About Us

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Motivating Miles Foundation, Inc. will assist individuals and families facing a life-threatening illness to achieve acceptance, inner solace, and ensured legacy, through individualized journeys facilitating the fulfillment of lifelong desires.

 

In late 2007, three members of our family were diagnosed with advance staged cancer; all three diagnoses were made within the same week.  We were  overwhelmed, initially, as we  began to understand the frightening reality of our road ahead.   Our three, now facing life-threatening illness, had been steadfast pillars of strength in our lives, and the thought of their lives abruptly coming to an end was unfathomable. Refusing to accept this new reality on “it’s” terms, we started to explore ways in which we might contribute positively to the outcome, both for the individual with the diagnosis, and the family it gravely affected.

We carefully observed the three individuals and their respective struggles, as well as those of  “support teams”-close family and friends. While we could not offer supplemental medical care, we could begin to bridge the gap between the reality of their situations and a level of acceptance and inner solace. Conventional medical treatment for a life threatening illness is understandably time consuming, and physically and emotionally draining for patients and their support teams. The mental and emotional well-being of the patient and family is often pushed aside, a seemingly peripheral focus when compared to traditional medical care. With that  awareness, we founded Motivating Miles Foundation, Inc. 

In 2008, we were privileged with the opportunity to watch Matt Johnson (one of the three cancer-stricken individuals mentioned above) spend his last year alive, truly living. He was able to spend this critical time with his loved ones, and create countless invaluable memories that will live on forever. Matt’s final year helped to ensure an already remarkable legacy. His family can move forward with peace and joy in their hearts, knowing that their most recent memories of Matt are wonderful, positive memories, and not exclusively memories of his struggle. Unfortunately, not all families are afforded the opportunity to create those memories and experiences during the most critical time in their lives.

As a 501(c)3 charitable organization, our quest for patient and family advocacy through the execution of customized family “Journeys,” will shed light on the value of caring for the mental and emotional well-being in tandem with medical treatment, in the adjustment to a life-threatening illness. Whether families choose to trek through the Rocky Mountains, while highlighting specific strengths of individual family members, or compose a musical score to be performed by a local symphony, realizing a lifelong dream; our journeys will aide in the important process of acceptance and ensured legacy. Members of our team will chronicle families’ journeys, and create a multimedia “scrapbook” of the experience; an invaluable, tangible and intangible keepsake to be treasured for years to come.

In November of 2008, while waiting on our IRS 501(c)3 charitable status, Motivating Miles’ co founder, Caleb Ginsberg, teamed up with The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, in Boston, MA, running in the New York City Marathon – raising money for Pediatric Oncology at Dana-Farber, at the request of his three cancer-stricken family members. Caleb joined forces with Dana-Farber yet again in October of 2009, running in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon! Caleb’s efforts for Dana-Farber have been wonderful, and have given us an alternate perspective on life-threatening illness, and those it impacts. Caleb’s participation in both races has served as a motivator and catalyst for the creation of the Motivating Miles Foundation, and the execution of our mission.

Our fundraising efforts have continued with haste! Embracing the “miles” portion of our name, Motivating Miles took on the 2010 Chicago Marathon with 20 runners representing the foundation, raising nearly $20,000! Building on that momentum, Team Motivating Miles had six runners successfully complete the Keybank Vermont City Marathon, in May of 2011, raising more than $6,000 for MM! Stay tuned to our “Upcoming Events” link for more information on our exciting events on the horizon. 

As an organization, we are determined to reach out to families in need, and to serve as an alternative resource during a critical time in their lives.  Motivating Miles’ inspiration, Matt Johnson, said it best , coining our  motto: “Continue your journey with great spirit and joy.” He certainly did just that. Our goal is to ensure that our families get the opportunity to do so as well. We are convinced that despite the difficult road ahead, together our footprints will last for many motivating miles.   

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The following excerpts from the book “Final Gifts”, by Maggie Callahan and Patricia Kelley, speak directly to Motivating Miles’ mission…

“Coping with terminal illness is more than hard work — it’s all-consuming and creeps into every corner of your life.  There are so many people to talk to, so many questions to ask, so much to do.  The hopes and triumphs of new or different treatments can change quickly into fears and failures.  It’s an exhausting, emotional roller-coaster ride.  It’s like having an unwated and uninvited stranger in your midst, who seems to take up more and more space. 

A terminal illness doesn’t belong only to the one who is sick– it affects family members, friends, neighbors, coworkers.  Not unlike a still pond disturbed by a falling stone, an impending death sends ripples through all relationships in the life of the dying.  Each person involved has his or her own set of issues, fears, and questions.

Beyond coming to terms with the loss of someone we care about, we find ourselves with a jumble of conflicting emotions shaken loose by confronting human limitations and mortality: How can this be happening?  I feel powerless–what can I do to help?  I don’t want to face this– what’s it like to die?  Is there anything after death?  Why are the people around me behaving this way?  I feel lost and helpless.  What do I do?  What do I say?

Is it possible to find anything positive in this devastating event?  Can this remaining time be used to share treasured moments of living, while coping with the many losses death brings?  Rather than dying on a continuum, can this person be helped to live until he or she dies?  Can this be a time of personal growth for all involved?
Yes.”

“You matter because you are.  You matter until the last moment of your life, and we will do all we can not only to help you die peacefully but also to live until you die.”  – Dr. Kubler-Ross

 

       “Continue your journey with great spirit and joy!”  - Matthew P. Johnson ‘08 

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