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The Kyle Pease Foundation Cans Some Memories at Publix

The Kyle Pease Foundation Cans Some Memories at Publix

Well if memories could be canned, those we experienced during the Publix Half Marathon would have no expiration date. What an absolutely incredible weekend it was. I cannot thank enough all those responsible for making the biggest event in our history a reality.

We all have good days and bad days. We all have days where we experience growth and other days where we face challenges. As a foundation, we need to take the Publix half marathon and put it into our back pocket to pull out at any time we need to expunge a bad day and replace it with incredible.

It will be a day that Brent and I will never forget. I’m confident it becomes a can of memories that will never expire.

From Friday night to the completion of the race on Sunday night, we were so busy. From getting chairs ready and to the starting area to making sure that everyone was comfortable and ready to roll, the entire behind the scenes operation, required a lot of attention to detail and great combined effort.

The banquet, which was held on Saturday night at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta was standing room only. The food was incredible and there was not a dry eye in the place. Everyone spoke from the heart and our race director, Helen Gardner, received a well-deserved standing ovation, while Brent and I exchanged mutual admiration for each other with standing O’s of our own.

It was the first banquet of this type with over three hundred in attendance and was the perfect acknowledgment of the fruits of our labor and a fitting thank you for all the hard work everyone put in.

All 58 athletes completed the race in flying colors and the KPF athletes had their own coral at the start of the race. This doesn’t usually occur, but was an example showing how we have truly arrived and been accepted as a key part of this historic race. It was simply inclusion at its best.

Our rally corner, located at mile 6.5 was standing room only and we could hear cheers of encouragement for miles as we were making our way around the corner.

Everyone who participated was honored to be a part of it. The foundation embodies what inclusion is all about and being accepted in such grand fashion was enough to make my heart beat right out of my chest. I have a goal of 90 athletes for next year’s race and feel that it is well within our reach.

Brent and I would like to take the opportunity to thank all of the sponsors and volunteers. Without you none of this would be happening. We’d also like to offer special thanks to the Atlanta Track Club to Helen Gardner, Danny Grabel, Ian Evans, Mike Ragan and Curtis Henry. Our since gratitude also goes out to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Champion Place, and the Titan Wheelchair Sports Program, all of who continue to make inclusion a reality in the greater Atlanta area.

And now a few inspiring words from my brother Brent: 

You have heard us boast of 58 wheelchair athletes, of triumphant finishes but none of that would be possible without the great partnership with the Titans Community Foundation & Rick Thompson.  They are doing amazing work and we were honored they asked to join us this year.  It allowed us to create awareness towards inclusion in a way we have never done before.

This race has turned into a massive undertaking for us.  We had 300 in attendance at dinner, 224 volunteers, 101 hotel rooms, 58 amazing athletes and 1 fantastic cause!  When I took my turn on the microphone I was overwhelmed at the site.  When this all started I don't think any of us realized the impact that Kpeasey could have, not just on those we serve, but on those around our organization.  Thank you to each of you for allowing us the opportunity to serve and for helping create the opportunity for inclusion.

The finishing photos are amazing and you can see more by clicking here: photos 

Camp-Wheel-Away is coming early this year during the weekend of April 6th. We are looking for campers to participate in this incredible weekend experience. Please reach out to Brent if you are interested in attending.

We are also currently accepting applications for the Jake Vinson Family Grant which will be awarded to a deserving recipient at our bowling event in November.

Our next official race will be the Peachtree Road Race on July 4th, the largest 10K in the world.

The Kyle Pease Foundation: The Best is Yet to Come

Hello KPeasey Nation,

We all enjoy the start of a New Year and the turn of the calendar page because it symbolically allows us to leave the negative in the year behind us. We are able to start fresh, begin anew and wipe clean the slate of anything and everything we choose to forget. 

But what happens when 2016 was so incredible that we want it to continue? The ride has been so wonderful that we never want it to end? The strides we've made and the things we've accomplished are so huge that we want to go on and on and on? 

Well, fear not. As much as we enjoyed 2016, there is not a doubt that 2017 will exceed it in every way. The year 2016 was merely a building block in the incredible organization we continue to build. The year 2016 was a phenomenal year that included a total of 53 athletes participating for KPF with 31 of them being brand new to the foundation. We hope to exceed such growth in the year ahead and are confident that this will happen. 

We have a full docket of races in the year ahead beginning in on February 11 in Augusta with "Dr Seuss is on the Loose 5k" and continuing in  March with The Charles Harris, which was my very first race in 2011 and in some ways was the catalyst for what we have become today.

Charles Harris will be followed by Publix, which will be bigger and even better than in past years with more KPF runners and more volunteers. 

Be sure to look at our website for latest races and updates throughout the year. And start looking for our blog on the website as we begin to phase out this in 2017. You will find new and exciting blog topics related to the foundation, including several guest blogs through out the year. 

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As always we are so grateful for our sponsors, our many volunteers and especially for our athletes and their families.

As we move forward we promise to never forget you 2016, but look forward to seeing what your younger brother has in store. 

Together We Wheel, Kyle

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KPeasey Says Good Bye To Publix and Hello to a Busy Fall Calendar

Hey guys, 

We hope everyone is having a good end to their summer. This is always a fun time for the Kyle Pease Foundation, as the fall is one our busiest times of the year. But, before I dive into the upcoming happenings surrounding the foundation, I want to start on a personal note. 

A few weeks ago, I decided to step away from Publix, so that I could help the foundation grow, while continuing my work at Piedmont Hospital. Publix will always hold a very special place in my heart, because it was the first job that I held. They gave me a platform as I was welcomed into the work force and got to know and serve some very special customers. 

The Peachtree Battle Publix was more than a place to go to work. It
was a community. It was family. In a way, the Kyle Pease Foundation is just like that. It embodies many of these same qualities. So, thank you, Publix for letting me be a part of your family for 14 years. You have helped me grow in more ways than I can express, and I will forever be grateful for that experience. 

Our teams are ready for the Marine Corps Marathon. They have completed two warm up races in the past two weeks. It is not too late to donate. If you would like to make a donation, click here. Our very own Justin Knight is getting ready to tackle Augusta, as well as, three teams that are competing in the Savannah Rock and Roll Marathon. Finally, Brent and I will be competing in the New York City Marathon.


A couple key dates to remember:

Camp Wheel Away: October 9-11 at Camp Twin Lakes
Bowling with KPeasey on November 13th

We just want to thank everyone for their continued support of KPF. We are grateful for each and every one of you. And don't forget, together we wheel!

Kyle

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KPeasey Turns Over The Microphone to the Other KPF Athletes

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...

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A Wave of KPF Blue To Take Over Publix Half This Weekend

Among the hundreds of unforgettable moments we have experienced since the birth of the Kyle Pease Foundation, in a mere 48 hours we will be in the midst of experiencing the Grand Daddy of them all.
 
When the starter's pistol sounds on Sunday morning, Publix Georgia Half Marathon, 28 KPF athletes and their volunteer will be crossing the starting line, representing the largest contingent of  half marathoners to ever don KPF blue. That's right, over two dozen athletes and nearly 100 volunteers will be rolling through the streets of downtown Atlanta for 13.1 incredible miles.
 
I am absolutely overwhelmed at the number of people who will be participating and envision a wall of blue traveling through the city. This is our biggest year to date and every year we continue to grow.


Personally, Publix is my favorite local race, not only because it is in  our back yard, but also because I am of course a long time Publix employee. It gives me great pride working for an organization that sponsors this incredible hometown race.


The crowds will be amazing especially around the Rally Corner at Virginia Highlands and I can't wait for the wheels to hit the pavement. 



We would like to thank all of our sponsors. Children's Hospital of Atlanta  has come forward to be a supporter for this race as well as a special thanks to all of our other wonderful sponsors.


If you're in the Atlanta area, this weekend, please come out and cheer on our athletes, as well as, meeting the athletes on Saturday,  March 19 at Gordon Biersch Restaurant in Buckhead where we will be hosting an event to thank our volunteers, rev up our athletes and meet our friends and fans.
 
If that isn't enough exciting news, we will be joined by two incredibly special guests who will be running with us this weekend.  Brent and I are so excited be joined by Amy Downes and Kamran Zokai, the incredible duo who helped Brent and I complete the NYC Marathon when our running chair disintegrated. We are thrilled to be hosting them for the race and help that the KPeasey faithful will thank them for their willingness to help us last November.

Together We Wheel ~

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