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By Guest Blogger: Crystal Squires

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-7-48-17-amAfter 16 weeks of training, countless mornings of early alarms and hundreds and hundreds of miles run … I did it. I completed the Chicago Marathon. This wasn’t my first, wasn’t my last (although I do love to throw around the word “retirement”), wasn’t my best, wasn’t my worst … but there is something extra special when you run across that finish line knowing that you did so not just for yourself, but for something much bigger.

I’ve fundraised before with a group similar to The Dream Team … a group of incredibly motivated people that are committed to doing something to better the world. It’s definitely easier to do when you are physically part of that group (rather than virtually). It’s easier to see the impact that you make when you are one standing within the group rather than one standing alone from afar. I thought of this often as I ran through the streets of Chicago with 45,000 other people. I thought of the pictures that I’ve seen on the Dream Team group page of the huge gatherings of people … the enormous sea of purple that would fill the streets. I thought of the impact that would make within a race like this … how much more noticeable that sea of purple would be over just one lonely purple person proudly sporting her cause across her chest amongst the so many other charity runners sporting their causes as well. I started to wonder if people would even notice me … even notice the cause. Not for the recognition, but for the sake of spreading the word about pediatric cancer and the desperate need for funding. I knew I was part of the sea, but it was hard to see the sea in that moment.screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-7-48-43-am screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-7-49-15-am

Then the focus shifted. Perhaps not EVERYONE in Chicago noticed our cause, but people DID notice. I got shout outs several times along the course. “Go Isabella’s Dream Team! Keep it up purple!” I may not have been noticed by all 45,000 people running or every one of the thousands that lined the streets … but I was noticed by some. Perhaps one of those people got online later that day and looked up Isabella’s story. Perhaps one forgot the name but remembered something about childhood cancer and takes notice the next time an opportunity to help comes along. Perhaps one person chose to do a little more digging and became aware that pediatric cancer only receives 4% of federal funding, came to the realization that 4% was complete bullsh*t and then decided to take some action. Whatever impact you make .. whether it be to one person or many … reaching but one person means you’re making a difference.

“I am only one, but I am ONE. I cannot do everything, but I can do SOMETHING. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I CAN DO.” ~Edward Everett Hale

So, thank you, Dream Team, for allowing me to be a part of your SOMETHING. For inspiring and motivating me along the way … even from hundreds of miles away. Thanks for welcoming me into your sea of purple.

This past Sunday afternoon I crossed the finish line of the Chicago Marathon. And I did so for a reason greater than myself. I did so to make a difference. I did so to raise money for pediatric cancer. I did so as a member of The Dream Team.

I did so for Isabella.screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-7-49-42-am