The other day I ran in the Akron Marathon. I ran the half (13.1 miles); my son ran the full (26.2 miles). It was tougher than usual because of the heat. Twenty thousand people ran in one of the most well-run events I have ever been a part of. So many hundreds and hundreds of people from all over northeast Ohio participated in this great community event. This year I saw something that touched my heart to the core.
The leadership of the Marathon partnered with Akron Children’s Hospital to set up 14 “Hero Stations” to introduce us all to hero-patients from the hospital. These are 14 kids who are struggling mightily through dibiliatating diseases. Some of the diseases are incurable. The heroes ranged in age from 6 to 16. As we were running, the kids were stationed in tents usually a few miles apart, with their parents and other adults nearby. Those kids were carrying these blue foam signs that said on them “Press for Power”. As runners would run past they would give a fist bump or a high five to the sign held by the child, and of course the sign would instantly give the runner that extra bit of power to keep running!
The truth is, those kids were ministering to us. Yes, I’m sure they loved watching the race and seeing all the people from every age, size, shape, ability or disability run those miles. But they were ministering to us for sure. I saw kids who knew only painful disease. Yet they smiled. They smiled and held up signs and cheered for us!
If they can have they kind of unconquerable attitude, why can’t we?