The New Year inspired Alison Désir to use the sport as a vehicle for social change by raising funds for Planned Parenthood.
It was Monday morning—January 2—and I had been toying around with the idea for a few days. So many thoughts were swirling through my mind.
The initial thoughts around the run for Planned Parenthood
- It’s 240 miles from Harlem to Washington, D.C. The United States celebrates its 240th birthday this year.
- The climate of the country is becoming increasingly antagonistic towards women, people of color and the LGBT community.
- Planned Parenthood will likely be defunded with the new administration.
- Planned Parenthood was there for me so many years ago when, in college, I had nowhere else to turn.
I knew that I had to do something. But what could be done? Over the past few years, running has been my meditation and my vehicle for creating solutions and social change. Whether on a personal level as a healthy coping mechanism for depression, or on a more macro level as the leader of an urban running movement, running has fueled so MUCH powerful change for me.
Could I run 240 miles to DC? No, that’s ridiculous.
The thought kept popping into my head and I kept politely pushing it away.
What if I started a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood?
But, come on, could I really raise any considerable amount of money? I reached out to my friend Talisa Hayes, one of the few female ultramarathoners I know. I told her that I had a crazy idea and I needed her on board. Without hesitation, she joined forces. It was at that moment that this transformed from a crazy idea into an action plan.
The progress so far…and the run hasn’t even started
It has been 5 days, and we are now more than half way towards raising $44,000 as we prep for the run for Planned Parenthood. At the time of writing this piece, 586 people have contributed and the campaign has been shared 2,000 times.
Update: The campaign PASSED its $44,000 goal as of January 10!
I have learned so many lessons (already) through this process; the key lesson being the following:
I have dark moments often (less often now than in the past) where I consider myself to be so small. I scold myself for not doing enough. I think of the worst things I’ve ever done and allow them to define me. But I—and you—are far more than the worst thing we’ve ever done and are far more powerful than we even imagine.
As I tear up writing this, I hope that whatever it is you are dreaming of—no matter HOW big or small—that you call your confidant and share it with them. That is the first step in making it real.