I am currently the Special Events Director for The Heroes Project – a foundation that trains our injured veterans and funds their climbs up the seven tallest peaks on the seven continents. My commitment to The Heroes Project has changed the life of my son, my husband, my students, and my community. Nothing makes you want to do more with your life than seeing a double amputee (who lost his legs in service) climb the tallest peak of a mountain most couldn’t climb halfway. As a Group Fitness Manager for Equinox, I get to preach about pushing limits on a daily basis. I have created a community with my students and our members, and I ask that community to give the most of themselves, physically and philanthropically. Recently, Equinox recognized my passion and promoted me to “Senior Manager of Philanthropy – CA”. I enthusiastically accepted, excited to share my love of Philanthropy with an even broader community. Being philanthropic isn’t about asking for money from friends or emptying your own wallet. It’s about finding a cause where you know that you can make a difference, commit to that cause, and then share it with your world. There are obvious costs associated with changing the world, and money is the avenue to change, but truly everyone can be philanthropic through effort and the sharing of their own very special gifts. When I took this new position with Equinox, someone very close to me responded to my announcement with the following question, “Aren’t you tired of asking people for money?”. That response required major reflection on my part. Is that what my life has become? Bleeding the wallets of my friends? And then, I looked at the face of one of the veterans involved with The Heroes Project, USMC Corporal Kionte Storey. In January of 2013, Kionte became the first black man and the first amputee to ever summit Mount Vinson in Antarctica. His accomplishment motivated my son to persevere and summit Mount Baldy on April 14th, 2013. My son’s accomplishment inspired some of the 400 Climb for Heroes participants on that day to push their own limits and climb further up Mt. Baldy and donate more of their time/money/resources to The Heroes Project cause. And the 400 Climb for Heroes participants that showed up to climb that mountain reminded the 3000 members at my gym that the human body is stronger than you give it credit for. The sky is the limit, and the power of the human spirit is truly strong enough to achieve the loftiest of goals when our community commits to Philanthropy. Together we can change the world.
********* JJ and Team Splits59 will be Cycling for Heroes at the Santa Monica Pier tonight! Join us in supporting our heroes > DONATE NOW
Photo by: Horst Faas