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The Ava Brown Memorial 5K

Our friend and Teammate, Robby Brown, and his wife, Sarah, are putting on The Ava Brown Memorial 5K here in Jefferson City on April 14th in honor and memory of their daughter, Ava, who was tragically lost to SIDS in 2009 at just 8 weeks old.  Last year for this race, I wrote one of the most difficult blog posts I’ve ever written, and after re-reading it just now, I’m not ashamed to admit that I broke down and shed a few tears all over again.  For the full story of why this race is so important to us, please read why we Ran for a Reason last year.  We were completely humbled and blown away by everyone’s generosity, and we raised over $1,000 last year as a team.

Ava Brown

We would love to see you and your families join us at this year’s race.  There is a 5K Run/Walk, and there’s also Ava’s Amble, a non-competetive, non-timed, fun run for kids.  Proceeds from the event go to First Candle, a wonderful organization dedicated to advancing infant health and survival.

I will be walking at this year’s race since I will be running the GO! St. Louis Half Marathon the next morning.  However, that doesn’t mean that this race means any less to me.  With every step, I’ll be thinking of Ava and my nephew Benji.  I’ll be thinking of Robby and his family, and I’ll be thinking of my brother, Casey, and his family.

If you can’t make it to the race but would still like to donate to such a worthy cause, you can do so right here.  Every little bit helps.  Thanks, and we hope to see you on the 14th!


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?

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