Friday, 19 June 2015

Ratanak 2015 5km Walkathon

Toronto Ratanak core group = Celebrity apprentice.
I have a confession that surprises many people. One of my favourite television shows is The celebrity apprentice.
On the surface it seems out of character for me to like a reality show, especially one that was created by, and stars Donald Trump.

Upon closer examination I see many similarities between the show, and my experience as a member of The Toronto Ratanak core group, especially the last four walkathon`s as fundraisers that we as a group have put on.
On the show Donald Trump divides the celebrities into two teams and assigns each team a task. Each team selects a project manager.
The winning team is given a lot of money to the project managers charity of choice. The losing team has three member face Donald Trump in the boardroom, one will be fired and forced to leave the show.

Gary Busey has appeared twice and was very popular for his eccentricity. The core group has not had anyone quite as unique as Gary but we had have a few interesting people especially in the early days.
John Little is a rapper who has appeared on the show twice. He never lost a task. Twice he was the assistant to the overall winner. He worked very selflessly, and efficiently behind the scenes.
Paul Wan is our John Little.
Meatloaf had a classic meltdown on an episode in which he accused Gary Busey of stealing his paint supplies, and looked like he was going to kill Gary. Minutes later Meatloaf was crying about what his charity mean`t to him.
Sound like anyone you know?

After the show most celebrities talk about how intimidating it was facing Donald Trump. I have known Lisa Cheong for ten years.
The calm, smiling Lisa we see now is worlds away from the one who used to organize Conferences. I have stood before Lisa when things have started to unravel and I would take my chances with Donald Trump.

The biggest difference between the Toronto core group and Celebrity apprentice is the reaction when things start getting tough.
On the celebrity apprentice the stars start cheating, lying, yelling, trying every last effort to stay on the show.
The Toronto core group is united. We believe and trust in each other. We treat each other with respect and in tough moments instead of placing blame and pointing fingers. We pray and wait for God to make His appearance.

This past weekend we held the fourth annual Ratanak 5km walkathon.
Do you know what the weather will be like on February 20 2016? If you had an event could you predict the attendees? If you had a fundraiser on this day could you predict an amount?
This is a challenge I am faced with every year, booking an event eight months in advance.
Oct 13 2014 is the day Erindale Park was booked for the walkathon. At about the same time the monetary goal of $25 252 was set.

The date was picked because I have a complicated work schedule and it was the best Saturday in June for me. The goal was set with a few fun numbers from my running distances, and the constant belief of five and two. We are offering Jesus our five loaves and two fish allowing Him to do His multiplication.
God is going forward and not standing still or going backwards in the fight against the sexual exploitation of children so it is important that we try and do likewise. Consistent with this theme the goal represented a 26% increase over last years goal.

For me this year was a grind. I had many people promise me things only to back out. I had two politicians confirm for the walk, start waffling two weeks before, and eventually not show up. I had an Olympic Canadian Marathoner express interest in the event, and than ignore my requests for a commitment. I had a very negative, obnoxious email from a previous donor.
The two months leading up to the walk seemed to me like the twelve mile mark in my recent Pittsburgh Marathon where the runners had to run up a steep hill over one mile in length on a hot day.
The rest of the run was a struggle that I don`t think I recovered from.

My donation page was not moving while others were in full swing. It is a team game I know and yet I wondered if I was doing something wrong. I remembered the story of Jonah from the Bible. I thought of Jonah drawing the shortest straw with the sailors and being thrown overboard.
I remembered a task from the celebrity apprentice that was a fundraiser in which a former star could not get anyone to come out to the event and make a donation. It was sad to see this former star looking so pitiful.
I felt like this man.

On Wednesday about $10 000 had been raised. A business person asked me how things were going? I responded stressful and the money was a bit slow. She responded it was all relative. She was right for monetary goals we set are relative. Every dollar helps and I cannot get caught up in the numbers. I said many times God will bring every person He wants to the event, and we will raise the exact dollar amount that He wants, not one dollar more, not one dollar less.

Friday morning we were at about $13 000. I was hoping a broadcast from The Twinfish restaurant would help bring us closer to our goal.

Saturday June 13 at 1.00 a.m by my calculations $16 444 had been raised. Leaving $8 808 to the goal. I think in my mind the white flag of surrender has been raised.
I went to sleep content that I had done my best, we had raised a large amount of money to a great cause, but if God did not show up in a big way we would come up short.
Friday the weather was terrible, Sunday rained all day.
Saturday I drove to the park looking at the overcast skies and prayed for good weather.

The walk itself is such an incredible time. A group of passionate, caring, united, selfless people walking to bring restoration and healing to hurting people a world away is an event that is the highlight of my year.
No one wanted to leave. I think I left the park at 1.30 p.m.

7.30 p.m the update I receive is about $20 000. In the back of my head I think we may reach our goal, but than doubt sinks in and I think no way.
9.30 p.m I am sent a text. WE HAVE REACHED OUR GOAL! My first thought was shock and than gratitude that the God of the universe would entrust me and my hands of clay with His treasure`s of the Universe exploited children in Cambodia. I am shocked at not only reaching but surpassing the goal. At time of publishing we are at $27 444.

Matthew 19:14 Jesus said "let the little Children come to me, and stop keeping them away, because the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these." 
Sometimes in pursuit of numbers we can lose sight of what is most important. My original thought for the walkathon was young girls in Canada walking for girls in Cambodia who cannot. 42 of our participants were 18 years or younger. 31 were under 12 years. The vast majority were girls.

This picture shows a man using his hands to hold up and embrace a young beautiful girl. This is a stark contrast to what many girls in Cambodia have suffered at the hands of men from North America.

Going forward I want to rest, to reflect, to enjoy, to savour the feeling of God`s favour. My body needs to heal.
Some crazy thoughts have already begun. I have run seven full Marathons. I believe I am to stop at ten.
Cambodia has a full Marathon in the month of August. I could not imagine the heat, yet what a powerful run that would be; running in the very Country in which I have tried to run for freedom.
Buffalo has a marathon in the Spring. I have thought why not the opposite Neil Boron? Take a week off work to run from Mississauga to Buffalo, and than run Buffalo`s Marathon.
Vancouver has a marathon as well. Part of the race goes through Stanley Park, a park where a Canadian pedophile was arrested after torturing a prostitute. Pornography was found in his belongings with Cambodian children. Enter Brian McConaghy than of the R.C.M.P into the world of exploitation in Cambodia, eventually enter me, enter you.
Chicago has a huge marathon, Ratanak USA is in this City.
The New York marathon is another major marathon of which I have also expressed an interest.
Mississauga marathon would be a nice way to finish up my racing days at the place it all started.

The last seven years of my life have had a consistent theme.
My yard work as always is a mess. I have so much work to do. I will have to get busy pulling weeds from my back yard, a task I should had done a long time ago but was too busy, too tired, too stressed out by having a full marathon, and a walkathon in a six week period.

However I know in Heaven I will not have any weeds to pull, but I will be sitting with Cambodian children.


No comments:

Post a Comment