Thursday, January 17, 2013

Modern Day Pioneers

Throughout the last year, I have been fortunate to become friends with the Bonner's and Preece's.  These are two courageous couples who set out on a journey to adopt two children from Russia.  Nobody could have prepared them for what they are experiencing.

Over the last 30 days the Russian government has made international headlines with their decision to ban all American's from adopting Russian children.  For the Bonner's and Preece's, this headline couldn't have come at a worse time.  Both families were scheduled to travel to Russia this week to bring their children home for good. 

Despite the recent news, both families have traveled to Russia with the hopes that somehow, someway, a miracle will happen.  Just reading their BLOGS makes you think you are reading a novel or a Hollywood movie script. 

My emotions are on the surface as I write this.  Throughout the week each time I have a free moment my thoughts take me to my dear friends who are currently in Russia desperately trying to find a way to bring their children home.  I battle between anger, sadness, and frustration as I contemplate their situation. 

Over the last year, they have jumped through every hoop asked of them to try and make this distant dream of giving a life to an orphaned child a reality.  These children have been tucked away and almost forgotten in an orphanage in a far away land but because of these selfless individuals they have hope.  These families have sacrificed both time and money but nothing compares to their emotional sacrifice that has been like a roller coaster that is filled will exhilarating highs and desperate lows as news and updates trickle out a little at a time.

Their biggest challenge at the moment is simply not knowing what the future holds and not really being able to do anything about it.  Fortunately the press has been a tremendous help in getting their story out to the world.  There is hope...

Even though the current situation provides a great deal of anxiety, I believe there is a silver lining.  Life has taught me that much good can come from bad situations and that everything truly happens for a reason.  Could it be that the Preece's and Bonner's are placed in this very situation at this very time for a purpose even deeper than giving life to a child in need?  Absolutely!!!

A huge obstacle for these orphaned children, in particular those who have disabilities, is the fact that nobody is aware of their situation.  In the past, they have had no voice.  They now have a voice!  This is just the surface of the problem however.  The root of the problem is not children in orphanages but the reason why they are there in the first place.  Many cultures are simply not equipped to provide the necessary resources to help a family and child when a disability is present.  There are no early intervention programs or special ed teachers in their schools.  Nobody is educated in how to help these children reach their potential so the parents only choice is to place them in an orphanage and try to forget about their child they had so many hopes for. 

This will eventually change!  Right now there is light being shed on the situation.  Lots of light in fact!  Local, national, and international media are doing so much good in telling the world about these children.  Russians are rising together to put a stop to the desperate situation that so many have faced.  An evolution is beginning.  It will take some time, but eventually I believe the culture will change and children will grow up in happy homes reaching their fullest potential.

In the meantime, there are two families in Russia praying for a miracle.  They are holding true to those feelings that urged them to take this leap of faith down the adoption path.  Their willingness to follow these promptings are moving mountains...
I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I CAN do. ~Edward Everett Hale

Sunday, January 6, 2013

RODS Racing Team 2013

At a very young age I was fortunate that my parents got me involved in sports.  I will always remember playing on those dusty fields in Preston, Idaho during those hot summer nights.  I learned a lot of life lessons growing up playing ball.  Those lessons have stuck with me and created a foundation for much of what RODS Racing is today.  One of those valuable lessons I learned is the importance of team when trying to accomplish a common goal.

What has started as a simple dream, a race and a desire to help is growing into something bigger than any one person, it's becoming a cause.  It's become a TEAM

After committing to racing in Ironman St. George and submitting my Kona Inspired video last year I started having other athletes contact me to see if they could become involved.  That's really where the idea of a "Team" started.  As the year went on and the cause started to receive more attention, more individuals continued to write me.  I was moved by their sincere desires to help.  Here's just a few examples of what they would write:

Hi Brady,

"It only took 10 seconds of your story for me to start bawling. I know the moment you said your soon has downs that you have the same race motivations that I have. On August 28th of this year, not 1 minute after my daughter was born, the docs told us that she had downs syndrome. My girlfriend and I ran through the full gamut of emotions, several cycles of grief, and eventually landed feeling so blessed to have such an amazing gift in our little Kylie. She has not only galvanized Erin (Kylie's mom) and I's relationship, but it has motivated me to be a better partner, a better father, a better acupuncturist (my occupation), and more to the point a better triathlete.

While I took the year off to help Erin out while she was going through a rough pregnancy, I have been competing pretty seriously in triathlons the previous two years, and would love a good reason to become even more serious. I am racing in Ironman Tahoe next year (first full Iron), and possibly Ironman Whistler in 2014 (granted I can get in). I will of course be competing in other smaller races around the Pacific Northwest area leading up to both races. That all being said, I would love to be considered for the RODS competitive team. I am more than happy to raise awareness, money, and support for this great cause. I really feel like this is an amazing organization, and I hope that I can be a part of the team.

Thank you so much for your time, and your inspiring story."

"Hey Brady,

I am super inspired to become a part of RODS Racing team--I just happened to turn on the KONA Ironman world Championship and they were highlighting a story about Brady Murray--I am assuming that is you!! We were recently blessed with a little blessing in July--yes we were scared as well--but each day and with lots of support our days are getting better!! She is an amazing baby and truly is the highlight of everyone's day!!

I have shown my husband your video as we are running the Mercedes Marathon--only the last leg of the relay--but the proceeds directly go to the Bell Center. The Bell Center is a school for early intervention. An amazing place that we are so blessed to have in our community. We really are in the best possible place we could be in for our little one and I thank God everyday for choosing us as her parents!!

Anyway, I am not sure what we could do to help out, but I know that with my fitness background and our little one driving me--this is my calling!!!"

After reading emails such as these two examples I knew that there are many other people out there that have such sincere desires to help.  They also have talents and abilities that will help move the cause forward for these children at a much faster pace.

At the moment, we have 34 individuals from all over the United States, Canada and the UK committed to racing for RODS Racing during 2013.  Each has committed to helping create awareness and tell these children's story.  They have all committed to raising at least $1,000 for our RODS Orphans with many committing to raise more.  What a miracle this is!  I'm so thankful for these individuals and their willingness to become involved!

In 2012, there was over $100,000 raised for Orphans with Down Syndrome.  We were able to find families for Eli, Maelie and Megan and are so close to having a family for Ivan and Maggie if we can get this adoption ban lifted in Russia. 

Goals for the 2013 season are to continue to build a proper foundation for RODS Racing that will make it last for a lifetime as well as help get our members involved at an even greater level.  We'd also like to continue to search for those individuals who have sincere desires to become involved as well as continue to secure sponsors.  In addition to all of our members racing throughout the country, Andrea and I are excited to race in a handful of races ourselves.  We will also be organizing another community run in Boise as well as other fundraising events throughout Idaho and Utah which will be great!

Where will 2013 take us?  It's hard to say.  I do know that if our motives and intentions always remain pure, we will receive the guidance and help needed to bring these kids home.  There will be challenges no doubt but these trials allow us to prove our worth and move forward in faith.  I also believe we will witness many more miracles!

Here's to a great 2013 of RACING FOR ORPHANS WITH DOWN SYNDROME!!!