This week’s Snapshot Challenge photo is also from the Miami Marathon. Before the Marathon began, everyone paused for a few moments as somebody sang the National Anthem. 25,000 runners from over 80 countries took a moment to show their respect to a flag and country that was not their own. It was beautiful to see so many people come together for a mutual cause, but it was even more beautiful to see people from all different backgrounds, races, ethnicities, and cultures stop and take a moment to unite as one.
When we ran in the Miami Half Marathon a few weeks ago, it began at 6:00am. By the time we started running and made our way onto the MacArthur Causeway (which leads into South Beach), the sun was rising, and the cruise ships were docked. Although the photo is a bit blurry, it was a beautiful sight, to say the least.
Yesterday, my brother, sister, and I participated in the Miami Half Marathon for the second year in a row. We wanted to run in an attempt to raise money and awareness for Misioneros Del Camino—a cause that is very important to us all. After months of training, the big day had finally arrived! And go figure, it just so happened to be the coldest day of the year here in South Florida (which we were very thankful for).
We woke up at 4:00 in the morning to get some last minute carbs and protein in for breakfast, and made our way over to the American Airlines Arena, where the race was set to begin at 6:00am. When we arrived, we walked over to our assigned corral, and were in the company of 25,000 runners from over 80 countries!
Running throughout South Beach, Downtown Miami, and Brickell was invigorating, and the sights were incredible! What I enjoyed most about the event was the amount of individuals on the sidelines and all throughout the streets who cheered us on. Complete strangers spent their entire morning motivating us to keep on running. It was absolutely beautiful, and it made the event even more memorable. And running alongside thousands of individuals from all over the world, and working together to reach a common goal by pushing one another forward was incredible. After 12 full weeks of training and 173.06 miles completed, we crossed the finish line and were finally ready to rest!
This experience was definitely one to remember, and seeing how many loved ones came together to help support our cause has left me speechless. We were able to raise over $2,700 these past few weeks, which will help provide four children special education and daily therapies for an entire year—all for free at Misioneros Del Camino! Thanks to everyone’s help, we have been able to positively affect the lives of numerous children, and we will be able to help give them hope for a brighter future; one which they deserve! I could not be any more grateful or appreciative, and for that, I thank you all.
Although I’m not a fan of re-using quotes, I figured that in honor of running in today’s Miami Half Marathon, there is no better individual to quote than a well-known runner and co-founder of the New York City Marathon.
“In running, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that.”
Although Fred Lebow’s quote is geared towards running, the same holds true for anything one sets his or her mind to. There is satisfaction to be found in accomplishing any task at hand, which is just one of many reasons to always persevere and never give up—even when faced with a trying situation.
In honor of running tomorrow’s Miami Half Marathon for Misioneros Del Camino, this week’s Snapshot Challenge is dedicated to the work that Mami Leo has done through MDC. There aren’t many things in life I can think of that are more beautiful than offering a helping hand to a fellow human being. However, saving the life of a child, giving that child a wonderful upbringing, providing that child with an abundance of love, and helping that child acclimate into society is pretty extraordinary if you ask me. Imagine devoting your life to such a cause and saving a countless number of children’s lives on a daily basis for thirty years. Mami Leo has done exactly this, and I believe that this week’s featured picture shows just how beautiful the work she has done, and the work that continues to be done in her name truly is.
If you would like to help support this wonderful cause, you may do so at: https://www.gofundme.com/5y82yn78
This week’s Snapshot Challenge is meant to honor someone very special. I wrote about her a little over a month ago on a few of my blog posts about training for the Miami Half Marathon. This week’s Snapshot Challenge is in honor of Leonor Portela, who is more affectionately known as Mami Leo.
Mami Leo was born in Cuba and moved to Miami, where she married her husband. He served as a pilot in the American Air Force, but he was unfortunately killed in action. Shortly thereafter, Mami Leo saw the devastating after-effects of 1976 earthquake in Guatemala and all of the abandoned children on television and decided to do something about it. She sold her house, paid off her debts, and with only $2,000 to her name, she moved to the poverty-stricken city of Sumpango, Guatemala and built a home for children in need.
Mami Leo started her home with only six children she rescued from garbage dumps in the city, and since then, she has saved thousands of children to date. There are currently over one hundred children living in Misioneros Del Camino, and there is a neurological center on site, which provides various therapies to children from across the country with neurological disorders. The therapies include speech, sensorial, psychological, occupational, physical, and others, and they are completely free of charge to their families, paid for solely by donations. The goal of Misioneros Del Camino is not just to provide a shelter to children in need and to feed them, nor is it to provide therapies to children with disabilities and send them on their way. The goal is to provide a home to these children and give them something they did not previously have. And that is the gift of love.
These weekly Snapshot Challenges are meant to showcase surrounding beauty in its natural form so that we can learn to better appreciate life’s treasurers. Mami Leo is an incredible woman with a beautiful soul. She dedicated her life to providing a future to the younger generations in Guatemala, and has changed the lives of thousands of children. Unfortunately, Mami Leo’s health has recently been declining, so I kindly ask that everyone please take a minute to pray for this remarkable heroine. Thank you all.