Please Help Me Run in Chicago to Help Mitchell Swaback Charities

Shortly after becoming the lead web developer for Ignition Studio in early 2007, I was introduced to one of our clients, Bob Swaback and Mitchell Swaback Charities. I don't care who you are, or what your background is...if all you do is read the story of Bob and Gaye's son Mitch and why this organization even exists today...you can't help but be inspired. If you continue to read his journal entries, the testimonials, and the lives that have been touched by this group, you will be moved. I've watched from the sidelines; posting story after story, reading everyones comments, posting new projects, events, and all of the updates, pictures and videos that go along with them. I've attended the annual golf outings and dinners and listened as friends and family shared their memories of Mitch. I've helped put together the monthly e-blasts...and yes, even the ones on Mitch's Anniversary.

Isn't it beautiful though, to see all of the great things that have been done with the loss of this young man?  It's painful...and beautiful...all at the same time.

However, the impetus for me to run the half marathon this year goes back to that first year I became involved. In 2007, MSC had a similar fundraiser where several people signed up to run either the half of full marathon in Chicago. Mitch's dad, Bob, committed to running both!  Together, they raised nearly $100,000 that year. At that time, I was nearly sixty pounds heavier and wouldn't have been able to run around the block without taking a break...trust me, I tried.  I told my coworkers at Ignition Studio that if MSC would do this fundraiser again, I would run...well, here I am.

I might not be ready to run the full thirteen miles yet, but with the help of my son Parker, my daugher Meredith and all of my family, friends and supporters....I'm gonna run...one step at a time.

Please consider supporting me with either a kind word, or even a token donation to Mitchell Swaback Charities by sponsoring my run.

If you're interested, please feel free to follow my training activites and updates at http://twitter.com/RunWithSteve

Thank you.

I Went and Did Likewise

Now, I normally don't write about my faith. For whatever reason though, I felt compelled to share my story.

This morning began like most each morning does for me: wake up, shower, make breakfast for the kids, drop my son off at school, drive to work ... and this is where my morning took an unexpected turn.

My fuel tank was nearly empty, so I decided early on in my trip that I would stop off at my usual gas station to fill up. As I was approaching the gas station, I had to go around a vehicle which was moving very slowly with their hazard lights blinking. I didn't think much about it, and to be honest, I usually don't give these sort of things a second thought. So I pulled in and began to fill up.

As I was listening to the sound of the fuel pump do its work, I began to drift off in thought. Then, I could hear what sounded like one ginormous piece of duct tape continuously being pulled off of the road ... it was the slow moving car with the hazard lights on, now obviously because of a flat tire. As the driver pulled into the gas station and up to the air hose, I then began to fight a sudden feeling of wanting to help this person.

"No," I thought. "I've got to get to work ... I've just got too much to do, and I don't have time for this." Each time the thought came back to help, I battled back with some new, unfounded thought. "Someone else will help, I'm sure." I glanced back to watch as people merely walked past the person in distress and wouldn't even look their way. "This is crazy, I'm not from this neighborhood. She's obviously from this part of town, someone's sure to know this person and offer help." The fuel pump was finished doing its work, but my brain was still doing its thing. "Dude, how many times have you heard the Parable of the Good Samaritan?"

It was then that I began recalling the Gospel of Luke, chapter 10, versus 25-37. In the beginning of the parable, there is some dialog between a lawyer and Jesus:

25And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

26He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?

27And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

28And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

29But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

So what did Jesus do? What did He say? Well, if you are or have ever been Christian and attended Sunday School, you probably know the rest of the story. As Jesus normally does throughout the New Testament, instead of giving the lawyer a simple answer, he shares a story to illustrate His answer.

He begins to tell the story of a man who was ultimately beaten up, robbed of everything he had and left for dead on the side of the road during one of his trips. Jesus goes on to talk about several people, including a priest, who just walked passed (and even around) this man lying there on the side of the road. Eventually, a "Samaritan" came along, showed compassion and helped this person. The Samaritan not only got him to safety and cared for him, but also paid for everything too! Now the best part is that Jesus finishes the story by telling the lawyer to "Go, and do thou likewise."

I've heard and read this story hundreds of times. This morning, I heard it again and asked myself the very same question the lawyer asked Jesus, "So, who is my neighbor?"

I knew then that this person who was in need is my neighbor. So I went, and did likewise.

I'm not sharing this in hopes that readers will "like" me more, or anything like that. I'm sharing this because I know that I normally don't do things like this. I'm sharing this because I know how hard it is to stop, and help a neighbor in need. I'm sharing this because I hope that when the time comes, I will go, and do likewise again.

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