for Team GSF. Literally, every person we know has either run or donated in support of a Team GSF runner over the last eight years. And it has MATTERED. Look what we all have done together. Look what happens when you NEVER GIVE UP.
Thank you for believing in us and our team! We are so proud of what Team GSF has accomplished. Together we have made running truly POWERFUL. $1 MILLION RAISED!!!