Since the very first day I signed up for Team Challenge I have been consistently blown away by the generosity and support of people in my life. I have also been amazed and in a constant state of awe at the generosity of the people I didn't even know were in my life.
Today, specifically at exactly 3:30 p.m. I hit my fundraising goal of $3,900. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times over the course of the last (almost) five months I wasn't sure that was ever going to happen. Nearly $4,000 is a HUGE chunk of money to raise and there were days I just wasn't sure I'd be able to raise all of it. But once again I am blown away, surprised, shocked, and enamored with how damn generous people are. There are people I expected to show up and donate (Mom, I'm looking at you). Even those people went so far above and beyond (secret revealed: neither my dog nor my nephew ACTUALLY made those donations, she was behind those too). My friends showed up in the form of LITERALLY thousands of dollars. My mentor worked her ass off (and then sweat her ass off at a bake sale) at fundraising events and then handed over hundreds of dollars towards MY goal when she was doing fundraising of her own. Parents of friends, parents of former cheerleaders, co-workers (new and old), former cheer coaches (both that coached me and coached WITH me) all came forward to help me. Literally with every single donation that came in moved me and showcased the amazing network of people I had built in my life. And I can't possibly find words to show how much thanks I have. I knew about those people. I knew they've supported me through thick and thin and kind of figured (and hoped) they'd be there for me this time too.
What I never could have expected was the people I didn't know were in my life to come through so strongly. Strangers, people I have NEVER MET IN MY LIFE, made their mark on my journey to my goal. People I've randomly talked with on Twitter donated and gave even though they've never so much as shook my hand because we've only "met" via computers. You can't possibly prepare for the emotional shock that kind of generosity gives you.
I have been making a very strong push to reach my goal a week early. I wanted to be able to spend the last two weeks before my race focusing on running, sleeping, NOT eating shitty foods, and drinking as little as possible. I had 16 donations come in this week alone. Every single one pushing me that much closer to my goal. I was obnoxious on both Facebook and Twitter and instead of telling me to shut up, people donated. At 3:29 today I was $44 shy of my goal. And an amazing runner and a true leader in the Milwaukee Running Community made that exact donation. I cried (naturally). I couldn't believe I had done it.
And then, because people will NEVER STOP SURPRISING YOU, I had two separate $100 donations come in. One from my former cheerleading coach who I have hardly kept in contact with. And the last donation? From a total stranger. I've never spoke to him before, he follows me on Twitter and was aware of my fundraising efforts. And his generosity apparently knows no bounds. I'm still a little teary eyed and it's almost an hour later.
There are so many parts of this Team Challenge journey that have changed my life and will be lasting memories for years and years. I hope above all of them, I never forget how generous and supportive people are. That at the end of the day, the world is full of good people and I get to proudly say I know so many of them.
Thank you all for what you have done for me. I'm ridiculously blessed and will spend forever trying to repay your generosity and support.