Running for a Cause – December 2017

Santa Running Arkansas NDSS Down Syndrome

Each month on the iRun41 blog, I will run for a different non-profit: not just to raise funds for that organization’s work, but to raise awareness of the work they do.

Usually I run for smaller (and local Arkansas) non-profits like the Lila Kate Memorial Fund, or the Arkansas Down Syndrome Association.

You can read about my 10 favorite non-profits here.

In 2018, I am going to introduce you to several great non-profits here in the state of Arkansas.

Many provide a unique service to or for the Down Syndrome community.National Down Syndrome Society #GivingTuesday Arkansas

All operate in a rural state hit hard by the economic crises of the past 2 decades.

Each can use YOUR help to continue their work, and each has something cool and awesome to tell you about the work they do or the community they support.

In the month of December, though, I’m will run for a national non-profit: the NDSS, or the National Down Syndrome Society.


Why I’m running for the NDSS.

When Fritz was 12 weeks old, a therapist in Texas with whom we started working said:

Down Syndrome daddy welcome home “Maybe Fritz will be one of the lucky ones and be able to work.”

She was referring to his diagnosis of Down Syndrome, and perpetuating the myth that folks with Down Syndrome cannot function, have lives, earn a living, or just do things.

This statement made me angry at first. When I cooled down and thought about it, I realized that the therapist was just echoing what many Americans believe about Down Syndrome:

People with Down Syndrome cannot function outside of institutions, do not contribute to society, and cannot earn a living.

Since then, I have learned this is not true.

Here is a list of the many things that people with a Down Syndrome diagnosis have done.

Owned and Ran a Restaurant.

Started a successful business.

Become a professional MMA wrestler.

Climbed Mt. Everest

Ran, was elected and serves on a city council.

As I note below, the NDSS is working hard for folks like my son – people who are fully capable of doing great things in this world, making a living and earning a paycheck, held back only by generations of myths which lead us to believe that Down Syndrome is synonymous with “less-than”, “institutionalized” or “non-functioning”.

To support their work, I became an NDSS Athlete Ambassador. Click here to find out how you can become one.

If you  are a runner, join up: the huge discount you get for Altra running shoes is just one of the perks of being an Athlete Ambassador for NDSS. The NDSS Athlete Ambassador private facebook group of runners and athlete ambassadors is another one. I’ve been missing out by NOT being an ambassador all this time.


What is the NDSS?

NDSS National Down Syndrome Society Athlete Ambassador

The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) takes on the myths that hold back folks like my son Fritz:

They worked to pass a law called the ABLE Act – prior to this act, if a person with a Down Syndrome diagnosis saved more than $2,000, they lost their Medicaid.

They are working to raise awareness of antiquated laws that impede the pursuit of a career or living independently without risking Medicaid benefits.

They train and educate parents, self-advocates, and others to advocate on the local, state and national levels to positively impact the lives of people with Down syndrome.

Remember those annual Buddy Walks? That’s the NDSS.

Recently, I’ve joined the NDSS as an Athlete Ambassador, and will run several runs each year to help raise awareness of and funds for the critical work of this organization.

December plans, and how to donate.

This month, I’m trying to raise $500 for the NDSS.

Please support the work of the NDSS by clicking here to donate.

Here’s what I am planning in December to raise awareness and funds for the NDSS:

Santa Running Arkansas NDSS Down Syndrome

Jingle Bell Run: I’m running the annual Little Rock Jingle Bell Fun Run for NDSS. (Click here to see if there is a Jingle Bell Run in your city or town)

Half-Marathon:  I’m running the last race of the Arkansas RRCA Grand Prix racing series – the CASA half-marathon in Pine Bluff, AR, on December 9th –  for NDSS. Will you join me?

Christmas Party for “DS Families”: I’m going to show you some of the fun we are going to have at a Christmas get-together of dozens of families in Central Arkansas who have a member with a DS diagnosis.Arkansas NDSS Down Syndrome Running Christmas Reindeer

Birthday Run: December is my birthday month and we are going to “Pin-a-Dollar” to celebrate.

Little Rock Running Tour: I’m going to take you on an Instagram Running tour of Little Rock, and show you what Christmas here feels like.

Racing Goal: I’m almost done building my base, and ready to start training – HARD – for a new racing goal in 2018. Just before Christmas, I will tell you what it is.

Arkansas NDSS Down Syndrome Running Christmas Elf

Free $25 Amazon Gift Card: Once a month, an email follower is randomly chosen to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card. Learn more here.

Weekly Posts on the Blog: I’m going to talk about setting running goals in the New Year….I’ll share my Ultimate 2017 Runner’s Christmas Gift List…I have  a couple race reviews…. and an update on my attempts to get to my racing weight of 160lbs.

Sign up to follow all my December running fun by clicking here!

I’d love to hear what you have planned for December.  Tag me on Instagram, comment on my facebook page, post in the comments, or shoot me an email.

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