I'm sure that's the main question we're going to receive in regards to this event and mission. Why decide to run and bike such a ridiculous distance? Across 3,000 plus miles to get people to do something you could do some other much easier way. It probably would be easier to find the why by explaining my (Chris') journey to this point in time.
I can still remember the exact moment in time when I had the dream to run across the country and to do it in honor of my brother Brian Praetzel for Organ Donor Awareness. I do not remember these as two separate thoughts, but as one complete thought, it was never one before the other or a crazy adventure that I decided I wanted to shape it to help others. I remember laying on my floor visualizing what that would mean, and how it would make me feel. It is a thought that has stuck almost daily to me for over two years now. I later could not keep it to myself and convinced Jaime Cifuentes to join me along this course. Graduating in four months from college may give me one of the only opportunities in my life, and the summertime for Jaime to truly take a chance for this. I do plan on going on to graduate school, and having a great internship working with one of the best sport psychologists in the field, though I know there will be difficulties along the way. However, it feels like too easy a path for me. It feels like if I keep doing what I am doing I'll get there. There doesn't feel like any profound sense of growth or challenge in myself to follow this path. I need a much deeper challenge or else lack one of the most important things in life, a sense of meaning and purpose.
My brother Brian is one of the closest people in the world to me, he is much more than just a brother but also one of my closest friends. Additionally, over the years Jaime has cemented himself as part of our family through his friendship and brotherhood. When, Brian was born he was not given really much hope of living at all. To have him in my life and the life of my family has been one of the greatest miracles. It is my greatest mission for this run to be registered organ donors, so others may get this opportunity. There are over 100,000 people waiting on organ transplants and over 19 die per day. If more people registered, this could be reduced in the future.
In my life I have been lucky so far to have followed my dreams and used my own wit and a bit of luck to come out ok. I have found that whenever I take serious steps towards these that I am either able to succeed or experience such a profound sense of positive growth that I feel I can do anything. It is my most sincere hope that you can also experience this, because, although we often forget this, we do live in a world where anything is possible to those who believe in themselves and do not allow any setbacks to stop them from getting there. We of course will experience plenty of failures along the way but if we adopt a positive mindset, we can turn our lives into what we want them to be.
Maybe that answers why or maybe it does not, but the constant pull I have felt towards this run has made me know it is something I must try to do, for my own sanity and for the help of others.