Running for a Reason

Hello once again to all of you Virtusites, both new and old. This blog post will not be the typical Team Virtus post full of really bad jokes and silly photos of husky, hairy men. I’m writing this today for a reason… A very important reason. You see, we need your help.

My friend and teammate, Robby Brown, and his wife, Sarah suffered a terrible tragedy back in 2009. They lost their beautiful 8 week-old daughter, Ava, to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Ava Brown Memorial

Ava Brown

At the time, I barely knew Robby, but I remember seeing him in the bike shop shortly after the tragedy.  I remember seeing the pain and sadness in Robby’s eyes, and that will stay with me for the rest of my life.  I didn’t know what to say or do.  I felt helpless.  I wanted to give him a hug, but we were not as close then as we are now.  I’m sure it was a dark, sad time for Robby and his family.

Last year, to remember and honor Ava, Robby and Sarah put on a 5K race.  It was a wonderful event, and it was a smashing success.  On April 9th, the second annual Ava Brown Memorial 5K Run/Walk will be held here in Jefferson City, MO.  If you can make it, we’d love to see you there.  You can even bring the kids for “Ava’s Amble,” an untimed and unmeasured fun-run/walk through the park.  Proceeds will benefit First Candle, a nonprofit organization doing great work to advance infant health and survival.

First Candle

For those of you that can’t make it, we’d still like you to help.  Drew West, Bob Jenkins and I are looking for pledges to help raise more money for this great cause. Here’s the deal… We’d like you to pledge a certain amount of money for every person that we finish ahead of at the race.  You can pledge a penny, three cents, a nickel, a dime or whatever for every person we beat.

For example, if there are 200 racers and I finish in 100th place, Drew finishes in 75th place, and Bob finishes in 25th place, then we beat a combined 300 racers (100 that I beat + 125 that Drew beat + 175 that Bob beat = 400).  If you pledged a penny per racer, then you’d owe Four Dollars.  If you pledged three cents, then you’d owe Twelve Bucks.  Got it?  It will motivate us to know that the harder we run and the more people we beat, the more money we raise.

You can post your pledge in a comment on this blog post, on facebook or twitter, or you can use the contact link to email us your pledge.  And if that’s not your cup of tea, then you can also make donations simply by going here .

Our goal is to raise at least $100 (We already smashed this goal thanks to everyone’s amazing generosity) $500 as a team .  We know money is tight.  Every little bit adds up, though.  If everyone reading this would just pledge a penny per person we beat, then we can easily reach that goal.  And if you can’t make a monetary donation, then please help us spread the word.  Share this on facebook and twitter .  Tell your friends, family members, and co-workers.  Please help us out.

I hope and pray that none of you reading this have to experience this kind of loss.  Losing an infant is heartbreaking, but unfortunately, a tragedy like Robby’s happens more frequently than you might think.  It can happen to anyone.

Back in 2005, my brother, Casey, and his wife, Lauren, lost their son, Benjamin Casey Lamb, to a staph infection.  Born 3 months early, he lived for just fifteen days.  Benjamin’s death profoundly affected our entire family.  It was incredibly hard for me to deal with losing my nephew… My nephew that I never even had the chance to meet.  I can’t even imagine how devastating it must have been for Casey and Lauren.

Benjamin Casey Lamb

Benjamin Lamb

I’ll never get to wrestle with Benji (that’s my nickname for him).  I’ll never get to give him too much candy like a good uncle is supposed to do.  I’ll never get to hug him and kiss him.  I’ll never get to hold him.  I won’t get to see him grow up.  It hurts me deeply to know that such a precious life, Benji’s life, was cut so tragically short.  Although I never knew Benji, I will always love him, and I will never forget him.

So on April 9th, I’ll be running for First Candle.  I’ll be running for Robby and his family.  I’ll be running for Ava.  I’ll be running for my family.  I’ll be running for Benji.  I’ll be running for a reason.

Will you help us?

About Lukas Lamb

Husband to a wonderful wife, father to 4 incredible kids (3 daughters and 1 son), adventure racer, mountain biker, runner, lifter of weights, reader of books, and lover of life. He can be found on Google+

Posted on March 30, 2011, in Fundraising, Upcoming Races and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 41 Comments.

  1. I have seen Bob ride for a cause, so Team Trail MOnster will pledge $20 cash money to get you started.
    Just tell us where to send the Cash!

  2. You are great at capturing emotions in your writing, Luke. From the grimey, painful adventure races ending with pride of accomplishment to the joy of a new baby and the devastating grief of losing the precious gift. The Golden Girls pledge $50 for Team Virtus running for Ava and Benji. When we make the donation, how do we get the acknowledgement to go to Team Virtus?

  3. I’ve got $20 with Team Virtus’s name on it. Let me know where to send it.

  4. Mom & Dad Lamb

    Mom and I will pledge $1/ each runner all of you finish ahead of. Don’t know if that is a tribute to our generosity or a statement about our evaluation of TV’s competitiveness. Seriously, we hope you beat every runner entered and that it is a big field. It is such a worthy cause – such a touching write-up.

    • Mom and Dad,

      Wow! Thanks for such an unbelievable pledge. Now the pressure is on to perform at our best. You guys are the best. I love you both more than you realize.

  5. Thank you all for your generosity! See you all on the 9th!

  6. Hi Luke,
    This is your Dad’s freind Steve. I love your sense of humor (in other posts), gifted writing skills and sense of purpose here. I’m in for $25 or 3 cents per person you guys beat, which ever is more, gulp. I know what animals you guys are!

    • Thank you so much for the kind words, and an even bigger Thank You for your generous pledge. It means a lot to all of us here at Team Virtus… Especially me. Now we just have to beat more than 833 people at the race! 🙂

  7. First of all, thank you to Luke for such an amazing post! It is so incredibly heartwarming, and it means so much to us! Second of all, a HUGE thank you to everyone for their extreme generosity and support! I am speechless and so incredibly flattered by your support and your willingness to reach out and join us in our fight to end SIDS. Thank you all so very much for helping us to honor our sweet baby girl, Ava Elizabeth.

  8. It is especially nice to hear from Ava’s Mom and Benji’s Grandparents, to make both of thses babies come alive in our minds. Uncle Luke, you have created some very beautiful and poignant pictures of these babies.

  9. We looked up last years results. Drew was 10th over all. He has a lot to live up to, but I’m sure he’s up to the challenge. Good luck to the 3 of you!!

  10. Put me down for a $20 donation. Good luck guys! Wish I could be there. Robby and Sarah, I’ll be thinking about you guys and praying for you.

  11. Hey Dudes,
    I can’t make the race, I’ll still be training for TI, but put Robyn and I down for $100 donation. Good luck fellas.

    Heavy Z

    • Wow, man. Thanks so much! You rock, and thanks for the support.

      And good luck at TI. It’s coming up quickly, and I know you’re going to smash it!

  12. Again, I cannot thank everyone for their generosity and prayers. We could not and cannot make it everyday without the support of our friends and family. Thank you all for everything and we look forward to seeing everyone out at the 5K.

  13. Nice write up. Sorry for your loss Robbie. This is a great casue. I wish I could run in the race with you guys. I’ll run at least 5k that day and think about everybody else at the race.

    Count me and Lauren in for $25. Lauren’s work (J&J) will match any donation two fold to any non-profit organiztion so there will be $75 going to the cause.

    Plus, I’ll throw in an additional $2.50 ($7.50 total) per mile that Luke runs over the 5k, up to 10 additional miles (I had to cap it, I don’t want Luke to kill himself or bankrupt me).

    Anybody else want to sponsor Luke for the extended run?

    • I hear 15K in Luke’s future! 🙂 Thank you for your generosity Lauren and Casey, and J&J!

    • Casey, first of all, thanks for the generous pledge.

      Secondly, you’re a jerk.

      So NOW I’m going to have to strive for a PR at the 5K, and then turn it into a half marathon by running 10 more miles. Thank God you capped it at 10 miles.

      • We talked about pushing the limit and running for a cause…Now you can do both next weekend. Maybe Drew will join you in your half. Hell, if my knee is feeling better, I may run a hhalf with you (but in NY). What time does the race start?

        Anybody else want to sponsor Luke in his half?

  14. Wow…thank you ALL SO very much!! Each and every one of you is amazing! We appreciate it more than you will ever know!! Thank YOU!!

  15. Tomorrow’s the day! We will see you all out there. Even if you are not participating, please come out and enjoy the event and cheer on the runners (and walkers)! See you all in the morning!

    • I’m looking forward to it. Not sure how we’re all going to handle the sudden heat/humidity, though. I ran a mile last night and threw up…is that bad?

  16. Good luck to all of you! I wish I could be there, but I’ll be running with you in spirit. Robby and Sarah, you’ll be in my heart tomorrow.

  17. Thinking about you this morning, Robby and Sarah.

  18. It’s going to be a HOT race today. Hopefully, we’ll all set PR’s, and then Drew and I can hopefully get 10 more miles in. It’s going to be a great day to run for Ava and Benji. Wish us luck!

  19. I hate Casey right now.

  20. I was going to donate $50 (plus J&J match of $100)regardless of how far you ran. I thought it would be fun to challenge you a little bit and see if you’d rise to the occasion. Great job and I know you’ll be thanking me for it later. I

    It sounds like a successful event and that a lot of money was raised for a good cause. You did a good Uncle Luke, Benji appreciates your effort (and Lauren and I do too). Let us know how many people you guys beat, how much TV raised for the cause, and how we can help the charity in the future. I hope you eclipsed your $500 goal. Maybe a half-marathon at the event next year? Or at least a 10K? Good job man.

    • I guess “hate” was too strong of a word. I wrote that shortly after returning home from the ridiculously hot 10 mile run. I guess “I strongly dislike Casey right now” would have been more appropriate. And I’m really glad you threw that challenge out there for me. Anything shorter would have been too short, and anything longer might have killed me. And thanks so much for the awesome donation!

      We completely smashed our goal of $500. I’ll try to get a blog post up today, but I tend to get wordy (I know that’s hard to believe). It was a great day, and thanks to everyone that raced, volunteered, donated, and kept Ava and Benji in your thoughts on Saturday.

      Stay tuned for the write-up!

  21. Thank you to EVERYONE for the amazing support!! We truly do appreciate it more than we can tell you!! Way to Go!!!

  22. Results are in!

    Click to access AvaBrown2011results.pdf

    Drew finished 8th over all, Luke finished 16th, and Bob finished 49th. All out of 195 participants! Great job fellaz, and another great job to Luke for finishing an extra 10 and the others who ran with him for 7 more! I can’t thank you all enough for everything, and it really means a lot to me that my team can help raise money and support such a great cause. Thanks boyz!

  1. Pingback: Running for a Reason! | Toe the Line!

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