Heroes of the Marathon Presentation

Friday, January 22, 2010

Tonight was simply amazing. I had the best time in the world at the Carlsbad Marathon Heroes of the Marathon Presentation. I feel honored to have been nominated by the staff of San Diego's Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and honored even more by being selected as one of the Heroes of the Marathon by the marathon committee.

In so many ways, I feel like I have not deserved this honor. Standing up there tonight with people around me who "really" deserved it made me wonder...what am I doing on the stage with these people?

Let me say that I was very pleased with the table display that Marilee Pacelli put out for the foundation, with my placard next to it (pictured below). She did a great job fielding questions from both me and other visitors.

 Here I'm posing at the table with Marilee. Partly because I wanted to give a face to CF, and partly because I was absolutely uncomfortable anywhere else in the room, I stayed mostly in the vicinity of the CF table. In fact, except for the actual Heroes presentation, I did spend most of my time helping Marilee. Ok, I don't know if she would say I was helping, but at least I was present!

And finally, (drum roll please!) here are the pictures of me being introduced as one of the Heroes of the Marathon:

 I was grateful for the MC for giving me a chance to say just a few words. At first I was scared, and that's actually unusual for me. One of my strengths is being in front of an audience, but I guess I just didn't feel like I deserved to be up there with the other awardees. Anyway, he asked me something like, "What makes you want to do it? Why are you so determined?"

My answer went something like this:  "I want my daughter to know that I am doing whatever I can to help find a cure. I want her to know that I care about her, that I want her to be healthy, and that I don't ever want to lose her."

He said, "We're going to find a cure, aren't we?"

"Yes," I said.

Honestly, I didn't plan to say the last part, about not wanting to lose Samantha. I do my level best to dismiss thoughts of her dying someday because of CF. Call it denial or whatever you want, but it's still true. I don't think about it, so I surprised myself when I said it. I thought the MC handled it well though and even turned what could have been a little awkward moment into a positive note.

Ironically, me opening up like that in front of everyone actually brought a few comments. More than one person said that my comments touched them, and for that I'm grateful. I guess I need to sit down some time and figure out why they touched me.

One of the musical guests of the night was Steph Johnson. She was totally cool and signed a copy of her CD to my daughter as a gift. I thought that was very nice of her. Then she posed for a pic with me:

 Please give Steph your support by visiting her website and listen to some of her music. She is a great person!

I wanted to close this by including the writeup for my award:

As a career sailor Dan Smith understands that there are various "enemies" that the military encounters. However, finding out that his daughter had cystic fibrosis in December of 2005 was not something he was prepared for. Suddenly the enemy was right in front of him in the form of a disease his daughter was battling. That was the day that Dan took up the fight to cure CF and he has been relentless in his effort since. To date, Dan has raised thousands of dollars in the search for a cure for CF.

Any good military strategy involves meeting the "enemy" head-on and applying pressure until he surrenders or is eliminated. That is Dan's strategy toward CF- to continue to fight for a cure. By participating in events such as the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Half Marathon, Dan has the opportunity to raise funds that may ultimately wipe out this disease. He is determined to give cystic fibrosis its biggest fight yet while showing his daughter how important she is to him at the same time.

He has joined the CF Foundation and their CF Striders team and will be out there on race day proudly wearing his new CF Striders shirt. 


John & Priscilla said...

Wow!! Great writeup. We are pulling for you as you run your marathon. Samantha has a great father!!!!

Emma said...

Great job Sheldon!! Your amazing!