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November 02, 2010

The Marine Team Challenge: Double (or Triple!) Your Donation

soles.JPGWhat do you do when you run into a roadblock? Do you give up? Blame others? Feel sorry for yourself? Or do you treat difficult circumstances as a challenge - a chance to accomplish something extraordinary?

Former Marine Sgt. Jeremy Soles made history on Sunday when he set a Guinness World Record for running the entire 26.2-mile Marine Corps marathon while wearing a gas mask in an unofficial time of 4 hours, 29 minutes and 2 seconds.

Soles, founder of the nonprofit group Team X-T.R.E.M.E., dedicated his achievement to Marine Cpl. John Michael Peck, who suffered traumatic brain injury in Iraq in 2007 but insisted on returning to combat, only to lose both arms and legs in a roadside bomb attack in Afghanistan in May.

“He embodies everything that Team X-T.R.E.M.E is about: Overcoming mental and physical obstacles,” Soles said in a phone interview on Monday.

Sunday’s event was the culmination of two years of conditioning and training. The gas mask restricts his breathing by about 25 percent, and all the gear associated with the mask weighs 15 pounds.

“A lot of times, people ask why we run in a gas mask,” Soles said. “Well, we use the gas mask to symbolize what we do. People often ask how difficult it is, and our first thing to tell them is it’s not nearly as difficult as overcoming traumatic brain injury, which he did, not nearly as difficult as overcoming post-traumatic stress disorder, learning how to walk again with prosthetic limbs – and people see the parallel.”

MCM1.jpgMost of us can't imagine even running a marathon, much less running one with only 75% breathing capacity and an extra 15 pound load. How about doing it from a wheelchair? What makes extraordinary feats like this possible is the power of belief in something larger than yourself, and that's just the kind of story that exemplifies the Valour IT spirit. These are men and women who've been dealt a hand that would crush most of us, and yet rather than feeling sorry for themselves or giving up, they're out there continuing to make the world a better place.

As of last night, here are the current totals for the Valour IT fundraiser:

TEAM ARMY $10,552.00 TEAM MARINE $5,550.00 TEAM NAVY $3,940.00 TEAM AIR FORCE $2,100.00 No Branch Specified $1,201.00 Total $23,343.00

As you can see, the Marine team is holding onto second place. We may be trailing Army, but I wouldn't count us out. Not just yet.

The thing is, we need your help. If the Marine spirit is about anything, it's about the power of teamwork. Together, we can accomplish far more than any one of us could alone.

Last night, a few of us put our heads together. As a result, we'd like to throw a challenge out to all of you. Four generous donors have ponied up a whopping $1250 in donations, but there's a catch: we need you to match our donations. Throughout the day, today and tomorrow, the Marine team be throwing out challenges to our readers. Some will be fun, some will be serious. Every donation counts, so don't be discouraged if you can't afford much.

Are you willing to step up and help us reach our goal? If so, make a donation and then email me (cassandra.vc at gmail.com) your donation receipt. If you want to X out your name, that's fine. I will keep the identities of all donors strictly confidential:

Here's what your money will buy for a wounded soldier, sailor, airman or Marine:

$800 buys a Voice-controlled Laptop - Operated by speaking into a microphone or using other adaptive technologies, they allow the wounded to maintain connections with the rest of the world during recovery.

$200 buys a Wii Video Game System - Whole-body game systems increase motivation and speed recovery when used under the guidance of physical therapists in therapy sessions (donated only to medical facilities).

$200 buys a Personal GPS - Handheld GPS devices build self-confidence and independence by compensating for short-term memory loss and organizational challenges related to severe TBI and severe PTSD.

$400 buys an iPad

In a world where information comes at us at 90 miles an hour, it's easy to get overwhelmed, to think that the actions of one person can't possibly make a dent in everything that's wrong with the world. Here's your chance to make a difference. It all starts with the willingness to go just the little bit beyond what you think you can do.

Our four donors have already done that, but they need you to be a force multiplier. Will you step up? Can you contribute $25? $50? $100 or even more? Is anyone out there willing to match our entire pot ($1250)? If we can triple our original investment, we can net nearly $4000 for a worthy cause.

Let's make that thermometer jump - Twitter this, put it on Facebook, email your friends or neighbors, post the Marine Challenge on your blog. Together, we can change the lives of some extraordinary people. We can give them encouragement and hope during a difficult time, but more importantly we will be reminding them that we can't wait to welcome them back into the world once their time in the hospital is over.

I can't think of a group of people who will put your donations to better use.

CHALLENGE 1: Can we raise $250 (for a total of $500 with matching funds) before lunch? It doesn't need to be a single donation, but I need someone to get the ball rolling.

UPDATE: 11:40 am. WOO HOO!!!! The Marine team rocks! Keep it coming, folks!

At 12 noon the first of our matching donors will pony up $250 in matching funds. We need ideas for the Early Noon challenge - if we can raise another $250 by 2 pm, not only will those funds be matched but the Princess will be happy to humiliate herself in whatever way the Villainry suggests in the comments section.

Thanks so much to our big hearted Marine team donors! Here are the amounts (not sure I have permission to publish the names):

$100.00
$250.00
$50.00
$100.00

Pour it on! :)

EARLY AFTERNOON CHALLENGE: raise $250 by 2 pm. We're almost half the way there!

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Retriever links with Vote - then give to those who make it possible.

Posted by Cassandra at November 2, 2010 08:12 AM

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Comments

What makes extraordinary feats like this possible is the power of belief in something larger than yourself, and that's just the kind of story that exemplifies the Valour IT spirit. These are men and women who've been dealt a hand that would crush most of us, and yet rather than feeling sorry for themselves or giving up, they're out there continuing to make the world a better place.

Beautifully said, Cassandra. Awesome. That's why we want to give them the laptops, etc.,--because we want to give them to tools to continue to overcome, to continue to engage with and make the world a better place.

Posted by: FbL at November 2, 2010 10:24 AM

Thank you so much for all you do!
Semper Fi

Posted by: Patti at November 2, 2010 12:07 PM

Branch loyalty compelled me to contribute to Team Army (and put a prominent notice in yesterday's company newsletter), but you have my moral support for what it's worth. =)

Posted by: Sig at November 2, 2010 12:37 PM

Just donated, will this count towards the matching funds? (early AM MST) Hope so!!

Posted by: Oh Hell at November 3, 2010 08:38 AM

Absolutely!

Posted by: Cassandra at November 3, 2010 08:45 AM

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