Run for a Life: Compassion in Action

“Run Forrest! Run!”

I wouldn’t forget the significant scene of an exceptional classic comedy movie, Forrest Gump. A girl (Jenny) told him to run although it seemed impossible. Despite of being shackled in a metallic walking aid, having disorder in his legs, ironically, Forrest was able to run for his life, running away from those who bitterly bully him. He even became the fastest runner!

Every person who runs has a motive, every person who runs has an inspiration.

As a runner, the first and most important factor I consider is the cause: who would be the recipient of the race or the fun run? What is the advocacy?

I’m grateful for the initiative of One Year in Mission, Youth Department of the Central Luzon Conference and Compassion Philippines (DREAMiCM) for organizing  “Run for a Life” to help a pediatric cancer patient, MARK BISCOCHO, who’s been afflicted by Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), who’s in need of financial help to cover the expenses for his chemotherapy. Another recipient of the fun run is HOPE SAN JUAN MEDICAL MISSION (project of ONE YEAR in MISSION) to provide the basic medical concerns of the people in the community.

Compassion in action.
Compassion in action.
Rewarding moment to spent quality time with Mark and his mom.
Rewarding moment to spent quality time with Mark and his mom.

 

Encircled with Compassion

The Quezon Memorial Circle had been a monument of answered prayers. Yesterday, July 12, 2015, the venue of “Run for a Life” were crowded with generous and supportive individuals. In spite of the typhoon season in the country (two typhoons in a row for two weeks), young ones, young once (elderly) and young at heart unified to run and show compassion to Mark, and to support the advocacy.

A monument of answered prayers.
A monument of answered prayers. *Google image

Words of compassion can uplift, but action of compassion can make a great difference in our lives! A call to help is actually a gift, to share an opportunity to extend a hand, to share a privilege to change lives. This fun run has been exceptional because it created a bond among 300 health enthusiasts and compassionate people within central Luzon.

What made it more inspiring is the spiritual impact and lasting influence it left among the participants and spectators. To jump-start, the spiritual manna was shared by Pastor David Morado, NPUC Youth Director. The devotional was focused on spiritual race that we are in, and by focusing on Jesus, we can finish it strong (Hebrews 12:1-2). The devotional program had been an integral part to empower our lives, and I appreciate that we allot time in fun run like this. Even in running, we’re witnessing for the Life Giver.

Ptr. Dave Morado, sharing the spiritual manna.
Ptr. Dave Morado, sharing the spiritual manna.
Everyone's busy at the registration booth.
Everyone’s busy at the registration booth.
warm up by aiz
Warming-up before running. Photo by Aiz Barcelo
Coach Jonathan Espiritu and buddy, Josef Hilario leading the warm-up routines.
Coach Jonathan Espiritu and buddy, Josef Hilario leading the warm-up routines.
Stretching is fun too!
Stretching is fun too!
10 K runners leading the pack.
10K runners leading the pack.
6K runners, taking it cool.
6K runners, taking it cool.
4K runners can't wait to start their turn.
4K runners can’t wait to start their turn.
Coach Jonathan, blazing as a forerunner.
Coach Jonathan, blazing as a forerunner.
CurlyRunner (me), sprinting with the guys.
Curly Runner (me), sprinting with the guys.
A former colleague at University Voice, Edrick Bruel, chasing the wind.
A former colleague at University Voice, Edrick Bruel, taking it chill.
A volunteer nurse with the Red Cross team, making it sure that an immediate help/first aid is available.
A volunteer nurse with the Red Cross team, making it sure that an immediate help/first aid is available.
Cheerer Hannah encouraging the runners.
Cheerer Hannah encouraging the runners.
These ladies perfectly show what fun run is!
These ladies perfectly show what fun run is!
Father and son bonding.
Father and son bonding (Jeffrey and Justine Dale Lachica)
Dana Conopio, extremely proud of her 8-month-old Mini Schnauzer who ran/dragged her for 4 kilometers. ♡
Dana Conopio, extremely proud of her 8-month-old Mini Schnauzer who ran/dragged her for 4 kilometers.
Another cheerer who reminds the runners to smile and keep going.
Another cheerer who reminds the runners to smile and keep going.
Muses spotted! Some of the organizers, Lady Mataya and Roanne Stanyer, enjoy walk run walk, in spite of sleepless night.
Muses spotted! Some of the organizers, Lady Mataya and Roanne Stanyer, enjoy run-walk-run in spite of sleepless night.
Angel Sauro enjoys her participation.
Angel Sauro enjoys her participation.
Hydrate, hydrate! one of the water stations.
Hydrate, hydrate! one of the water stations.
Endorphin boost, happiness overload!
Way to go! Age doesn’t matter.
For first-timers and the challenged ones, this encouragement matters much.
For first-timers and the challenged ones, this encouragement matters much.
Endorphin boost, happiness overload!
Endorphin boost, happiness overload!
Milo runners spotted. :)
Milo runners spotted. 🙂
Young-at-heart finisher.
Young-at-heart finisher.
Lady Mataya, the emcee, introducing Mark and his mom during the awarding ceremony. Tin Gonzaga, one of the organizers, holds the compassion umbrella.
Lady, the emcee, introducing Mark and his mom during the awarding ceremony. Tin Gonzaga, one of the organizers, holds the compassion umbrella.
Overwhelmed with gratitude.
Grateful for the compassion and given help.
Tears of joy.
Tears of joy.
One of the blessed ones who won the raffle.
One of the blessed ones who won a Compassion umbrella during the raffle.
Top 10 of 4k finishers.
Top 10 of 4K finishers.
Top 10 of 6K finishers.
Eight among the Top 10 of 6K finishers.
Some of the Top 10 of the 10K finishers.
Seven among the Top 10 of the 10K finishers.
Compassionate ones who participated and helped.
Compassionate ones who participated and helped.

Of Provision and Providence

God’s bidding is enabling. With Him everything is possible.

The biggest concern of the organizers was the challenging weather. With typhoon Falcon leaving PAR (Philippine Area of Responsibility) on Friday, and Typhoon Goring approaching, the previous week was very wet and wild. The whimsical weather (sometimes sunny, then suddenly, it would rain cats and dogs) was another dilemma. Tin Gonzaga and other coordinators mentioned that they already claimed the promise of protection and good weather for this particular event. Surprisingly, the rain poured at 7:20 AM, on the latter part of the awarding ceremony. I also prayed hard for the intervention and to finish the fun run without the rain. But nevertheless, rain or shine, this activity would succeed. All Glory to God for the answered prayers!

There were some other challenges and unexpected circumstances with the preparation of the event, and I’ve seen how God provided the needs. Last minute adjustments in thought-provoking situations were done, and I appreciate the leadership of the responsible ones. Congratulations to those who joined forces to make this happen! Same goes to the fellow finishers who enjoyed the run.

Here are some feedback from the finishers:

“I thank God for a good weather last Sunday. The event started late, but what I liked in the fun run is the enthusiasm and passion shown by the volunteers. Their banners, their cheers, and their smiles made a difference.” ~ Wilhelm Fesalbon, Instructress, AUP -College of Business (10K finisher)

mimi2

“I admire the organizers for their tireless and unwavering effort to make it happen. It is not a jest to spend overnight without a sleep or rest just to properly ensure that all things are well. 

The runners were properly guided throughout the race and were recognized accordingly. Although, in my opinion, the venue is not conducive for all runners, I appreciate the presence of the marshals and staff who are safeguarding the perimeter from the reckless drivers.

Overall, kudos to the organizers and all the people who helped to facilitate this compassionate experience!” ~ Daryl John Medialdia, Hemodialysis Nurse, UCP (10K finisher)

DJ2

“It was called Compassion Run when I first heard it. I always wanted to run a marathon (though not all at once) and I thought, “This is it!” Although it was postponed, I didn’t join any run or race. When announcements from social media finally rolled in, and promotions from OYIM, I didn’t hesitate to register and invited my friends to support especially the altruistic cause with Mark Biscocho. He didn’t need to suffer from any disease, no less than we do, and this is a good place to start as a means to an end.

The rainy weeks prior to this event left a scary spell, yet everything did not disappoint. It was all worth it.” ~ Micah Bernadette Polidario, Student, PUP-Taguig (6K Finisher)

Micah

“It was a great opportunity to be one of the runners who joined this fun run. I was so blessed that through this event I can help someone’s life in a simple way. Even though I lacked training, I made it to the finish line. Most especially it benefited me to promote good physical activity and healthy lifestyle. I hope and pray that more runners will join the next fun run!” ~ Eleazer Ferry, Agriculturist (6K finisher, 5th place-mixed category)

Lazer and his bae buddy, who got 6th place.
Lazer and his buddy bae, Yen who got the 6th place.

“Fun run is really exciting, especially to those who are not used to it. It’s like a challenge that needs to activate your adrenaline to push you to your limit. While running you can also do self-evaluation. And when you’re at the finish line, it feels good — “another accomplishment”. It is a mutual benefit, helping the beneficiary, and at the same time gaining something to check on your bucket list of adventure.” ~ Rochelle Firmante, Teacher & Part-time Model, (6K finisher, 4th place-mixed category)

Rochelle, savoring the moment.
Rochelle, savoring the moment.

Sojourner’s Adventure

I had an awesome experience on Saturday night. Honestly, I didn’t know where to stay because I wasn’t able to arrange earlier with my aunt in Commonwealth to sleep at their home. After all, I opted to go with the participants, because I was shy to bother her, waking early at 3:30 AM to prepare for the run. I was blessed to have the Firmante family to adopt me for a night. I’m grateful for Tin’s consideration to tag me along. We actually planned to camp out at QC Circle with some organizers, and I loved the idea. But since most of them won’t be able to sleep due to preparations, she advised me to stay at home with our friend Rochelle, who also ran.

The funny side, it was my first time to travel alone at night from Silang, Cavite to Quezon City Circle. I can’t remember the route, since the last time I went there was long ago, we had a private ride with friends. But I can’t afford to miss the fun run, so I took the challenge and had my evening adventure. I left Paseo de Sta. Rosa at past 8:00 PM (since I waited for confirmation for the place to stay). I arrived Cubao at almost 10:00 PM, and when I rode another bus bound to Fairview, I stood because it was crowded, no seats available.

Later on, when I finally had a seat, a friendly-looking guy in early 40s sat beside me. I started the conversation when I heard that he’s bound to Quezon City Hall (near the QC Circle). I told him I will be going the same destination, and when he learned that I was from Cavite he mentioned he has some relatives in GMA, Cavite. What a small world! The guy, Mario Tolentino is a cousin of my former college professor, Ms. Olive Tolentino, and I’m friends with their niece, Dawn. We continued talking when we finally went out of the bus, and he’s so nice, he offered to accompany me until we reached the assembly area.

I was very grateful for the providence of the Lord. Kuya Mario isn’t an SDA, he mentioned that he’s a Roman Catholic. But I told him, we’re one family in Christ no matter how our beliefs vary. I told him, he’s the answer to my prayer too. It wasn’t a coincidence how we met, it was under heaven’s guidance. While it was dangerous for me to travel alone that night, he sent someone so kind to accompany me.

 

Towards the Mark

Why be serious when it’s just a fun run?

I muttered to myself when I was calculating the time to finish 10K. With barely three hours of sleep (woke up at past 3:00 AM), I was bothered I could finish it on my target time. With the typhoon last week and being sick the other week, I wasn’t able to run for the whole week. I’d been training for almost two months for a ‘half mary’ race on July 26th. “Slow down I could; Stop, I never would” has been my mantra every time I run since I had training last year for the Condura Skyway Marathon 2015 in February. So I’m hoping to beat my PR: 2:37 for 21K (its first 10K: 1:09) on the next race. I only have almost two weeks to prepare, but yesterday’s run was fun! I’m grateful for the grace, I was able to finish 10K at 1:03 (although my Soleus GPS watch indicated it was a little less 10K). I was fulfilled to be the first woman to finish in our mixed category. Congratulations to the top 10 finishers (all men) of 10K!

Round two of the four rounds (elliptical road).
Round two of the four rounds at the elliptical road.
Slow down I could; stop, I never would.
Slow down I could; stop, I never would.
Fun! fun! fun! approaching the finish line.
Fun! fun! fun! approaching the finish line.
Much gratitude to our photog, Rudolph, for capturing precious moments.
Much gratitude to our photog, Rudolph, for capturing precious moments.

Running has been an integral part of my lifestyle. I’ve been blessed because it helped me hone discipline and determination. Waking up early in the morning while the magnetic force of my bed seem to pull and pin me down, has been challenging for a workaholic person like me. But it helps me balance my time, and it reminds me that we’re on a spiritual race (2 Cor. 9:24-27). Aside from having Mark (cancer patient) as my inspiration in running, I had my two runner siblings, Zola and Jr. who’ve been a great encouragement. Running has been our bonding, and I’ve learned a lot from them.

Happy hearts, healthy lifestyle.
Happy hearts, healthy lifestyle.
Best bonding for siblings, finishing 32K.
Best bonding for siblings, 32K finishers.
1st Place, Buddy Run, 7-11 fun run (Skyway)
Surprise for their first fun run: 1st Place of 10K Buddy Run, Run 1500 (Skyway).

 

“Forrest Gump: [running] I had run for 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours. [he stops and turns around]
Young Man Running: Quiet, quiet! He’s gonna say something!
Forrest Gump: [pause] I’m pretty tired… I think I’ll go home now.”

This was Forrest’s response to those who followed and ran with him. Isn’t it discouraging that after following him for a long time, he has nowhere to go, but go back home? It dawned on me that it’s useless to do something without a purpose or a goal. We’re all runners in this life’s race. Are we missing the point why we run? Do we fix our mind towards the mark? Our spiritual race is bound towards our heavenly home.

Gazing at the calm face of Mark, a tender boy who’s too young to suffer from a degenerative disorder, I was reminded of God’s promise that there would come a time when we would suffer no more from diseases and death. Looking intently at his mom, who’s teary-eyed with gratitude for the help and compassion, I was reminded also of the time when there will no crying again because of pain and suffering, only with tears of joy – oh that Blessed Hope!

“Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful

May the fire of our devotion light their way,

May the footprints that we leave, lead them to believe,

And the lives we live inspire them to obey,

Oh may all who come behind us, find us faithful.”

If you’ve missed this event, and if you want to join another fun run, keep posted for another Compassion run next year. For updates of other compassion activities, pls. visit and like these FB pages:

Compassion Philippines

Compassion Movement Asia

Compassion Community

Related articles:

Compassion and Courage

Revived by a Reverie

 

© 2015 LAF

Note: All photos credit to Rudolph Masinas, otherwise stated.