Oh, but Cari’s theme this week (Google Image Search) is just too good; AND, it gives me a chance to share something with you that I should have posted, like, TWO MONTHS AGO.
Cari asks her readers to do an image search on ourselves and post the first picture that comes up. I typed in my first and last name, and got a whole bunch of photos of another woman with the same name as mine, and books that I presume she has written. I then tried typing in my first, maiden, and last name (the same one I use for my Facebook profile), and saw a lot of random pictures, some of which I had posted on one of my blogs and/or Facebook. The first image is one you’ve seen already, in a previous post here:
But the one that caught my attention was this one:
That’s my friend Mary, holding her adopted son, Justin.
Earlier this summer I posted this on my Facebook page:
Mary and the Hokie Half
This is for everyone loves to run, wants to start running, hates to run, wants nothing to do with running but loves being with friends; AND all of you who knew and loved our friend Mary Wieczynski Furnivall–pretty much everyone on my friend list. I’m tagging certain people–those who knew Mary, and some of my friends who run and might be interested in this little project of sorts. But I’m extending this invitation to everyone.
I’ve known Mary since we were kids. We lived in the same neighborhood and walked to school together, rode our bikes together, sold Girl Scout cookies door-to-door together, went trick-or treating together. We were counselors together at the same summer camp–two of the best summers of my life. After we grew up and went our separate ways, I hardly ever saw her but still considered her one of my dearest friends. At the end of February of this year I learned through a mutual friend that Mary was in the final stages of cancer; she passed away only a couple of weeks later.
Mary and her husband David made their home in Kenya. Last fall, they adopted a little boy named Justin. My friends and I learned that Mary received her cancer diagnosis around the same time that the adoption went through. Soon after I learned that Mary was sick, I was visiting my parents in Blacksburg and decided to go for a run. I ran through our old neighborhood, past my house and Mary’s house, and down the Huckleberry Trail, where Mary and I and some of our friends used to explore before it was turned into a paved walking/biking/running trail. It was a beautiful cleansing run, and my mind was exploding with so many wonderful memories of Mary, some of which I had practically forgotten. I thought about David and Justin, Mary’s parents, her brothers and their families. I prayed for them, as I do every day.
A few weekends ago, many of Mary’s friends from high school got together in Blacksburg for a wonderful memorial for Mary. I can’t thank L and R and S enough for all the work and planning that went into it–not to mention Mr. and Mrs. F for the wonderful lunch at their house that day! It was an amazing weekend, and I am ever grateful for the opportunity to reconnect with people I hadn’t seen in years, and to share our stories and memories of the beautiful friend we lost too soon. (I even had a chance to go for another run AND an amazing bike ride with my friend J, and I am especially thankful for the time I got to spend with her.) I know Mary was with us that weekend.
On one of my recent visits to Blacksburg, I happened to pull up behind a car that had one of those “13.1” stickers on the back. I noticed right away that it looked different from others I had seen–maroon with orange writing. When I took a closer look at it I saw the little Hokie Bird footprints adorning it and the words, “Hokie Half.” As soon as I got home I looked it up, and found out that just last September Blacksburg hosted the first annual Hokie Half Marathon and 5K, and that the next one was coming up in October 2014. I also noticed that the half marathon course ran along the Huckleberry Trail, and at mile 10, right past Mary’s house(!!), and down Airport Road past Margaret Beeks Elementary where we went to school. It got me thinking: Wouldn’t the Hokie Half & 5K be a wonderful way to honor Mary? And just maybe we can try and raise a little bit of money for New Life Home Trust, the home for children in Kenya that gave Justin to Mary and David? When I first mentioned the idea to L she thought it was a great idea, and just about everyone we’ve talked to about it has said, “Yes! Let’s do it!”
This thing is in the early planning stages now. We’re working on having shirts made for everyone who wants to participate. If you think you might want to run the half marathon, you’ll want to start training soon (like, NOW), and there are all kinds of half marathon training plans online you can use. J sent some of us a great one from the New York Times, where you can find a training plan that works for you. (Thanks again, J!! Here’s the link: http://health.nytimes.com/run-well/start) . There are lots of other training plans out there; let me know if you need help finding one.
Not interested in running a half marathon? That’s OK, they have a 5K too! You could either run or walk that distance. You could even just come to Blacksburg for the weekend, and cheer for all the runners and walkers. No matter how we want to participate, it will be a great weekend to spend in honor of our dear friend, and to support a wonderful cause!
If you want to make a donation to New Life Home Trust, CLICK HERE.
You can tell your friends about it, and let them know what we’re doing. Right now we don’t have any plans to formally fundraise, like going through a fundraising website or collecting pledges; we’re just putting the information out there so people can donate if they wish.
L has set up a Facebook group, “Running for Mary,” for anyone who might be interested in participating in our little project. Please let us know if you want to be added to the group. It’ll be a great way for us to support each other and keep each other posted on our progress. PLEASE, PLEASE share this letter with as many people as you can think of who might be interested in on this fun project for a great cause and a great friend!
All right, so I know the Hokie Half Marathon and 5K is less than two months away, which for most people isn’t enough time to train…BUT, there it is. If you’re interested, leave a comment and I’ll contact you (and I think my email is on my WordPress profile page, so if you’d rather you can get in touch with me that way).
Thanks for taking the time to read this longish post. Check out Clan Donaldson to see what other people came up with in their Google searches of themselves! (Oh, and by the way…Cari says we get bonus points if we post a screenshot of the results of our search. I don’t know how to do that. I’d love for someone to tell me!)
P.S. To register for the Hokie Half Marathon and 5K, click here!