Running with Friends for a Cause

June 20, 2012

On June 4, 2011, my family was celebrating Dad’s 60th birthday at a summer BBQ. My brother-in‐law and I jumped on 2 motocross dirt bikes, as we always like to do, for a spin around the private drive. When heading back toward the party, the new road tires hit some gravel and I lost control of the back end of the bike. By the time I regained control, I was no longer in line with the road, and instead hit an old rusty guardrail head on.  After spending several weeks in the hospital undergoing numerous surgical procedures it was later determined that my leg would need to be amputated above the knee.

As a new reality set in, we quickly had to learn what life would now be like as an amputee. My family had recruiting backgrounds, a drive to understand it all, and just wouldn’t quit so we quickly gained momentum toward a goal to get me back to my life.  This is when we found and met WiggleYourToes.  A foundation that shares our newly discovered common passion of supporting people who’ve suffered limb loss.  WiggleYourToes supported us in getting back up quickly, and now my wife and I give back to others by being on the board and starting the first WiggleYourToes chapter on the East Coast.

When I returned to work 6 months after the accident, I saw my career in a different light and had an opportunity to make yet another major change.  The doors of LinkedIn opened at the perfect time.  I was craving new energy, and landed in the thriving, dynamic and unique culture of LinkedIn which immediately commanded my entrepreneurial spirit.

In fact, after just a few weeks on the job, my Director challenged me to run in the JP Morgan Chase 5K Corporate Challenge in New York’s Central Park and of course I readily accepted. After committing to the challenge, time flew by while I learned a new industry, a new company and culture and pushing to gain momentum toward my goals.  When the 5K challenge got closer, I knew I had not trained nearly as much as I should have and was nervous, anxious and scared because I didn’t know what to expect during/after the race mentally or physically.  A couple weeks leading up to the event, the LinkedIn NYC team designed a t-shirt to compete in the JP Morgan Chase T-Shirt contest to win a $1,000 donation for WiggleYourToes Foundation.  The team was tenacious about winning, and that’s exactly what we did. I was honored to see them fight so hard to take home a victory that earned us much needed funds to help others.

When the race day arrived last week, I was totally stressed out but held most of it in my own head.  I had tremendous support from my fellow colleagues and friends who wanted to stick with me at whatever pace I could do and be with me to cross the finish line.  An anxious moment indeed as 15,000 people crept toward the starting point. But once the race was underway, I felt confident and comfortable as my team was by my side.  When I needed to walk, they walked; when I needed water, they jetted to the tables to get me a cup; when I fell, they quickly picked me up and kept urging me forward.  Now, I know this wasn’t a marathon run, but I can assure you that it was a proud moment to cross that finish line with the LinkedIn team, leading me right into the arms of my family just a year after this tragic accident. I cannot thank my family, friends, and colleagues enough for their support and encouragement.