Brainstorm how-to: the wall of ideas
I turned 50 this year. That makes my pesky little brother 46. Always tagging along, asking dumb questions, doing stupid things and creating messes that I, his big sister, always had to clean up. Even over the last few years, I’ve been the proverbial big sister. Smarter, cuter, faster and wayyyy thinner. All you big sisters out there know what I am talking about…when it comes to little brothers, we always have a well-deserved superiority complex.
Then something unbelievable happened. One day a couple months ago, I am paging through Facebook and there is my little brother. That pesky kid has somehow turned into quite an amazing man. How did I miss this? When did it happen? How did it happen? And how could he possibly turn into such an wonderful human without my help?
Truth is, I think he’s been “transforming” since that cold, sad Christmas day in 2013 when Laney Brown lost her battle with pediatric cancer. His heart broke that day. This little girl, who caused an entire community to come together and the entire world to sing Christmas carols, touched my little brother in a way that ensured he would never ever be the same. I think Laney had that impact on many of us, but my brother actually decided to do something with the lasso she threw around his heart.
And so it began. First, he started following and sharing the stories of the hundreds, no thousands of children and their families who have been impacted and heartbroken by pediatric cancer. Learning about them, helping where he could, sharing their stories. He’s reached out to families. He’s reached out to organizations. For no reason other than he thinks these children, these families need someone who can do more, that they deserve unconditional support and empathy and love. My brother works for a politician, so unlike so many politicians who use their power for, well, more power, my brother used his power for good. Things like license plates in which part of the proceeds fund pediatric cancer research and legislature to support funding for research.
But my little brother took it one step further. The reason I was so surprised a couple of months ago is that my brother who probably hadn’t run in 25 years, who smoked, and ate bad food, showed up in my Facebook news feed smoke-free, 53 pounds lighter, and running 5ks. It isn’t that I hadn’t talked to him or kept up with him on Facebook. It’s just that he didn’t tell anyone. He just did it. This wasn’t some mid-life crisis causing him to want to get in shape and look good. This was an amazing man with a focus, a purpose. An unselfish purpose and a passion to make a difference. These races weren’t for him, they were for the kids. It’s all about the kids. It shouldn’t be surprising that his first run was Laney’s Legacy of Hope Fashionista 5k. How perfect. Laney still making a difference in his life. That truly is a legacy. And I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that now, he’s taking it to a new level. My little brother is coming to my hometown to run in the Pittsburgh Marathon on May 1st. Every day training. Every day running wearing some other child’s t-shirt or running for a particular child who needs someone to just do something. Running for “today’s hero”. Every day, coming home and no matter how tired or how frustrated, training so that he can run in the marathon, this time supporting The Emily Whitehead Foundation.
I can still picture that darn kid who caused me a headache at every turn. But these days, it’s more about someone pretty awesome….someone I am monumentally proud of. So proud of him, in fact, that my first blog post ever is about him. Christopher Winters, just wow.
My superheroes don’t go by the names Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Storm. Their names are Brooke, Rockne, Noelle, Ariel, Seth, Delaney, Laney, Collin, Colton, Lucy, Mason, Simone, Vinny, Anthony, Emily and every Superhero fighting pediatric cancer! That is why I run. I run for the kids. I run to raise awareness. I run to help their fight. I run because they LIVED. I run because 4% is not enough. And, I will keep running until we do more for the true Superheroes. JOIN THE FIGHT! –Christopher M Winters.