Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The 6th Annual Middlemiss Big Heart 5K - Part II- All You Need Is Love

Joseph Scott Middlemiss' 6th angelversary was on 9/23 and all week long, culminating with the 6th Annual Middlemiss Big Heart 5K on Saturday, people shared signs of Joseph's bright and beautiful Spirit and love that lives on after the physical body leaves this earth. {A green orb in photos symbolizes the Spirit of someone who once lived on earth.}

My friend Bea D'Angelo sent me this photo from the Celebrity Mile:

Tom took this picture at the Kids Run:

The perfect weather was a sign of love from Joseph to all who gathered for the event that honors his legacy of kindness and love.

There were many many people at the event who did not know about Joseph and the Middlemiss Foundation before Kevin LaCoste's accident in July nor did people from Kevin and Ali's life and the Middlemiss Foundation know each other. But through Joseph and Kevin's accident people are now connected who otherwise might not have met each other. Ali once said that she's not so sure everything happens for a reason but after something happens, it is important to find reason and a purpose.

Steve Brochu traveled all the way from San Diego and he ran the race with Melissa DelRossi. They are close college friends with Kevin and Ali. Steve designed and coordinated the sale of these tattoos and stickers. Initially he sent out the Kevin/LaCoste Strong tattoos for free for anyone who wanted to show their support and love for Kevin and Ali:

It seemed that Joseph made sure people who were supposed to meet on Saturday had encounters in real time in real life after discovering each other on Facebook.

I was incredibly blessed to meet Julie McClellan Berard on line. It was one of those instant soul connections. We were each determined to meet in person on race day. With a little help from FB Messenger and a whole lot of help from Joseph we met during the Kids Run. I am now also friends with her boyfriend Scott. Here they are together before they were the best cheerleaders out on the course encouraging the runners and walkers on their way:

Kevin was Julie's Principal at the school she continues to teach at and, as Kevin does with so many people, left her with an indelible heart print.

There was pure joy and love as the youngest age group ran with big hearts during the Kids Run:

Unconditional love for children and adults of all abilities was the theme of the day allowing everyone to come together as a community to honor and celebrate two incredible families.

Out of thousands of people, Tina Lavoie Dufresne and I found each other at the starting line. She ran the 2019 Boston Marathon for The Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation with Kevin. We became fast friends in Falmouth as we were part of support crew for Team Big Heart. She is currently recovering from an injury and walked the 5K with her dog Pogo and son Chase.

A hush fell over the crowd before the start of the race.

We heard Kevin's voice over the PA system...ever the Principal ... always full of love and kindness. {Transcribed from Kendra Petrone's video which she posted on Facebook.}

"I'm a little sad I can't join you but next year I will definitely be there to celebrate Joseph and all the beautiful things he has done to inspire us even in his short life. Today... today while you're out there think about something you're grateful for and find a way to do some small kind act this week. Not only do the kind act but really think about how it made someone feel and think about how it made you feel as well. I hope everyone has a great day today and most importantly if you see Jack Middlemiss tell him I'm looking to kick his butt when I get home."

That last comment about Jack was in reference to a Q and A Ali had back on September 20th in which we were able to ask Kevin both light hearted and serious questions. Ali limited the questions to 10 but just had to include a Bonus Question from Jack:
11. Bonus Question!!!!! What are you going to do when I come to Spaulding and kick your butt? (Jack Middlemiss)

Kevin: I’m going to ride circles around you in my wheelchair until you get dizzy, then I’ll push you down, and kick your butt!!!! Do you want to piece of me? Or the whole thing?

Tina and I were sobbing and held each other in a close embrace before Jack sent first the Team Hoyt duos and then the rest of the field on our way.

Kevin's favorite song, "Don't Give Up on Me" by Andy Grammer filled the airwaves. Here are two versions offered by Jack and Grace Middlemiss, and Natalie, Kevin's godson Aidan and Conor:

Usually when I'm at a race where you can run or walk, I will go somewhere between a runner's and a walker's pace. This was the first event I experienced where you either ran or you walked and I was thrilled to go at an easy pace chatting with Tina and those around us. It was fun to high five the lead runners as they made their way to the finish line.

Volunteer musicians lined the course. Caleb Cascio has been performing at the event for the past 3-4 years joining together Joseph's love of music and superheroes.

It was quite impressive to see the sidewalks lined with people in LaCoste Strong t shirts, Haverhill Hillies tees (teachers and staff from Ali's school), Team Zoe t shirts, superhero costumes and All You Need is Love shirts from The Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation.

It was a love fest out on the course as people greeted one another asking how they came to join in the event. Ali decided that rather than participate in the run, she would stand on the side greeting friends from all walks of her and Kevin's life together.

As we were coming into the finish, we heard the announcer giving out the Age Group Awards. Our friend Bea won her age group at the age of 71 years old! They received Dream Big medals and copies of Dave McGillivray and Nancy Wendland Feehrer's books:

Linda took this photo of us as we finished up our 5K. It symbolized a finish line for the journey of the past 3 years with Ruth Anne's multiple hospitalizations, unclear diagnosis and med trials and errors and the beginning of a new starting line for Ruth Anne's journey back to health and wellness:

The finish line would stay open until the last person finished their race!

Team Zoe was the defending champion for the biggest superhero team for the past two years. We gladly relinquished our title to Team LaCoste Strong that had over 200 members. Ali and her children Natalie and Colin accepted the Blue Ukelele on behalf of their team. The music from the blue ukelele brought many wonderful smiles to so many people when Joseph played it:

Ali and Kevin and their two beautiful children are the race beneficiaries for this year's epic event!

After saying so long to friends, we went to ML Shaw's Country Kitchen and Store to refuel.

We knew about Shaw's from when we attended Celebrity ScoopFest, which is the other major fundraising event for The Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation that happens around the time of Joseph's birthday.

Joseph's picture is in the entrance to the restaurant and there is a donation jar by the cash register. We felt right at home when we walked in. The waitress was warm and friendly. We still had our bibs on and we talked about the 5K. Her daughter was a volunteer. We were able to remember where she and 3 of her friends were on the course. When we thanked them for being out there, she said, "This is my favorite job!"

The eggs and omelettes we ordered were all cooked to perfection and hot off the griddle. Tom and Ruth Anne decided to share a banana nut muffin.

My breath caught when I saw this:

The hearts were reminiscent of the logo of the Middlemiss Foundation:

Thank you Joseph for a beautiful message to end a best day ever reminding us all that all you need is love!

To learn more about the Foundation you can follow this link.

To support Kevin, Ali and their two beautiful children, you can donate to their GoFundMe Page by following this link.

To your health and wellness
From my heart to yours

Be sure to visit my website at www.marymcmanus.com

Hear my interview with Kendra Petrone on Magic 106.7's Exceptional Women Show by following this link

My books are available on Amazon and "Feel the Heal" and "The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953" are available in Natick Center Cultural District at Paula Romero Dunbar's Celebration Boutique Paper Fiesta coincidentally located on Mile 10 of the Boston Marathon Route.

No comments:

Post a Comment