Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Must Read: This Guy Is Running Across America

I had an amazing opportunity this past weekend. I got to spend a few miles with a guy who is running ACROSS THE COUNTRY. But not only is Chris Praetzel running across the country, he is doing it totally self-supported. No crew. No support vehicle. Just Chris and a baby stroller of supplies:

Chris started in California and is heading to New Jersey, already covering more than 500 miles. I was blessed to spend a day with him. Since running through the Mojave and into southern Utah, temperatures are scorching so he has been running through the night. I met him at 8:00pm to start running and it was exactly 100 degrees outside. My friend Ryan joined us as well:

Chris is running to raise awareness of organ donation since his brother is alive thanks to a kidney transplant. This topic is close to my heart as well since I work in dialysis centers where people pray every night that a kidney will become available so they can get off dialysis. (Here is my favorite picture from our run.)

What I really admired was his determination and his humility and his kindness. Instead of seeing a cold, uncaring world, Chris sees the kindness and support of strangers. I ran around 8 miles then drove back to meet him along the way to drop off some food from In & Out Burger.

From there he ran a few more hours before reaching Hurricane, Utah. He said over the last 500 miles a few guys from Highway Patrol have stopped him saying they had reports of a crazy guy running through the desert with a baby in a stroller. But when they found out about his cause (and the fact that he didn't have a baby) they were totally supportive and even gave him a hat.

Since he was passing through my town I asked if he'd like to stay for the night and get a real bed, shower, and air conditioning. Our family was thrilled to spend the day with him on Sunday and the kids were so sad when it started to cool off and it was time for Chris to head out.

I found later that my daughter gave him a note before he left that said "Dear Chris, my name is Danica and I believe that you will be able to finish your race. I'm glad that you are able to stay with us. I am so sorry that you aren't able to sleep on a nice comfy bed like you did last night. Thank you so much for caring so much about your brother and running so long for him. I hope you will keep this note as long as you live. From Danica." Our family all stood in the yard watching as he ran down our street and onto the next step in his courageous journey.

Are you like me? Do you think this is the coolest thing EVER? Here's what you can do:
1) Please, please register to be an organ donor. Give the gift of life. Visit www.donatelife.net
2) You can visit Chris' website at www.brotherlyloverun.com
3) Check out the most updated info on Chris' run at his blog www.brotherlyloverun.blogspot.com

23 comments:

  1. That's a pretty amazing story! And totally awesome that you got to meet him and reach out to him the way you did! Your family is terrific! I love the note Danica wrote for him. So sweet!

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  2. Oh geez, Cory. You're making me a bit misty. GO CHRIS! That is amazing and that note from your daughter is the sweetest thing ever. Gah! I love people!

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  3. Amazing story. It's been so hot, I hope he stays healthy and safe out there!

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    1. I know, I can't imagine trying to sleep during the heat of the day and then running during the night (which still doesn't cool down a ton).

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  4. this is incredible. wow. i really don't have many words. what an amazing individual. and your family is so full of kind hearts Cory!

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  5. This is definitely the coolest thing ever. Organ donation is so important. I wish him all the best. That note from your daughter is so kind.

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  6. Amazing, Amazing, Amazing! This topic is very near and dear to my heart as my brother was a donor. People are now living because of his donations and I get chills whenever I think about it.

    Does he need any support in the UT county area?

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    1. I don't think he will be going through UT county unfortunately. He was heading toward Zion National Park from our house and east toward Denver.

      I am thankful for people like your brother.

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  7. WOW! This is simply amazing! I wish nothing but the best for him throughout this journey. You and your family are so kind and your daughter's letter is precious!

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  8. That's pretty incredible! I love that you were able to support him in more ways than one. You've got a great family, and Danica's note was awesome!

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  9. That's a really cool story and especially nice that your daughter wrote such a special note for him. :-)

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  10. What a great inspiration!! Wow. I met Marshall Ulrich (he lives in Idaho Springs, CO and is a friend of our track coach) and he spoke to us about his journey (Supported!!) across America. I just can't imagine...especially unsupported. LOve the note your daughter wrote - what a sweetie!

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  11. This is truly cool! Do you know his route through CO? He'd be welcome to stay with us. We have a nice cool basement room that's private. (I checked his blog and no info about the route there.)

    Your daughter's note was really sweet.

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    1. His website has a rough map but I'd check out his Facebook page where you can message him. (http://www.facebook.com/chris.praetzel.1)

      If you're along the route I'd DEFINITELY recommend getting together with him. He was so thankful for the warm shower, clean bed, and home cooked food. He never asked for anything....very humble and appreciative.

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  12. Wow, this guy is so inspirational. How did you know he was coming and how did you find him?

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    1. Intermountain Donor Services coordinates all the organ donations in Utah and I've helped them with a few projects in the past. They called a few days before Chris arrived and said "This is right up your alley!" and put me in touch with him. (Thanks Dixie at IDS!)

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  13. People like Chris are such an inspiration. I've just been reading a book called Running Pink about a woman who ran around Australia to raise money for breast cancer after she had her own battle with it. They are incredible to go and actually do something tough to raise money for a cause they believe in.

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  14. That is so cool! What an amazing experience, both for him and you! No one ever runs through Washington on their cross country tours.

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  15. What a neat story!! This hits close to home as my big brother is currently on the list awaiting a liver transplant. And I too, am SO grateful to those who are willing to donate! I will be sharing this story, thank you!

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  16. Thank you so much Cory!. I had such a great experience spending time with you and your family. Thank you everyone else for your, kind words, support, or desire to help, means much more than you know.

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  17. Oh wow! This kid graduated from college with me recently. I just wanted to add that he was our class president and a very warm and affable guy. People at school joked about how we could always see him running somewhere, but I had no idea he was this dedicated. That's awesome. Good for you, Chris!

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  18. how cool! what a wonderful story and how great of you and your family to be such gracious hosts!

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  19. Chris is our cousin and we our so proud of him,and his journey...thank you and your family for being so kind and opening your home and your hearts to him...<3

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