The Run to Walk is one of my family’s favorite days of the year! Why?

1. For some reason, my kids think it’s great to wake up early and set up for the run. when my role at Now I Can changed last year, my kids’ first response was, “Can we still wake up at 5 a.m. and go to the run?” I guess that even children appreciate being involved in something bigger than themselves. The Run to Walk is one of those events that you leave feeling better than you came. (And lucky for most, you only have to get there just before 8 a.m.)

2. The Run is an old-fashioned family affair. Not only is it a reunion of sorts for the Now I Can therapy patients, but it brings together family, neighbors, friends and strangers and a great cause. I love this picture of the family of Stone—a great boy from Las Vegas. Though miles away, his family organized a team to run on his behalf. 60 plus people came out in these green shirts to support Stone. His family decided they’d better come and join the fun, too. Whether or not you have someone specific to run for, all proceeds benefit a Now I Can patient who would give anything to run the race with you.

3. Everyone wins. At this race, we give prizes for those who come across the 5K finish line first. But we also give free breakfast, a free Tshirt, and lots of free drawing prizes. We’ve given jewelry, restaurant gift cards, a bike, a PowerWheels toy, gift baskets galore. Maybe after the drawings and live music you’ll want to walk back to the finish line and help cheer on the heroes of the day—kids with cerebral palsy or spina bifida. Those who are still fighting to get to the finish line after most are done and gone. This is when the event really begins. Where we learn a bit about what life is all about and resolve to do better in our own battles.

Then when you drive away, you know you’ve made a difference in the life of a child. And that’s why May 18th will be one of my favorite days of the year.