I am raising money for the ALS Association. Can you spare a dime to help me out?
Three days. In three days, on Sunday, October 8, I will be running the Chicago Marathon for the fourth time. As in the previous three years I am running to raise money for the ALS Association, the disease that takes someone’s life every 90 minutes. As you probably know my dad’s life was one of those. The ALS Association has done so many great things for pALS, their families, and worldwide ALS research. The personal attention that I have received from ALSA staff really helped me through these trying times. Personal encouragement from Maryilene is THE reason that I am a marathon runner.
Money raised from the ice bucket challenge, along with yearly walks, runs, and other fundraisers have provided research funds to clinics throughout the world (research updates). The research funds made available continue to play a crucial role in understanding this mysterious disease.
Please consider donating a few bucks to support this great organization? As an added bonus, I will share a video of kids soaking me with buckets of water.
Donation link – http://web.alsa.org/site/TR?px=3557317&fr_id=12490&pg=personal
Circle Ice Bucket</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user21470225″>Douglas
County Housing</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>
“Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” – Lou Gehrig
Dad and Chris at the New Comiskey. This was the last live White Sox game we attended.
Short version – I am running the Chicago Marathon in honor of Ken Lempa, my dad. He was a runner and a victim of ALS. Please support my efforts to find a cure for ALS. Donation may be made online (http://webchicago.alsa.org/site/TR/Runs/Chicago?px=3557317&pg=personal&fr_id=10382) or by contacting me (8 lempa 8 (at) gmail . com).
I ran my first official race this past Thanksgiving (2013). It was a fun Pi-K (3.14 miles. . .get it?) that involved a lot of pie. It was also two weeks before my 33 birthday. . .and my Dad’s passing. It was very important for me to run this race for two reasons. First I wanted to make sure that my Dad – a runner up until he could no longer stand on his own – would be able to hear about my first race. The second reason had to do with a memory. The first race that I ever saw my Dad run was a Turkey Trot. I remember that he gave me the sweatshirt from the run. A sweatshirt that I proudly wore for years.
Dad’s two year battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig‘s Disease) ultimately took his life and led to emotional distress for those he knew, but he always made it a point to encourage me. This was especially true when it came to my then new found love of running. He was one of the only people that didn’t laugh when I told him that my ultimate goal was to run a 100 mile ultra-marathon. In fact, his response was to tell me to get a good pair of shoes and drink a lot of water. I now run in top notch running shoes and carry at least 20 ounces of water on every run.
Shortly after Dad died I joined a half marathon training program. I knew that this would help clear my mind and keep me physically active. It worked so well that I then signed up for a marathon training program. Of course if you are in a marathon training program you also need to sign-up for a marathon. It was around this time that I was approached by my good friends at the Chicago ALS Association about joining Team ALS’s Chicago Marathon team. I thought about it for a few days and eventually decided that there was no better way to honor my Dad than to run a marathon in his hometown while fighting to cure the disease that killed him.
A friend recently asked me how I dealt with the pain inflicted on my family by this terrible disease. I told her that I still try to look for the positive aspect of even the most negative situation. I don’t think my Dad would want us to be sad. I think he would want us to enjoy life and do what we can to make the world a better place. Please join me as I support the ALS Association and every individual who has been touched by this awful disease.
This year I am taking part in Leadership Lawrence, a leadership program based on the Kansas Leadership Center‘s Four Competencies – Diagnose Situation, Manage Self, Facilitate Intervention and Energize Others. I was drawn to this program after hearing how amazing, awful, and stressful it was. The neat thing is that the same people shared both positve and negative experiences with the program. This made the recommendations more real. . .more sincere.
On Monday, March 10 I had a blast speaking to Kim Murphree of Lawrence Hits about my experience (so far!) with the program. My interview starts at the 32:00 minute mark. Please ignore my cold and click here to listen: http://lawrencehits.com/wp/blog/podcast/leadership-lawrence-radio-hour-031014/
Defeat ALS! Join Team Lempa
On December 12, 2013 I received a phone call from my mom while my co-workers were wishing me a happy 33rd birthday. My Dad had lost a 2.5 year battle with ALS (aka amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Lou Gehrig’s Disease). While his passing wasn’t unexpected, we didn’t think it would happen on my birthday. Needless to say I hopped in my car and started driving. And driving.
This trip was nothing new -hell I once road a 125cc scooter from Lawrence, KS to Chicago – but it was different. It was both longer and quicker. Further and shorter. Multiple text messages from my brother reminded me to be safe while at the same time telling me that I needed to get home sooner. Rachel checked in to make sure that I was OK as did a few of my closest friends. Gaslight Anthem’s ’59 Sound was on repeat.
The drive itself was mostly a blur. I do remember laughing and crying as long lost memories formed a mental collage. When I arrived in Berwyn I was greeted by my Mom and brother. We hugged, laughed, and cried.
Three months later it is still hard to believe that our family of five is now a family of four. This experience has both weakened and strengthened us as a family. I am grateful for my friends and family that supported me throughout this ordeal and have checked in on me afterwards. I might not always say it, but I love and appreciate you.
I am also extremely thankful for the ALS Association Greater Chicago Chapter. Without them I don’t know how we would have made it through this ordeal. They provided equipment, guidance, and emotional support. Additionally the ALS Association also supports research to fight ALS and discover a cure.
Last year I captained the top fundraising team in the Walk to Defeat ALS. This year we have reformed Team Lempa and are again raising money to find a cure to this horrific disease. You can support us by clicking here: http://webchicago.alsa.org/goto/ChrisLempa2014
PS – I will be participating in a number of runs throughout the year. I will use these runs to raise money for the ALSA and to raise awareness of this horrific disease.
There are two ways to join Team Lempa as we Walk to Defeat ALS. One is as a Virtual Walker and the other is as a Fundraising Walker.
Step 1 – Go to http://webchicago.alsa.org/goto/TeamLempa
Step 2 – Click on Join Team
Step 3 – Choose either Virtual Walker or Fundraising Walker.
Choose Virtual Walker if you will not be able to attend the actual walk but would like to help us fundraise.
Choose Fundraising Walker if you will be able to walk.
Step 4 – Fill out the rest of the information.
Step 5 – DONE!
It’s that simple. Once you have joined Team Lempa we ask that you help us raise money for the ALS Association. As some of you know, this organization has been extremely helpful for my entire family.
Please contact me if you have any questions. My email is 8 lempa 8 (at) gmail . com (remove the spaces and use the @ symbol).
I’m not exactly sure why it played out this way, but I have been busy. I went to a meeting to discuss an upcoming school bond issue. I am very interested in this due to my being a part of the Central and East Lawrence Elementary School Consolidation Working Group. I was part of the group that wrote “Uniting Lawrence in Support of Our Elementary Schools.” The process was long and ultimately rewarding, but it will all be for naught if the bond doesn’t pass.
I have a lot to say on this issue, but this isn’t the proper venue for it. I’d like to say that I will write an essay on it, but my track record isn’t the best on that. Someday, maybe.
Another exciting meeting to was much more informal, but in a lot of ways more exciting. A group of folks interested in making Lawrence a more walkalble/bike friendly city met over a delicious meal to discuss how we can make that happen. We took our cue from LiveWell Lawrence’s Physical Activity Work Group which was, I believe, and outgrowth of the Douglas County Community Health Assessment.
Both of these meetings remind me why I like Lawrence. It is very easy to get involved and have an impact in the community. Grassroots community development is alive, although it isn’t always easy.
On the MOOC front, I decided to “unenroll” from my course on Game Theory. The course itself was great, I just couldn’t keep up. My basic knowledge of the topic is a little rusty and was making it difficult to successfully participate. I am now following the Game Theory 101 program and reading the eBook. My goal is to retake the Coursera class the next time it is offered.
I am slowly but surely working on some new content for my blog. My goal will be to post weekly, but that will depend on my schedule. My personal and professional life are keeping me busy, but I like it that way. Aside from work I am taking an MOOC on Game Theory through Coursera. It is a seven week class that requires a commitment of seven hours a week. I’m excited to test this newish trend in continuing education.
On the home front I plan on doing some home minor home renovations. I’m new to the DIY home improvement scene, but I am eager to make it work. If things go well I’ll post pictures. If they don’t go well I’ll post rants.