At the start of this year, I set a simple goal: Run the 2013 NYC Marathon. A severe hemophiliac living with severe osteoarthritis in the ankles supporting a 6'3" 235lbs frame, the goal was, shall we say, ambitious. Did I mention I was also out of shape?
I'd witnessed so many fellow community members become despondent when discussing their physical health. In 2013, with all that's available to us, I viewed that attitude as unacceptable. I believe that our community members are far more capable ‐ physically ‐ than they sometimes give themselves credit for. It was my quest to prove that with a positive attitude, proper preparation, and emotional support, impossibilities could be shattered into possibilities.
I titled the initiative, What's Your imPOSSIBLE?.
Despite my best efforts, in September, at the urging of my medical team, I ended my quest to run the 2013 NYC Marathon. I was experiencing all‐too‐frequent breakthrough bleeds in the ankles & beginning to develop pain in my knee as a result of the compounded stress on my compromised alignment.
This was a difficult and disappointing decision, and on shallow examination, an outsider may then want to label What's Your imPOSSIBLE? a failure. I could not disagree more. In fact, I think my decision to end the initiative is one of the most intelligent and empowering decisions I've ever made.
Running the marathon was my impossible. I pushed myself to the brink to achieve it, but when the time came to recognize the line between possible and impossible, daring and foolish, uncomfortable and painful, I was mature enough to do so, without my ego pushing me into dangerous territory.
What's Your imPOSSIBLE was not a failure. It was a tremendous success. Here's some reasons why:
- I lost 40 pounds.
- I learned important information about proper nutrition & made significant changes to my diet.
- I established a habit of incorporating physical fitness into my life 4x/week.
- I recognized a significant boost in my self‐esteem.
- I discovered that I'm capable of hiking, something I'd always thought inaccessible.
- I ran the 2013 Long Island Half Marathon, beating my goal time of 10‐minute miles.
Most importantly, I can now serve as an example to the young people in our community of how to chase their own impossibles in safe, supported, incremental steps, and how to be truly honest with oneself along the way.
And I'm thrilled to announce that I've partnered with the New York City Hemophilia Chapter (NYCHC) and Pfizer Hemophilia to do exactly that.
On November 3rd, Believe Digi, NYCHC, and Pfizer Hemophilia will launch Breaking Barriers, a dual live‐and‐digital program designed to encourage, equip, and support teens striving to better themselves in a dynamic, entertaining way.
Over the course of six sessions, participants will be asked to:
- Identify barriers or impossibilities in their lives.
- Develop a long and short-term goal plan.
- Take tangible strides toward achieving those goals.
Other topics of discussion may include:
- Challenges & tactics to overcome them.
- Accountability & documenting progress and setbacks.
- Positive mental attitude & self‐forgiveness.
- Information, ambition, & honesty.
- Self‐evaluation & reframing.
- Utilizing & offering support.
Sessions will include workshops with accomplished athletes, health experts, and fitness instructors, as well as a trip to the 2013 NYC Marathon.
In-person sessions are limited to ten, NYC-area teens. Teens from chapters around the country are also encouraged to sign up and participate via our live stream, chatroom, and Twitter Chat. There will be moderators present to specifically engage with these participants.
Online only sessions will be broken into groups of two plus one moderator. These will serve as accountability sessions and are designed to give participants an in-depth, personal check-in.
Upon completion of the program, participants that showed commitment to improvement and missed no more than one session will be awarded a Certificate of Completion.
The program is open to all US teens affected my bleeding disorders.
Last week, I went for a run through Runyon Canyon, one of my favorite LA pastimes. Around mile 4, overlooking the LA skyline, I started tearing up. I love running. I never knew it was something available to me. I'm excited that whatever role it plays in my life going forward, I know the option is there. Consequently, I was also bumming that I couldn't follow through on the "impossible" I'd set for myself. I even began flirting with it again. Well, maybe just keep it an option in your mind. Don't say anything to anyone, just keep working toward it. i About 15 minutes later, as my ankle began to throb and my knee began to ache, reality struck again. I have to remind myself the personal benefits of What's Your ImPOSSIBLE? to keep my competitive self from getting overly upset by having to quit. More importantly, I remind myself that the initiative was never meant to be about me, it was meant to do exactly what Building Bridges is giving me a chance to do: help others realize their potential.