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Dear Friends and Family,

Running has been a wonderful outlet for healing during this season of my life. It offers a time of quiet reflection and communion with God. Recently God placed it upon my heart to use this passion of mine to look outside myself and help others heal – physically yes, but spiritually too. For the next 16 weeks (and beyond), the open road will be my mission field.

I am about to embark on a fantastic journey and I need your help! Lord willing, I will run the 13.1-mile race at the 2014 Kona Half Marathon on Sunday, June 22, to raise funds and awareness for research leading to improved treatment options and a cure for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

As some of you know, I am a childhood cancer survivor. What you may not know is that while undergoing treatment, a handful of selfless individuals ran endurance events on my behalf (even donning my hospital bracelets!) in effort to raise funds and awareness for a cure. I experienced firsthand the fruit of their blood, sweat and tears. So when the opportunity recently presented itself for me to do likewise – this time for CCFA – how could I do anything but say “Yes!”? While I may not have a personal connection to IBD, I am no stranger to the battle for life and not only life but abundant life. It’s time to pay it forward…

All of my training and fundraising efforts will be in honor of our team Honored Heroes, like Tyler. Tyler is ten years old and was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease about a year ago after losing 20 pounds in 3 months. Since his diagnosis he has been hospitalized 3 times, the last of which resulted in the removal of his gall bladder. Despite suffering from a weakened immune system, Tyler continues to exude a positive attitude of gratitude. I share his hope that one day children like himself will not have to live the remainder of their lives with these debilitating diseases.

Together, we can make a difference! As a member of Team Challenge, I have a coach, a training program, and teammates to support me. I have committed to a tough training schedule, and I’ve committed to raise $5,900 in donations to The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. I am motivated! I am committed!! I will do it!!!

Those of you on my email and snail mail lists watch your mail (it’s not spam) for information on my training and fundraising progress and to receive a post-event news update. If you would like to join this list, please contact me via email (H20lillies@aol.com) with “Count Me In” in the subject line or find me on Facebook.

It is my prayer that this journey would be a wonderful tool for ministry as it offers a platform for sharing my faith with not only my coaches, teammates and Honored Heroes, but all whom I will encounter through my fundraising efforts.

By now I hope you agree with me about the importance of this cause. Please help support me by visiting my webpage at http://online.ccfa.org/MandyCunningham to donate online or mail your donation directly to me at 4901 W. 93rdAve, Apt. 913, Westminster, CO 80031. (Made out to CCFA.) A minimum of 83 cents per dollar raised by CCFA goes directly to research and patient support, and your contribution is 100% tax-deductible. If your company matches charitable contributions, please include matching forms with your donation. Of course, your prayers and encouragement to sustain me in my training and as I cross the finish line will always be graciously accepted.

With my sincere thanks,

Mandy Cunningham

http://online.ccfa.org/MandyCunningham

www.ccteamchallege.org

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Run

With pumping heart my pulse does race,

A blush of red soon paints my face.

The slap of shoes against asphalt,

And sweat that stings my eyes like salt,

Do serve to drive me on this run,

Beneath the glare of the hot sun.

What puts this pep in every step?

What makes this more than mindless schlep?

It’s when my chest begins to burn,

That time is ripe for me to learn.

For everything built up inside,

Here on the road can never hide.

It’s here the stress of each long day,

Will slowly start to fade away.

This running has become my bent,

For only here I’m free to vent.

For on this long forgotten road,

My troubles I at last unload.

For every step offers release,

And leaves behind a sense of peace.

My lungs begin to fill with air;

My heart, with joy, has been laid bare.

But temporary is this fix;

It lasts until I ditch my kicks.

For when this rush of blood does wane,

I’m struck with fear – I run in vain.

For all this sweat and constant strain,

At best will only numb my pain.

But life is not an aimless run,

For one committed to the Son.

I think my course I should revise,

And set my eyes on a new prize.

It’s time I ran for something more,

Along a path that will restore.

Marked out for us there is a race;

If we run well, we’ll see His face.

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Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – Hebrews 12:1

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