Monday, June 14, 2010

Tutus For Tanner

I don't exactly look like your typical runner. Nor do I look like a ballerina.
So, wearing running clothes with a tutu on top can best be described as a fashion don't.
But, fashion dilemma or not, on Thursday evening I ran in a 5k race. It wasn't my first one.
But, here's the thing ... this one was special.
I read about Tutus for Tanner awhile ago, before I'd signed up for this race, compiled a team of colleagues, or thought about what they may say about wearing tutus.
I knew I'd run this race in a tutu.
For Tanner. For Catherine. For myself.
The amazing thing is, when we got closer to the date and the team had been recruited, when I floated the idea of wearing tutus the buy-in was amazing. Not because of me, but because everyone read Tanner's story.
The first person to say yes, more like "hell yeah" was a friend of mine who made up his mind to run this race a year ago. Over the past year he lost 75 pounds and started running. 
And, when I told him the purpose behind this he embraced it.
And convinced the men on our team to run in tutus also. Because they could. And because as a team we could show we care.
Before I ran I knew I would write about it. Here, of course, on my blog. But I also had to explain over our company intranet why this team of people was running in a tutu.
A week before the event I wrote about it. And people loved the idea.
But the day of the event changed a few things for me.
On my daily GO Train commute, the train I was riding on hit a jumper. It's easy to joke about jumpers when you've never felt the impact as you're sitting on a train, seen the covered body, the mangled belongings, the bloody train.
But that's what I saw the morning of the run.
And it changed my perspective drastically.
As I sat with a friend (who thankfully was on my train) we were calculating the thousands of people who were delayed by this incident.
And I said to her, "imagine if just one tenth of the people affected by this, those of us who are saddened by this, had somehow shown that we care?"
She's used to me. She made me feel better by saying there was no way we could have known this person or changed the situation.

But, I realized that this is what Tutus for Tanner is all about.
Catherine has told us all that he is dying.
I can't change that. I don't have millions of dollars to put into research, nor do I have some genius scientific formula to cure what he has.
But, I can run in his honour.
I can't fix things.
But I can show him that I care. And that there's a bunch of people who are willing to stand out in a crowd to show that he's worth acknowledging.
Don't get me wrong.
I believe in magic. I believe in prayers. Most of all I believe in hope.
And I believe that, if nothing else, we can hope that no matter what happens in Tanners life, he knows that there are a lot of people out there that care and are thinking of him.
I am. And I was proud to wear a tutu to show that.
The amazing thing about this was my team. When I was overwhelmed by the amount of tutu making (seriously, 100 yards of tulle is a little scary) I sent an e-mail to a bunch of friends, including non-runners, and 12 people gave up a lunch hour to tie tulle to ribbon. Just because they cared.
So, the entire team didn't wear tutus. The people who were running for time (one of teammates came in third place!) decided not to. But, they asked for something to show they were part of the team. So, everyone wore signs to say what this is all about.
So, 5km per person and 11 people wearing tutus equals 55km in honour of Tanner. (and 4 people showing support).
It's not huge. But it matters.
And, it was one of the most amazing experiences ever.


lettuce said...

Congratulations on your run! I am very proud of your accomplishment. I couldn't run a city block if I tried (especially right now) so I really admire you for that. But even more, I admire you for encouraging others, running for Tanner and being YOU.

I'm sorry to hear about the GO jumper. I didn't know about that. Made me think about showing that you always do that! Thank you :)

KleinsteMotte said...

You sure do a lot for others! How come you do not have followers listed on your post?

mapsgirl said...

You are all awesome!! Congrats on a great run.

ModernMom said...

What a powerful post. I too believe in magic, prayers and hope. I think you are fabulous!!

Her Bad Mother said...



Mom101 said...

I should not be reading posts like this when I'm at work. My mascara is all smudgy now.

You are amazing.

Motherhood Uncensored said...

Wow. This is so incredibly awesome.

Brittany at Mommy Words said...

What an amazing post and a wonderful reason to run! I cannot even imagine how that train tragedy made you feel - just reading it was horrifying. But your wonderful heart in running for Tanner lifted me up. Thank you.