Running

Persevere my Child.

Verses, pictures, and messages keep landing in my path that have the word “PERSEVERE” in them.  While running for Getty this past year and a half, I have continually come across verses that had phrases such as ‘finish strong’, and ‘run the race set before you with perseverance’.  They say when God uses a word more than 2 times in scripture, its because He wants you to pay attention to it.  I believe in my heart that God is going to continually plant “persevere” in me until the roots are too deep to dig up.
 The antonym of persevere, is “give up”.

“Giving up” is out of the question.  It is out of the question for the cure for SMA, when I have my little Getty fighting with every cell of her body.

“Giving up” is out of the question for going to Hillsong College, when my little sister gives up her Disneyland fund to help me get there, and when a 4 & 7 year old are saving their weekly allowance of $1 in a mason jar so I can go.  I have no way to repay them for just how much they are actually sacrificing.  “Giving up” is out of the question because of all the people who know me and who don’t who believe in me and are making it possible for me to go.   It actually brings tears to my eyes.

I decided to focus a Bible study I am helping develop on “Perseverence”, for the sheer fact that it keeps coming up.

Then I get an email from Hillsong tonight:

“It is common at this time, for some of our Students  who are about to arrive, to have distractions come their way, often in the form of family challenges, finances, unexpected situations, job offers, etc. My encouragement is found in the 12th Chapter of Hebrews “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” The Message version is even more graphic, “Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—He could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever”

God, thank you for continually reminding me that I need too, but more importantly, I CAN persevere.  That the struggles, the weights, the heartaches, the betrayals, the hurdles, and the pain, they are just small distractions on the course of this race.  YOU ran the race.  YOU never lost sight of where you were going. YOU put up with everything that was thrown at you and the best part in all this > YOU made it, and I follow YOU.  I am running in a path that you, the VICTOR has already paved.  I will keep my eyes focused on what YOU have for me because I can see YOU at the end.  I will keep working on being a liaison for SMA and finding the cure because you have told me to PERSEVERE in my races and awareness efforts.  I will continue to keep sight of Hillsong when the money is not there because YOU have pushed me through the encouragement of strangers, children, family, and your word and YOU will provide all I need to persevere.  I will “”Strip down, start running—and never quit!” I will run the races you have put me. Amen!

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Half Marathon : I did it!

Updates on life::::
I ran my first Half Marathon!! In honor of Miss Getty Emelia Storm.  We raised over $800 and I ran with over 15,000 others in DISNEYLAND> myself dressed as the Little Mermaid.  It is quite amusing running in a tutu, “seashells”, and sparkly green shoes. The race itself amazed me and challenged me, and made me want to push my body harder, and be even stronger for the marathon in December.
Crowdrise.com is what I used to raise money for research for SMA.  The website allows people to make donations directly to your charity.  It also allowed me to post to facebook thru twitter and keep my sponsors updated on race info etc (www.Crowedrise.com/MorganSaunders).   I had some amazing people donate giveaways that encouraged people to give back to Getty Owl Foundation  (www.GettyOwl.org) .  I cannot wait to see how Crowdrise works for the marathon, and I hope I have a lot more runners working on it.  I love seeing people come together for a cause, especially for Getty who has stolen ALL of our hearts : )

Thank you Getty for giving my life purpose, and motivating me to get my booty in shape. I love you Bebe Owl!!!
Here are a couple pictures : )

The picture I stopped to take in Disneyland with the Little Mermaid display 🙂

Here is a little recap of the half marathon journey I ran:

Starting Line: Nerves. “Am I really going to do this?” running through my head…”I can do this for Getty, okay here we go!”
Mile 1: Jogging into the Sunrise – beautiful.  Enter California Land!
 Mile 2: Passed the Hollywood Tower of Terror, & Hollywood in CAland, Tron Dancers – my FAV.
Mile 3: Enter Disneyland!!! Through Frontier land I think? Into Tomorrow land, Dinsey worker twirling around a light saber, into Fantasyland (my fav).
 Mile 4: Finish out through backstage Disneyland. Hello horsies!
 Mile 5: Woohoo! I made it! That went by fast, ok, getting closer to half way.

The time is not accurate, I got pushed to the last wave of runners 😉

Mile 6: My legs are starting to feel a little tired. Whens the next water station?? Anaheim streets are FILLED with fans.

Mile 7: Stopped for the bathroom, hula dancers helped me fix my tutu 🙂 YES OVER half way! I can do this, right Getty??
Mile 8: Okay, legs, dont fail me we can do this! Passed a pretty water duct area.  When do we get to go into the A’s Stadium?
Mile 9: Hello A’s (Angels) stadium!! Wait, what? THERE ARE TONS OF PEOPLE in the stands cheering for us?? Goosebumps…Hey Im on the big screen 🙂  4 more miles? I got this fool!
Mile 10: aye yi yi…3 more, thats easy, thats a baby 5k. Getty!!!!!!!!
Mile 11: People all around me limping, super painful to watch, and its killing me. 2 more miles? Okay thats about 4-5 more songs? I got this, right Getty!?? Right. Hooot hoot!
Mile 12: Fricken A…my knees are killing me..Okay those girls are stretching, I think that might help me finish strong? <2min stretch break> LEGGO! Pained face…One foot in front of the other, dont stop till you get there, go legs go. Patted an older runner lady on the back “you can do this sister!” She was grabbing her sides…ouchies…
Mile 13: .1 miles to go I GOT THIS. Lets go little owl. Carry me to the end.  Tons of people cheering us on…tears swelling up in my eyes…Getty its gonna happen!

Mile 13.1: YES! Getty, we did it sister 🙂

EDUCATE YOURSELF ON SMA….We are in this fight together!:

What is SMA?

Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is an inherited disease that causes progressive muscle degeneration and weakness. Infants, like Getty, with SMA Type 1, the most severe type of SMA, are born with very little muscle tone and weak muscles. They develop feeding and breathing problems as the weakness gets worse over time. The weakness eventually becomes severe.

There is no cure or treatment for SMA. The lifespan with SMA is seldom longer than 2 – 3 years.

  • SMA is the #1 genetic killer of young children.
  • SMA is estimated to occur in nearly 1 out of every 6,000 births.
  • 1 in every 40 people, or nearly 10 million Americans, UNKNOWINGLY carries the gene responsible for SMA. Few have any known family history.
  • SMA is a pan-ethnic disease and does not discriminate based on race, ethnicity, or gender.
  • There is currently no treatment and no cure, but the National Institutes of Health (NIH) selected SMA as the disease closest to treatment of more than 600 neurological disorders.
  • Researchers estimate that a viable treatment and/or cure is attainable IF provided adequate resources.
  • The American College of Medical Genetics recommends that SMA carrier testing be made available to ALL couples planning a family, regardless of ethnicity or family history.
  • SMA does not affect the mind.

A Mermaid’s Tale : Please Read :)

Almost a year ago I met one of the most amazing little girls: Getty Storm.

Getty and I 2010

One week after I met Getty, she was diagnosed with SMA or Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  This is the #1 genetic killer of all children under 2 and I had never heard about it. SMA is an inherited disease that causes progressive muscle degeneration and weakness. Infants, like Getty, with SMA Type 1, the most severe type of SMA, are born with very little muscle tone and weak muscles. They develop feeding and breathing problems as the weakness gets worse over time. The weakness eventually becomes severe.  There is no cure or treatment for SMA. The lifespan with SMA is seldom longer than 2 – 3 years. (GettyOwl.com).

Something had to be done.  When Mark and Kate decided to start the Getty Owl Foundation I knew I wanted to support them.  This little Owl had captured my heart.
THE GETTY OWL FOUNDATION is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public benefit corporation whose mission is helping families and fighting Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA).

I will be running the Disneyland 1/2 Marathon on September 4th.  Am I a runner? Not before I met Getty 🙂 I will be raising money for the Getty Owl Foundation.  My big race is in December.  I will be pushing 26.2 miles along with almost 100 other runners in the CIM.  As a group we will be aiming to raise $10,000 for the Getty Owl Foundation.  But first I will be running 13.1 miles to help Owl!

I will be raising money in three ways:

1. Selling Headbands: 50% of every sale goes to the GOF

2. Photo shoots: $10 from every shoot goes to the GOF

3. Donations: http://www.crowdrise.com/MorganSauners

If I raise $100, I will SPARKLIFY my running shoes GREEN.  If I raise $200 I will wear a TuTu with my sparkly shoes (oooh!!).  At $300 I will wear a Sparkling Purple top (working on what type).  AND If I raise $400 I will be decked out in a Little Mermaid costume with red hair clips – OO-lala!  Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved The Little Mermaid.  So this is what I hope to be dressed as while I sweat through a half marathon 🙂 All for Getty! Will you support my cause? Will I be a Little Mermaid for the race?

First Level: SPARKLED RUNNING SHOES Second Level: Fins TuTuThird Level: A purple Sparkly topFourth Level: Red Hair Add-ins 🙂

The Pieces Come Together :) 2011.

So the other night I dreamt that I was running a marathon in…Disneyland!  And it was amazing.   And I took first place in the women’s division and I got this huge banner.  Oh yeah, did I mention that I sprinted mile 26? ROFL.  But anyway, it was just a dream.  So I told my co-workers about this dream and thought, that would actually be really fun!  One of them told me there actually is something like that at Disneyland so I instantly searched on google.  Low and behold (whatever that phrase means) there is a half marathon there in September! How visually stimulating would it be to run around Disneyland??  So since this year is dedicated to running in order to help STOP SMA, I think I will run this race.  But I wanted to ask Miss Getty and this is what her Momma said: “Sounds great! We would love to take Getty to meet Mickey and to help cheer you on.”  Could this get any better?
About 2 years ago I went to Disneyland and saw that a Little Mermaid ride was being built and would be finished in 2011.  I took a picture next to it and thought, “I’ll be back!”  and it turns out I will.  So awesome.  Team Getty Runners 2011! Wahoo!

Back in 2009.