Running for the Ability Experience: Please help me reach my fundraising goal!

One of my dear friends, Chelsea Ball, started working for the Ability Experience last year and has inspired me and one of my best friends, Jennifer Jane Farinella, to get involved with the organization and its mission. The weekend of November 10-12, 2017, we will be running in the Geico Rock ‘N’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon event raising funds and awareness on behalf of people with disabilities. I am taking on this challenge for many reasons, but primarily to support a dear friend and an organization and cause I care deeply about, The Ability Experience.

Everyone runs for different reasons, but I feel inclined to share with you why I run. Every time my feet hit the pavement, I run in honor of my big brother, Larry E. Tipton (LT2). My big brother suffered and he hurt deeply, and I run in hopes of taking away even the slightest of his pain. I run to be close to him. I run for him and I run towards him. I pray he is with me in every step, in every breathe, and in every beat of my heart. When I run, his pain is my pain. For this particular race, I not only run for him, but I run for people near and far that suffer from any form of pain or disability.

I run for my cousin Kaydin with down syndrome, I run for my cousin Carli that suffers horrible juvenile arthritis, and I run for two of our family friends, the Walters and the Barrs. No matter the pain or disability, emotional/mental/physical, I run for you. I will channel your spirit, your adrenaline, your strength, your love, and your happiness. You are worth it and you are able, and I run for you.

Funds raised by our team will go towards helping athletes with disabilities get the opportunity to experience endurance events like the one in which I will be participating. It is our team’s goal to raise over $25,000 through the Geico Rock ‘N’ Roll event, but I need your help and support to reach my personal fundraising goal of $800.

Together, we can create a community, one relationship at a time, where the abilities of all people are recognized and valued. If you feel in your heart this is a cause you wish to support, I encourage you to donate not only to help me reach my personal fundraising goal but to contribute to a cause that empowers. If you could, please take a moment to make a tax-deductible contribution in support of my half marathon and witness first-hand how your gift will impact the lives of people with disabilities. Please click on the donate button below to be routed to my personal fundraising page.

On behalf of The Ability Experience, my fundraising team, and people with disabilities whose lives will be impacted as a result of your support, I sincerely thank you.

A new journey…

Hello friends,

It has been way too long since I last wrote; August to be exact. Need I remind you, this is January of a new year. I am absolutely ridiculous!

Anyways, I figured I would share what’s new and exciting in my life because a lot has changed over the course of a semester. Since I last wrote in August, I have completed my second to last semester of graduate school at the University of South Carolina, managed to land myself a 4.0 for the semester, established some pretty awesome friendships, presented at a regional conference with one of my best friends, ran two 5Ks, ran one 10K, got talked into registering for a half marathon, and moved to Louisville, Kentucky. Whewwww. It has been one long, stressful, and anxious semester, but going into the best holiday of the year (Christmas) so many prayers were answered. I couldn’t be more humbled, grateful, and appreciative.

Now, allow me to break down my list a bit. I have ONE semester left of graduate school. For those that don’t already know, I am in the Higher Education and Student Affairs master’s program at the University of South Carolina. Anyone considering higher education as a profession should seriously consider the HESA program at USC. I have absolutely loved my experience, and have met the most amazing people and established the greatest friendships. Anyways, I only have two elective courses and a comprehensive exam standing between me and graduation! I see the finish line, but it’s safe to say I have a pretty bad cramp in my side hindering my motivation to run any faster. Regardless, here’s to hoping this semester will be as good as others!

The second point about having a 4.0 doesn’t really need any elaboration. I was mostly just excited that I pulled it off because I was certain a 4.0 wasn’t in my future when I submitted my last research paper. Haha.

Friendships. Friends play an enormous role in my life. I have learned so many life lessons from my friendships. I made some amazing friends at the University of Tampa while I was an undergrad. Shout out to all my Spartans! Sorry for not keeping in touch the way a good friend would, but please know you’re in my thoughts and prayers always! My friends in HESA are some of my closest… shout out to all my Gamecocks! A very very special shout out to JB, KJ, CBall, Phillip, Asian, Ry, Laura, Andrew, Kate, LoCo, Jackilla, and Hayley. Another big shout out to  Romey, Carlier, Beggs, Katie, Jewels, Samurai, Humphrey, Denny, and Gilly. I know I am missing people… no hard feelings please. I am just so unbelievably blessed by the friendships listed and not listed. Taking it back a bit, I am so grateful that my friendships from high school are still flourishing. Through the weird days as teenagers, high school graduation, going away to college, college graduation, the summers in between, the parties in Cincinnati, and the always memorable riding parties- we’ve been through it all together friends! I love you all so much. Last, I am so excited for the friendships to come with colleagues, neighbors, classmates, and friends of friends here in Louisville.

I promise I’m trying to keep this short and sweet… well, drop the short and keep the sweet. 🙂 Moving on to the next bullet point on my list of updates: running. Oh, running! Running and I have a love hate relationship. I absolutely hate it while I’m doing it, but the feeling after a long run is so exhilarating. Anyways, one of my dear friends (Amanda) talked me into running a half marathon. I am so glad she talked me into it because I’ve always wanted to run a marathon… so this will be a GREAT pre-cursor. Haha. With a gallant effort to get in shape and start running more, I completed two 5 Ks and a 10K this past semester. I ran all three races straight through (minus a short walk to during the 10K). For me, it was a huge accomplishment, and I am super excited for the half in April. Wish me luck!

Last, but certainly not least, I moved to Louisville, Kentucky two weeks before Christmas! I applied for a full-time position working with Housing and Residence Life at the University of Louisville, but unfortunately did not get the position. However, the Director of Housing decided to offer me a graduate assistantship working directly with her and the leadership team for the spring semester. My goal was to be job searching in the Louisville area, so the opportunity was perfect! I am extremely excited to have been offered the graduate assistantship position. I am finishing my last two electives at the University of Louisville while I work as a graduate assistant for Housing and Residence Life. 

I have a feeling 2014 is going to be another great year! But then again, it’s all in our attitude, right?! If you keep up the positivity, do what you need to make a change, and commit to making yourself and others happy- then 2014 will be your year, too! Praying that God answers your prayers, and wishing you all the happiest this new year.

With love,