Meet My Buddy! #IRun4 Delaney

People come in and out of our lives for reasons we can not fathom. I believe this. Having spent the first 14 years of my adulthood in 5 different cities along the east coast, and meeting hundreds of people, those who are meant to remain in your life do just that. The others? They just drift away.

May was not an easy month for me. I found myself looking for glimmers of hope just about anywhere and everywhere. I could barely manage just a smile, but when I did, I took it as a Godsend.

My birthday was at the end of the month. I love birthday’s. I especially like mine. Why? I’m not sure. I think because it typically falls on Memorial Day weekend. That is usually the weekend that ushers forth the summer. This means more outdoor time, more family time, more fun time, and more running. But since my running hasn’t been the best, and my birthday this year fell on the weekend after the holiday, it wasn’t quite the same.

But then something amazing happened! I was paired with my #IRun4 buddy. It literally took months, because when I ultimately decided to push the button and sign up for a buddy, I ended up on the list in the 6,000’s! I’m not even sure why I waited so long. I don’t know what the big deal was. When I first researched the group, the numbers were only in the 500’s. I would have had a buddy instantly had I signed up at that time. But for some reason, I hesitated. Maybe I was injured at the time? Maybe I was afraid of the commitment? Maybe I just didn’t want to run for anyone but myself. Looking back now, I can’t remember.

So, after a few months of deliberation, I signed up…finally. And therefore, I waited and I waited…I checked the list to see my progress and it progressed at a snail’s pace. In fact, sometimes I completely forgot that I had signed up in the first place, until…

I got the e-mail! Actually, I had to change my name on Facebook for a particular reason, and they wanted to be sure I was who I said I was and if I was still interested.

“YES!!!!” I replied with certainty!

Then it happened. This sweet, little, blond beauty was ushered into my existence.

I quickly messaged her mom to tell her a little about me, but I was beside myself to learn more about her and her story.

Who I Run For: Delaney Skye

Who I Run For: Delaney Skye

Little Miss Delaney Skye was born on July 2, 2013, but not without difficulty. In fact, before she even emerged into our world, life for this little miss had looked rather bleak.

Delaney was meant to go to different parents. She was graciously given inital life by a loving surrogate mom who wanted to give the gift of a child to those who couldn’t conceive. The recipient parents were elated, until they learned the child in utero would be born with Down’s Syndrome, and some of the unfortunate maladies that might go along with it. In Delaney’s case, it was a malformation with her heart.

The recipient parents backed out, and urged Delaney’s mom to terminate the pregnancy. But, once a woman has conceived and nurtured a child in her womb, her heart makes it’s own decisions.

Delaney’s mom and partner wouldn’t terminate the life of that little fighter who had already overcome amazing odds. They decided to keep her.

They wanted to give Delaney every opportunity to thrive while still in utero. Her mom began a regimen of supplements, while still pregnant, to help with Delaney’s brain development. When she was born, despite what her doctors assumed, Delaney spent no time in the NICU. She did have open heart surgery at 3 months old to repair a small ASD, a partial AV canal defect, a very large VSD, an open PDA, and a cleft mitral valve. She made it through with flying colors and has had no restrictions whatsoever.

Delaney’s parents continued to give Delaney beneficial supplements and enrolled her in early intervention therapies. Because of this, she has reached developmental milestones right on target with toddlers without her disability. In fact, she was walking at 14 months (unheard of in the Down syndrome community).

Delaney and her birth mom.

Delaney and her birth mom.

Delaney’s mom says she is such an inspiration to everyone she meets and it is impossible not to fall in love with her.

“She is like the Walmart greeter everywhere we go, waving, saying hi & blowing kisses to everyone!” says her mom.

Delaney even has her own Facebook page with almost 5000 friends and fans who receive regular updates on her comings and goings, and get to see this beautiful child mature into this world! You are welcome to follow her as well! In fact, I encourage it!

Who doesn't love ice cream?

Who doesn’t love ice cream?

Her two moms are very active in the community. Their goal? To change the world’s perceptions about children like Delaney. They want to open awareness to all of us how a little extra work, and a whole lot of love, that kids with Down’s Syndrome can live very fulfilling lives. Delaney is a prime example.

Not only can they live very fulfilling lives, but they can fill the lives of those they surround with faith, hope, and unconditional love. What can be better that that?

She has been in my life less than a month. But already she has bought me years. If I’m faced with an everyday challenge, I think of her, and I’m reminded that my difficulties pale in comparison to this child’s everyday battles. If she can prevail and muster a smile at the end of her day, so can I.

Delaney and her package!

Delaney and her package!

I ran my first race for her at the end of May. It was the Minneapolis Half Marathon, and I sent to her a medal just like the one that I received for running the race. Watching her open the package through photos that her mom sent to me were priceless. They warmed my heart. They made me cry tears of joy! And the fact that the race I ran for her took place on the very last day of a bad month for me was karma. It was the shutting…no…slamming of a heavy, black, door that closed out what I hope will be a room I don’t ever have to return to. And I have little, miss, Delaney Skye to thank for it.

And why the name Delaney Skye? The name was chosen because it means descendant of the warrior. It was paired with the middle name Skye because this little girl is truely a warrior from heaven.

The Who I Run For organization is an amazing one. If you are looking to give your runs true meaning, and give (and recieve) hope from a group of amazing runners and gifted families, I urge you to sign up for a buddy. It is life changing…for the better. You won’t regret it.


A little about Who I Run For:

I Run 4 Michael is a non-profit organization founded in January 2013 by Tim Boyle, who was inspired to run for more than health and weight-loss by a viral meme saying, “I run because I can. When I get tired, I remember those who can’t run, what they would give to have this simple gift I take for granted, and I run harder for them.” When Tim shared the meme, Michael, a 50-something man with Down Syndrome, replied, “You can run for me any time!”

Launched as a private group of 10 runners and buddies with special needs (20 total) who shared workouts and health updates in a private setting, IR4 rapidly grew to over 22,000 members and nearly 7,000 matches, with 3,500 athletes waiting, within 18 months.

As of September 2014, the four branches of IR4 serve over 30,000 members and 11,000 matches collectively, across all 50 states and in 28 countries.

Do you have an #IRun4 Buddy? Tell us about them? Or maybe there is someone else you run for? We’d love to hear about them!

One Response to Meet My Buddy! #IRun4 Delaney

  1. Ruth Thomas says:

    Oh my goodness. This story brought me to tears. What a sweetheart. Thank you for sharing your heart. Love, love, love this! ❤️

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