Marshmallow Mondays


Help Us Fight Kidney Disease
09.12.16, 7:28 AM
Filed under: Events, Family | Tags: , ,

October 11th will mark 2 YEARS since Ryan received his kidney/pancreas transplant.

It will be 2 years since another family made the most selfless decision and gave Ryan the gift of life in the midst of their own tragic loss. For us, that has meant 2 years without a scary low sugar episode or the need to call 911. 2 years without hospital stays. 2 years since time felt as though it was standing still. 2 years since a heavy weight was lifted from our shoulders. 2 years of health, happiness and special memories that our family of four have been able to cherish because another family said “yes” to organ donation. 2 years of living diabetes and kidney disease free.

IMG_5724To honor our donor family, to celebrate Ryan’s health, and to show our support for those who are fighting against kidney disease every day, we will once again participate in Lexington’s Kidney Walk on October 9th at Coldstream Park.

This is an opportunity to show our support and provide hope to the 26 million Americans who are living with kidney disease, and the 73 million who are at risk.

We invite all of our friends and family members, near and far, to help us make a difference. There are numerous ways that you can participate:

  • Walk with us. Join our Match For Ryan Team and walk with us on October 9th.
  • Donate to our team. Help us reach our fundraising goal by making a donation, which will help The National Kidney Foundation make a difference in the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease.
  • Visit our Lemonade Stand! On Saturday, September 17th, from 1-4pm Rydan and Lily will have a lemonade stand set up in our front yard. lemonadeoverview100 percent of their sales will support our fundraising goal for the walk. Stop by for some fresh lemonade, sweet treats, and to see two smiling faces trying to make a positive difference because they understand what it’s like when someone you love suffers from kidney disease.

Many thanks in advance for any support you can give!



Share Your Spare Success

covWe did it!  Share Your Spare 5K Run/Walk was a huge success.

Ryan and I would like to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to everyone involved. Whether you helped us behind the scenes or participated as a runner or walker, we truly can’t say enough about how amazing race day was on Saturday.

This event exceeded our expectations in so many ways.  Here are a few highlights from the race that I’d like to share with all of you:

  • LOTS of familiar faces on the race course, and everyone seemed to be having such a good time.  We ran an “out and back” course, and on my way back I couldn’t run more than a few steps without passing someone I knew. We cheered for each other, high-fived, clapped, and smiled.  It felt like a true celebration; one that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
  • Meeting new “kidney” friends and listening to them share their own stories about kidney-related health problems was remarkable.  I had no idea that we would attract so many individuals whose lives have been affected by kidney disease, but it warmed my heart knowing that they had a special reason for choosing our race.
  • Outstanding volunteers!  This race would not have been a success without them, so thank you to those of you who gave up your Saturday morning to help us. Whether you handed out water, assisted with the Kids Fun Walk, worked the registration table, helped set up and/or clean up, we appreciate your time so very much.  I never could have done this race without such motivated, enthusiastic individuals who genuinely cared about the success of the race.
  • Our Sponsors, Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates and the Kidney Health Alliance of Kentucky, who really enhanced our event by encouraging organ donation and kidney health.  I was so happy to hear that most of our race participants are already organ donors, and that there were many individuals who took advantage of the free kidney health screenings.
  • Involvement from our Cincinnati Transplant Team.  Two members from our team made the trip to Lexington so that they could offer their support.  One of them was a superstar volunteer for our Kids Fun Walk, and the other actually participated as a runner in the 5K while her husband generously volunteered his time handing out water on the course.  I cannot put into words how much I love these two women for dedicating their Saturday morning to us.  I know that they are always there for us on a daily basis to answer questions and provide support, but being present at our fundraiser really touched our hearts and showed us just how much they really do care.
  • So many of you (virtual runners included) told us that this was your very first 5K.  We are honored that you committed to our race and personally accomplished something new.  Congratulations!
  • Virtual photos.  “Seeing” runners in their race shirts across the country made us so incredibly happy.  You all made Share Your Spare spread across the entire USA and beyond, which means that our success didn’t end in Lexington, KY.
  • 2015 Share Your Spare.  There has been a lot of talk already about making Share Your Spare an annual race.  I love that so many of you expressed interest in coming back for a second year!  That means that there are people who really believe strongly in our cause and want to help us continue spreading awareness for kidney disease, which is awesome.  Who knows… maybe next year Ryan will be running with us!

We have collected lots and lots of photos from our Lexington runners, Hegins runners, and virtual runners.  There are way too many to post on my blog, so please visit our Facebook Page, A Match For Ryan, and check out all of the Share Your Spare Photo Albums.

We hope that you will continue to follow us on A Match For Ryan, where we provide educational information on kidney disease, transplants and the importance of being an organ donor.  Please watch for updates on Ryan’s journey towards receiving his kidney/pancreas transplant as well.  I look forward to the day when I can announce to you all that a match has been found for him.

Friends, thank you again for all of your prayers, support, encouragement, love, and donations.  Our hearts continue to fill with hope, and every day we remain thankful for our extended “kidney family.”  We are truly blessed!



Race Details

ShareYourSpare-GreenToday’s post contains important details about t-shirt pick up location and race day for Share Your Spare 5K Run/Walk.  Most of you who have registered for Share Your Spare have already received these details, but in case you haven’t, feel free to bookmark or print out this post to use as a reference.  Anyone who registers from this point forward will also receive these details in their confirmation email from runsignup.com.  

Whether you have chosen to participate with us in Lexington as a runner/walker, registered your child for the Kids One Mile Fun Walk, or are participating virtually from our hometown in Hegins, PA or your own community, this post will provide you with details for each category.

LEXINGTON PARTICIPANTS: 

  • T-shirt pick up will take place on Friday, June 6th from 4:00-7:00pm at Cool Comfort Shoes, 433 Southland Drive, Lexington 40503.  You are permitted to pick up for other runners.  T-shirts will also be available for pick up on race day
  • Online registration will remain open until 11:59pm on June 5th.  On-site registration will be available at packet pick up as well as on race day from 7:00-8:30am.
  • The 5K run/walk will begin promptly at 8:30am.  Please be at the Starting Line by 8:20am for opening remarks.
  • Our race will be chip-timed by 3 Way Racing.  Upon crossing the Finish Line, please enjoy bottled water and snacks inside of the Embassy.  Here you will also find Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA), who will be available to register you as an organ donor and answer any questions you might have.  If you would like to register as an organ donor, please be sure to have your driver’s license.  In addition, you will see the Kidney Health Alliance of Kentucky (KHAKY), who will provide FREE kidney health screenings to anyone interested.  Results will be printed on the spot.
  • Awards will take place inside of the Embassy at approximately 9:30am.  Top three overall male and female and top three age group winners (male & female) will receive a very special kidney medal.
  • Address to Coldstream Research Park:  1801 Newtown Pike, Lexington KY  40511.  Parking is available at the Embassy Suites.

KIDS ONE MILE FUN WALK: 

  • The Kids One Mile Fun Walk will begin a few minutes after the start of our 5K race, which begins at 8:30am.  Please have your child near the starting line by 8:20am.
  • Kids are encouraged to wear as much green as creatively as possible for the race to support kidney health.  Let your imagination go wild, and enjoy the opportunity to dress up for a very important cause.
  • After the kids cross the Finish Line,  volunteers will gather them in a group off to the side, so that they can watch and cheer on the 5K runners.  Also at this time, they will “Guess How Many Kidneys Are In The Jar?” for a chance to win a jar of green “kidneys” (jellybeans).  Water and snacks will be provided.  If your child has any food allergies, please email me at bwmarie@hotmail.com and let me know what those allergies are so that I can plan accordingly.
  • Prizes for the top three most creatively green dressed kids will be awarded at our Awards Ceremony, which will take place inside of the Embassy at approximately 9:30am.  All kids will also receive a goodie bag for their participation, so please don’t leave without receiving one.
  • Address to Coldstream Research Park:  1801 Newtown Pike, Lexington KY  40511.  Parking is available at the Embassy Suites.

HEGINS, PA VIRTUAL RUNNERS/WALKERS: 

  • Your t-shirt will be available for pick up at Tori Miller’s house, 1736 W. Maple Street in Valley View on June 6th from 6:00-8:00pm.  You are permitted to pick up t-shirts for other virtual runners/walkers.
  • On race day, June 7th, Tori is asking everyone to park in the empty lot beyond his house. The Virtual 5K will begin promptly at 8:30am in front of Tori’s house, 1736 W. Maple Street in Valley View.
  • Virtual Runner/Walker registration will remain open until 11:59pm on May 25th.
  • Don’t forget to snap a few photos during your run/walk, and email them to me at bwmarie@hotmail.com, or send them to me via Facebook message.  Our Match For Ryan Facebook page does not permit others to post photos to it, but I will create a “Virtual Share Your Spare” album on A Match For Ryan with all photos that I receive from our virtual runners/walkers.

ALL OTHER VIRTUAL RUNNERS/WALKERS: 

  • For virtual runners/walkers participating from your own community outside of Lexington, KY or Hegins, PA, your t-shirt will be mailed to you during the last few days of May to ensure that you receive it prior to June 7th.
  • Virtual Runner/Walker registration will remain open until 11:59pm on May 25th.
  • Don’t forget to snap a few photos during your run/walk, and email them to me at bwmarie@hotmail.com, or send them to me via Facebook message.  Our Match For Ryan Facebook page does not permit others to post photos to it, but I will create a “Virtual Share Your Spare” album on A Match For Ryan with all photos that I receive from our virtual runners/walkers.

For ALL participants, please make sure to “like” our Facebook Page, A Match For Ryan, to stay informed about race day as well as continue to follow Ryan’s journey towards finding a match.  

To anyone who hasn’t yet registered, our t-shirt deadline has been extended through today (5/19)!  Sign up today and guarantee yours!  Registration will remain open after today, and we will order extra shirts, but we cannot guarantee size preference after today.  www.runsignup.com/shareyourspare5k 

Looking forwarding to seeing everyone on Race Day!  Together, let’s do this for Ryan, for all those in need of a life-saving organ, and let’s celebrate everyone who has already committed to being an organ donor. May we inspire others to consider organ donation, and create awareness for kidney disease.



RunTheBluegrass Recap

Never say never.  Even after completing a half marathon that wasn’t very kind to you.  One that was filled with the steepest hills my legs have ever run on, and one that left me sore for an entire week.

Even before I crossed the finish line last year, I vowed to never do this race again. After injuring my leg at the 5th mile, the remainder of the course was torture.  Any time I’ve talked about RunTheBluegrass throughout the past year, I’ve said the same thing – I’m just glad to be able to say that I did it, because it’s not a race you do for time; it’s one that you do just to see if you can reach the finish line.

Add to that the fact that I usually don’t run ANY race more than once.  I like to support different causes, and I like variety.  All of that being said, the chances of me returning to the RunTheBluegrass half marathon course were slim to none.

Enter 2014, and the news that Heather Abbott would be the guest of honor at this same race.  I didn’t think twice.  I just signed up. That’s the kind of influence Heather Abbott has.  Who is Heather Abbott?  She is a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing.  Click here to watch the piece that WKYT did last week regarding Heather’s visit to the Bluegrass.

Saturday’s race day weather was less than desirable.  Rain (heavy at times), wind and cold air made for thousands of soggy, shivering runners.  But, you don’t train for months for RunTheBluegrass only to back out on race day because of a little rain, especially when you know that Heather Abbott showed up for you. Instead, you hold your head high, you attack each hill, you don’t stop, you pull inspiration from those around you who are doing the same, and you find every ounce of strength you have just to reach the finish line and receive that oh so cool Zenyatta-inspired horse medal.

I have to talk about the remarkable volunteers too.  I don’t know how RunTheBluegrass finds the type of people willing to show up on a day like Saturday and stand outside for hours freezing their tails off.  The truly awesome thing was, that they didn’t just stand there and clap when you ran by.  They didn’t just say a simple “you can do it.”  These volunteers gave it their all and made you feel like they felt every ounce of the fight that was going on inside of you.  If the torrential downpour bothered them, they sure didn’t show it.  They were flat out awesome, and truly had an effect on my will to keep going.

And then there were the bands.  The most memorable for me were the people playing the drums at the dreaded mile-9.  Pushing myself up the hill that makes you want to cry was slightly easier with the thump of the drums beneath my legs.

This race was definitely memorable.  It was a true challenge.  It was kind of miserable too.  BUT, I did it.  I accomplished a personal goal, and isn’t that what running is all about?  My time of 1:45:09 was a thirteen minute improvement over last year’s time, and for me, it was all worth it.

This is the first time that my family didn’t see me cross the finish line of a race.  They were staying warm and dry inside of Keene Barn.  I literally looked like I got a bath when I found them, and when I saw the disappointment on Ryan’s face when he said “We missed you.  I can’t believe we missed you,” I simply smiled and said “It’s okay,” and I meant it.  Something happened with the halfway text he received letting him know that I was halfway through.  It didn’t reach him until after I’d passed my halfway point, so he wasn’t expecting me to cross the finish line when I did, and therefore missed the moment that I finished and received my medal. Bummer? In hindsight, maybe a little, but in looking at the big picture that day with the daunting elements and difficult hilly course, I am just grateful and proud to have accomplished this one.  I won’t ever forget it.

I had high hopes of meeting Heather Abbott too, but unfortunately I didn’t get that opportunity. I would have loved to shake her hand, but even though it didn’t happen, I will forever cherish the influence that she had on getting me back onto that course and inspiring me to overcome something that was a big disappointment for me last year.

So between the awful weather, my family missing my finishing moment, and missing out on meeting Heather, one might deem this experience as a disappointment.  Are there things that I wish would have been different?  Sure.  But, I also understand that no one can control the weather, and that sometimes, it’s the unexpected that creates the most memorable moments.

Eric Patrick Marr, RunTheBluegrass Race Director, I think you did a phenomenal job.  Despite the circumstances, you managed to execute one heck of a race.  From a runner’s perspective, thank you for caring so much about your runners.  Thank you for caring so much about your volunteers.  Thank you for taking so much pride in RunTheBluegrass, because truly, it shows, and I am proud to have been a part of it!

I don’t have any pictures of the day, but this is all I need to remember March 29, 2014.

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Welcome Home
02.24.14, 7:35 AM
Filed under: The Buffington Southern Experience | Tags: , ,

Welcome home, Buffington’s.

FINALLY! After over two years, we own a home in Kentucky. Our days of renting are over, but thankfully our new home is less than a mile away, which means all of our wonderful Walnut Ridge friends are still close by.

This morning was the first day that Rydan walked to school, so I’m anxious to find out when he comes home if there are other walkers that he knows in the neighborhood. He already discovered that one of his karate friends lives directly across from us.

I know that all of you are anxious to see photos of our new house, but I have to be honest and say that we aren’t ready to share too much just yet. We are still in the getting organized/what do we need to buy/paint stage, which will probably be the case for quite awhile.

However, I decided to share a few sneak peek images of some of my favorite things about the house.

Our backyard (couldn't get it all in one photo).  Lots of space for the kids to run around, and there's also a large concrete slab for patio furniture and our grill.  That red building between the two homes is Rydan's school.

Our backyard (couldn’t get it all in one photo). Lots of space for the kids to run around, and there’s also a large concrete slab for patio furniture and our grill. That red building between the two homes is Rydan’s school.

See that black fence?  That lines the sidewalk of my running route.  We are right next to it!

See that black fence? That lines the sidewalk of my running route. We are right next to it!

This staircase.  When I first saw it, I immediately pictured the kids running down the stairs on Christmas morning.

This staircase. When I first saw it, I immediately pictured the kids running down the stairs on Christmas morning.

A room... just for laundry.

A room… just for laundry.

Rydan is finally able to display his Taekwondo belts and medals.

Rydan is finally able to display his Taekwondo belts and medals.

Lily's pretty pink and white painted room, thanks to "Papoose."

Lily’s pretty pink and white painted room, thanks to “Papoose.”

Our master bathroom, featuring this whirlpool tub.

Our master bathroom, featuring this whirlpool tub.

Lots of natural light.

Lots of natural light.

This cozy spot within our master bedroom.  I hope to turn this into a comfy reading nook.  Stay tuned for before and after pictures.

This cozy spot within our master bedroom. I hope to turn this into a comfy reading nook. Stay tuned for before and after pictures.

Our newest southern wall-hanging, a cast iron horse between the living room and kitchen.

Our newest southern wall-hanging, a cast iron horse between the living room and kitchen.

A few other favorites include the fact that we have a playroom (huge work in progress), all of the cabinets and counter space in our kitchen, our master bedroom closet, which has two separate entry doors, and last, that we have a guest room with a full bath next to it for anyone who would like to come visit.

More pictures coming soon!  Also, if you would like our new address please let me know.



Lily’s Mid-Season Dance Show

Lily has completed five months of her hip hop and gymnastics classes at The Little Gym.  Last week, they hosted a mid-season show, where students were able to show off the moves they’ve learned so far.  What an entertaining evening!

Lily has come a long way in this class.  She has always loved music and dancing, but started out the class a little bit shy.  Like most things, Lily needs time to observe before she feels comfortable enough to participate.  It only took her a couple of weeks before she was feeling the music and enjoying herself.

Two things have really helped Lily get the most out of these classes.  The first is her sweet friend/neighbor, Madelyn, who at times would take Lily by the hand to help her feel more at ease.  Watching them get a case of the giggles and tickle each other each week just goes to show that friendship can be established at an early age, but also that even at 3 and 4 years old, these two friends have an understanding between each other.  Madelyn understands that Lily is shy, and Lily understands that Madelyn makes her feel brave.

The second is her wonderful teachers.  Lily’s beloved Miss Alex is always the first person she looks for when she arrives.  With her big, bright smile and charming southern accent, I wasn’t surprised that Lily came to adore Miss Alex so much.  She has a way of really getting the kids to use their imagination through their movement, and it’s really amazing to watch.

Miss Samantha has been just as influential on Lily’s progress.  She, too, always wears a smile on her face and her personality is one that motivates and encourages her students to simply have fun and try new things. I truly commend these two young ladies for their energy, their patience, the fact that they love what they do and it shows, and the positive influence that they have on their students.  Lily is not the most trusting child, but she has come to really look forward to dance class each week.  We now have nightly performances at home, where she turns the music on and either puts on a dance show or pretends that she is the teacher.

Here are some photos of the mid-season show, as well as an awesome video that was put together by The Little Gym.

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Performing the YMCA.

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Gal Pals.



Inspired

SONY DSCThat’s how I felt after crossing the finish line at the Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure, where over 5,000 runners and walkers gathered in downtown Lexington to show their support for finding a cure for breast cancer.  This was by far the largest 5K race that I ever took part in, and it was definitely my favorite one.

What a sight to see so many people sign up for this event.  I’ve never run with 5,000 people before, but standing at the starting line, I was never prouder to call myself a runner, than in that very moment.  There were pink shirts, pink cowgirl hats, pink pigtails, pink tutu’s, pink socks, and lots and lots of smiling, happy faces.  Positive energy was radiating throughout downtown Lexington as runners and walkers gathered near the starting line.  It just felt so good to be surrounded by such inspirational women whose lives have been affected by breast cancer, as well as by fellow runners who train specifically for these types of events, so that they can be present and run for a good cause.

The course itself was very simple – straight down Main Street, turn around and straight back to where you started.  The highlight of the race for me was the second half.  As I was on my way back towards the finish line, thousands of runners and walkers were on the opposite side.  The street was literally flooded with people in a way that I’ve never seen before… and it was truly an amazing sight.  As I reached my second mile, I locked eyes with a woman who was walking on the opposite side of the road.  Her pink shirt said “Survivor,” and she wore a scarf on her head.  She smiled at me, stretched her arms out and clapped for me. As tears welled up in my eyes all I could think was “for me?”  This beautiful woman, this fighter, this survivor, was cheering for me?  Me, a HEALTHY woman who has never so much as broken a bone, was being cheered on by a breast cancer survivor whose body, mind and spirit have most likely been through the biggest challenge of her life. THAT is inspiration, my friends.

That moment reminded me that we are all fighting something – health problems, freedom, a job promotion, love, something very important to us.  It’s so easy to get caught up in our own personal battle, and our concern and sympathy for others can therefore suffer without us even realizing it.  We are all guilty.  When was the last time you clapped for a complete stranger?  I don’t mean literally; I just mean taking the time to simply step away from your own world and notice others around who might need an extra hand, or even just a simple smile.  That survivor who clapped for me probably had a lot to celebrate herself, but in the midst of her own celebration she took a few seconds to cheer ME on.  I will never forget her, nor will I forget the way that she inspired me.  I share this story today with all of you in hopes that her inspiration can spread even further.

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Pre-Race. Two of my biggest inspirations.

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Time: 21:32.

Who can YOU inspire today?

PS –  I want to say a huge thank you to each of you who made a donation towards my fundraising efforts.  Thanks to your generosity, I was able to raise $424 for Susan G. Komen Lexington.  That’s over four times of my original goal!  




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