Ask me if I am a Tough Mother and I'll gladly flex my biceps for you. Heck, if I am feeling goofy, I might kiss my flexed biceps and invite you to the Gun Show. That's just how I am.
But this Tough Mother ain't got nothing on the Tough Mudder... a traveling 10-12 mile obstacle course designed by the British Special Forces to test strength, stamina, mental grit and camaraderie. Even in my fittest of days, I think the Tough Mudder would have landed me on my rear end. Hard.
I was recently approached by my good friend Jaerid. He and I met when he was a freshman at the University of Rochester, pledging Nate's fraternity. Over the course of the next couple of years, we became great friends. We even got married within 2 weeks of each other back in 2003, and I was lucky enough to be a grooms woman in his wedding to his wife Kirstin. Kirstin is a special needs pre-K teacher, so together they understand a lot of what we're going through daily with children with special needs. They have two young boys, similar ages to ours.
Jaerid has been working really hard in the past couple of years to overcome some serious health concerns and get into better shape. He confessed to me that while he was training and feeling down about himself, he thought about Will and all the challenges that he has faced and overcome. And somehow that gave Jaerid the push he needed to keep going.
As the ultimate test for himself, Jaerid decided to complete in the Tough Mudder competition in Mt. Snow, Vermont in early May. Kirstin happily (haha, maybe reluctantly?!) agreed to train with him. Then Jaerid and Kirstin gathered a group of family and friends to help him train and compete in the Tough Mudder, and asked if they could form a team called Will's Warriors. Their goal would be to raise money to help us put Will into some programs that he would really enjoy, but that we might not be able to afford to do. These would include things like therapeutic riding programs!
Of course we were honored and said yes. We were grateful that our friends thought of Will. We feel blessed to have such caring and thoughtful people in our lives. I only wish that we could be there at Mt. Snow to cheer them through their Tough Mudder competition. They haven't ever had the chance to meet Will in person - just felt an intense connection through phone conversations and blog stories about what he goes through.
So if you have an opportunity, check out Jaerid's blog at www.jaerid.com. Check out the awesome Will's Warriors page that they've set up at http://www.jaerid.com/p/wills-warriors-fund.html. If you're so inclined, you can even check out the synopsis that I put together about all the challenges that Will has faced in his almost 5 years! If you're a new blog reader, it might give you some background into our little tough guy. And if you're a seasoned blog reader or have known Will for almost as long as we have, the look back on his life really reminds you how amazing that ear to ear grin really is.