In 2009 I started a new Thanksgiving tradition, the Turkey Trot. For the past 4 years I’ve put the bird in the oven, strapped on shoes and headed out to a local 5k.

The first year we attempted to bring the whole family but it was a bit of a disaster. It’s cold, sometimes rainy, and it’s hard to entertain young kids at a running event even when they are walking with Dad and Grandma. I felt guilty dragging the whole family to something I wanted to do so we stopped bringing the kids and Mom and I would just go. I’d run the 5k and she’d walk the 2k.

This is Mom and my friend Michelle after completing the walk last year.

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It’s been a great tradition but I want to involve more of the family and make it easier for everyone to participate.

That’s when the idea hit me to host a virtual Turkey Trot to not only get my family out and about on Thanksgiving morning but to hopefully inspire you to as well!

As I was bouncing around a few ideas on how to host the virtual 5k, my mom called to tell me Judy’s application to 4 Paws For Ability was accepted and she committed to raising $13,000 for the organization so Judy can receive a trained service dog.

If I haven’t expressed in writing how much I admire my mom it’s only because words really can’t capture how I feel. She is the strongest, most selfless, human being I have ever known. She raised my brother and me alone all whole working full time and going to school to be a nurse. I am everything I am because of her and her perseverance.

Now she is raising my niece, Judy, as her own.

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Judy was born December 2003. My brother and his girlfriend were not prepared to be parents. There’s no need for me to bring up lots of family dirt and drama, so let’s just say Mom fought and won custody of Judy at a very young age. For the past 10 years her and my stepfather selflessly brought Judy into their home and are raising her as their own.

This would be no small task even if Judy was an average, healthy child. She is not.

Judy’s official diagnoses are autism, epilepsy, cystic fibrosis, developmental delays — including speech, gross and fine motor skills — Duane’s syndrome in her right eye, bilateral club foot, and attention deficit disorder.

My mom has made so many sacrifices not only to raise me, but now Judy.

Now I have tears streaming down myself. Let me get to the details before I short circuit my computer.

I am hosting my first Virtual Turkey Trot 5k in honor of my Mom and Judy.

Our goal is to raise $13,000 and get Judy a service dog from 4 Paws.

4 Paws is a 501 (c) 3 charitable organization that trains service dogs to work with disabled and special-needs kids in incredibly innovative ways. 4 Paws tailors the training of the dog to the needs of the kids and families they serve. Judy’s service dog will be trained to aide in behavior disruption, tethering, tracking and scent/seizure work.

To participate:

1. Click here and make a donation to Judy’s 4 Paws For Ability campaign. We are asking for a minimum of $25 to participate. Listen, money’s tight. I get it. If you can’t donate I totally understand, please still run with us!

2. Spread the word by sharing this badge and the link to this page on your blog or social media account.

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3. Run, trot or walk 5k on Thanksgiving Day alone or preferably with your family! That’s it! Although I’d love for you to reach out to me on Twitter and Facebook with a “Hey, I did it!” message. Maybe even snap a photo on Instagram? I meant what I said on the #WYCWYC postinspiration is contagious. The more of us who do it and share that we are doing it, the more people will join in.

Side Note: If you need help figuring out 5k try MapMyRun where you can create a route in your area.

Oh! I almost forgot the prizes!

Make a minimum donation of $50 and be entered to win 1 of 10 fun prizes!

I reached out to two of my favorite brands, Mini Babybel® and Vitalicious and both agreed to donate products for my first ever Virtual Turkey Trot. By making at least a $50 donation you will automatically be entered in the random drawing. Just be sure not to make your donation anonymously or I won’t be able to find you!

Sponsors

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Vitalicious

Vitalicious is donating 5 cases!

Vitalicious  has been a huge supporter of my blog for years and when I asked them if they would like to participate in this fundraiser they agreed without hesitation. I really can’t thank them enough. Don’t forget if you order Vitalicious products online use my coupon code (RONISWEIGH) for 10% off!


Mini Babybel

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I also reached out to Mini Babybel, which I’ve been working with for 3 years now. They, too, supported this effort without question. I’m so blessed to work with amazing brands! Mini Babybel is donating three prize packs that will include NEW Mini Babybel Mozzarella style, Light, Original and White Cheddar. I also can’t thank them enough!


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SkinnyMinnyMedia LLC

Finally, my company will be donating 2 Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB. The one with the camera, ’cause that’s the one I want. :)

If you didn’t know, I started SkinnyMinnyMedia in 2008 to house all of my crazy online ventures. And yes, it still feels weird to be a business owner.

Thank so much for any support you can give me with this campaign, even if you just share the link on Facebook, you are helping more than you realize and I appreciate it. 

Now… start training. We’ve got a month! 

 
  • Susan Ito

    I’m in. IN. Even if I have to have someone wheel me around the lake a la Frida Kahlo.

  • Tonyne Haynes

    I’ll be signing up soon! Count me in!! :)

  • smita

    Your post brought tears to my eyes. I am in.

  • Jennifer

    So in! Can’t wait to see Judy with her pup!

  • Jessica W

    Awesome! 4 Paws is based in my town! (Xenia, Ohio) The trainers bring the dogs into the grocery stores, etc. to get them used to being around people. My boys love to give them treats! (provided by the trainers, of course!) I think about you and Judy, every time I drive past there, usually on my way to Aldi’s! I’m up for a trot!

  • Di Taylor

    Wow, your mom is one heck of a woman, she sounds so selfless :) as for Judy, she looks like the cutest girl :) I’d love to run this too.

    Di

  • http://www.stellarpath.net/ Jeremy Logsdon

    Tina and I are in. She works for an autism program that recently got a therapy dog, and the benefits have apparently been pretty huge.

  • Janice

    Roni, this just might be ideal for me. First of all, let me say your mother sounds like a phenomenal woman!!! Bless her!
    I have been wanting to do a 5k for a long time but…I have never run outside. I have never “run”, I do 4 or 5 miles on an elliptical crossramp at my gym for my cardio. Also, I get very anxious and claustrophic in crowds or large groups of people so I have avoided doing an organized 5k. But this might just work for me and for such a great cause. I already mapped out a route from my house. Maybe I will make this my annual 5 k. I better start training!

  • Laura

    I am in – I donated and will run a 5k might be on my treadmill but will do it!

  • Rietta

    Fantastic idea! I’m in and happy to donate to a great cause. I was looking for a Thanksgiving 5k that didn’t have me battling the hordes of people that participate in my local Turkey Trot. I’m looking forward to it.

  • Debbie L

    Your mom & Judy sound amazing. I just made a donation. Thanks to you for your motivating blog, you motivated me to get out and do a Color Run with 9 year old son last month. Now I’ll dry to do my next 5K on Thanksgiving Day.

  • Mel

    I just posted this to my FB account and hope to gather friends and family for a GREAT cause. Thanks for continually inspiring me… I would feel honored to support your family and Judy in this way!

  • carla birnberg

    My family is in in in.

  • Lee

    Happily donated for Judy. I know what an amazing difference this pup will make in her life.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/pattyaizaga Patty

    Let’s do it Roni! Your mom is an amazing woman and I didn’t even know the story of Judy. It endears you all into my heart. I’ve always wanted to do a 5k on Thanksgiving and there is never one I can conveniently get to b/c we are always traveling so this is great! :)

  • Shelly

    It’s a shame that your minimum is $25. My family spends less than that for our gift exchange for Christmas. I’m sure more people, including myself, would have been happy to give something like $10 to this very worthy cause. Best of luck with your goal.

    • RoniNoone

      As I said above.. “Listen, money’s tight. I get it. If you can’t donate I totally understand, please still run with us!”

      It’s not about the money. Give what you can or don’t give at all. I just gave a starting point I thought was reasonable compared to traditional 5ks. My goal with this event is to A.) Raise this money for the charity and B.) Get people moving.

    • Shelly

      My point was just that I would think $10 is better than nothing. But, your blog, your rules! It’s all good. :)

    • RoniNoone

      I agree, it is. And lots of people have donated $10.

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