One of my favorite parts when watching a concert is when the lead singer refrains from singing, holds his microphone out over the adoring crowd and lets the audience shout out the words to the band's hit song. There is something magically exciting and refreshing when the fans shout out the lyrics to a familiar hit song. 

So following last weekend's incredible Publix Georgia Half Marathon, where we were blessed to have 28 athletes and over 100 volunteers cruising the streets of Atlanta wearing KPeasey blue, it seems equally exciting and refreshing to turn the blog over to the athletes and their families and revel in the words and feelings of their personal experiences. 

Before I turn it over completely, however, Brent and I, along with the Kyle Pease Foundation Board want to thank everyone who participated in making this the high water mark to date of the Kyle Pease Foundation brief history. As is always the case after a big weekend like this it takes me a few days to finally come down from the high we all rode.  And what a special weekend this was.  The growth of this event and the growth of our crew at the starting line is a testament to each of you. Whether this was your first Publix with us or your fourth, we thank you all for joining us!

What we saw in the starting corral at 6:40 on Sunday morning was built by all of you. Your trust, your courage and your faith in proving that where there is a wheel there is a way was seen in a sea of blue!!

We cannot thank each of you enough for your dedication to our mission and we look forward to sharing the road with you again soon.
 -Brent and Kyle 
I am overwhelmed with gratitude for each and every one of you. Today. Was. PERFECT. And you guys made that happen!!

I can't thank Brent & Kyle enough for allowing me to be a part of today. Gotta say, looking back at a sea of blue at 6:50 this morning had to have been one of the most joyful moments of my life! 
Until Next Time...Helen Gardner

Today was my husband and my first time as push assists. We had the honor of being a part of Team Destiny and Team Sherry. This experience has forever changed the way we run. Being a part of something so much bigger than ourselves and helping athlete's and family's dreams come true was, to say the least, life changing for us. We are so grateful for organizations like Children's and The Kyle Pease Foundation that make it all possible. #togetherwewheel. 
 -Thank You! Emily Stoniecki

There was a moment during the race when I asked myself the question so many runners have asked themselves. Why am I doing this? Yes, I know running these races is for my daughter but there are plenty of fantastic volunteers who would love to push her. I don't have to be the one to run behind her. Than I looked up and saw a street sign: Hudson. Hudson is a little boy who is no longer with us. He was the first child I knew with the same condition as my Rebecca and seeing his name reminded me that every moment with Rebecca is a special one.  It's been almost five years since Hudson passed away. Time does not heal all wounds, but we can choose to keep running, have fun, and finish the race. This morning I packed up the Publix half medal, shirt, and Kyle's book and mailed to Hudson's mom. 
- Marjan Holbrook

Today, I rode my bike in the Georgia half marathon with the Kyle
Pease Foundation. The Kyle Pease foundation is a group that helps people with disabilities. We got put up in a hotel by them yesterday afternoon. It was so awesome. They also provided dinner for all of the runners and I met my runners at dinner. I had four girls who ran with me. Kyle and Brent (his brother) talked at the dinner. There were 28 wheelchair athletes who were being pushed. There were a lot of runners. There were a lot of people cheering me on the way. It made me feel awesome, normal and good about myself.  
-Hank Poore

Thought for the day: Where do I start? 
  • hearing Rebecca cheer for her mom to run faster
  • stopping in the highlands so Sara and Bill could cheer and hug Rebecca and Marjan, awww
  • the five of us crossing the finish line together smiling, laughing and ready for more.
  • struggling at miles 10-11 and realizing that my struggles are nothing compared to what the Holbrooks deal with daily. 
Nothing can describe how wonderful it is to see what the Pease Foundation does for children like Rebecca. I can say wholeheartedly that throughout the years, I've seen Rebecca at her best and her worst. Rebecca's at her best during these events; when we're pushing her at these races and she's smiling and cheering and yelling "runner/wheelchair back" in her own special Rebecca way, and at her worst when I'm caring for her in the hospital and watching the KP joyful paradox is indescribably wonderful. Bless the Pease Brothers/family and all those who are involved that help make these special moments and dreams come true. 
                                                    Sincerely, Gary Harris, RN, BSN

I knew this was a worthy cause,  but being a part of the actual race will change the way I look at racing as well as those with disabilities. We met some amazing people that have battled the odds to cross that finish line.

A special thank you to our Captain, Matthew and his mom, Karen. They made the long trip from Rome, GA away from the comforts of home on Saturday to be ready for the race on Sunday. With a 4:45 AM time for departure from the hotel, it was a long day for all.  

Matthew did great.  He loved the crowd, the sun (at the end), the cheering, the music and especially the speed bumps and potholes. At first we tried to avoid them, but then saw him laugh and smile when we did hit them, so we kept on hitting them. His laughter lit up the course and was infectious to those who ran near us. The picture I have included shows just a taste of his amazing smile. We finished strong as a team, got our medals and have already discussed plans for next year.

I can't thank you enough again for your donations.  Please contact me if you would like to hear more about the race or the KPF. 

                                                                     Thanks, Matt Harrison

Dear Helen, 
I was able to catch up with Brent at the finish line, but didn't see you to tell you thanks personally. I cannot thank you and Brent and Kyle enough...the entire experience - pre-race communication, fundraising, the race (both Saturday's pre-race events and Sunday) was absolutely perfect. For me, this was by far the most fulfilling race experience I've ever been a part of...truly life changing to push Matthew with Larry and Matt and watch him grinning. I tear up and get chills just thinking about the joy that was on his face the entire time. We already asked Karen if we could push him for next year's race. 

THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO. Cannot wait to participate in more events with you guys! 
                                                                                    Tony Berwald

I've heard Brent say that "I loan Kyle my legs, and I use his spirit." -and I truly understood that yesterday, pushing Hank Poore in his chair. No matter if it became windy at times, or a little cold or hot, Hank never let up-pedaling the entire way (making our jobs easier with his constant work!), sharing with us the sheer joy he felt to be out there, and inspiring us to keep going. 

I had worried that it would be much more difficult to run a half-marathon, while pushing a wheelchair. In fact, although I may have done the physical pushing, Hank was the one who pulled us through, all the way to the finish line, with his indomitable will. 
Darria Long Gillespie

Yesterday was so awesome.  My favorite part was when, en masse, our whole group started making our way to the start line and a large group of runners waiting in the port-a-john line spontaneously started applauding as we passed.  That made me so happy.
Standing at the starting line, I felt like I was part of something big. Part of a movement that is going to grow and grow.  I've done over a hundred races that were all about me, but it's way more rewarding to run for a cause like KPF and I look forward many more.  Kyle is a hero of mine and I am so lucky to know him. 
-Cordially, Scott Stafford

Thank you all for one of the most memorable experiences of my life.  The smile on Matthew's face during the race was something I will never forget and the other athletes I met along the way will be in my thoughts every time I go out for a run.  Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help in the future! 
-Larry Lindberg

When I first learned about the opportunity to participate in the Georgia Half Marathon as a pusher, I immediately thought of my cousin Trevor. Trevor spent all nine years of his life between his bed and his wheelchair, with his view of the world largely confined to what he could see from his bedroom or out the car window. To think of what this opportunity could have meant to him, not to mention his parents, made the opportunity to push Sherry that much more special for me. In my nearly eight years at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, I’ve been fortunate to play witness to some intensely humbling and emotionally charged moments. Sunday’s race afforded me a unique opportunity to be a part of such a moment, and it’s a feeling that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I am grateful to Sherry and her family for trusting in our team to get her across the finish line, and I am in awe of the people who give tirelessly of themselves to make such experiences possible for both the in-chair athletes and those of us blessed  enough to be among the pushers.

Meg Flynn
Manager, Social Media and Content
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

Kyle, Brent, and Helen,
I submitted the survey but I also wanted to personally thank you for
letting me run with you guys this weekend. It was an amazing race and an amazing experience. I loved running with Curtis and my team. I know everyone is still coming down from the craziness of the weekend but I wanted to let you guys know that I'd love to run with y'all again at the Peachtree Road Race if there's a spot on a team available. I'd much rather run with someone again and have a blast than hope to get selected in the lottery to run by myself. Also, I've been talking you guys up here in Augusta trying to get some other runners interested in joining the team. Take care and I hope see and run with y'all again soon. 
-Mike Laird

And before we go, check out the view of
 the race from Team Naomi's chair...