Sometime in June of this year, I was on my first run in months, and I thought to myself: ‘how can I use my music to help others?’ Coming up on September 4th, kicking off Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, I had planned to release my new song “Run.” The song is dedicated to my father, who passed away from prostate cancer when I was a freshman in high school. The first thought that came to my head: ‘you could run 100 miles in the 4 weeks prior to releasing your song…and have people donate to a charity as you do it’
And here we are! 100 miles later, we pledged over $2,100 dollars towards ZERO. Here’s the story.
Day 0: Thursday, August 6
Mile 0/100, $0 pledged
I was playing fetch with my dog Myrtle, and I sprained my foot. Of course – before I even run my first mile, I sprained my foot. Off to a terrible start.
Day 1: Friday, August 7
Mile 0/100, $0 pledged
I wasn’t gonna let the foot sprain stop me. The song had already been uploaded. The release date, already bound to September 4th, wasn’t going to change. It was happening no matter what.
The first day — and the next few days following that — were absolutely brutal. On day one, I got a nasty migraine to accompany my foot sprain. Day two, could barely walk. Third day, I was running in a way that most would describe as “skipping” or “waddling.” Less of a jog and more of a glorified limp.
Both my sister and my mom, being in the medical industry, gave their advice: “Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate” My response: “I can Ice, Compress, and Elevate, but I’m not resting. I’m running.”
Day 4: Monday, August 10
Mile 15/100, $1,000 pledged
Miraculously, my foot pain began to slowly disappear. The migraine was out of the way and out of mind. We were smooth sailing! I had also begun to rake in donations by posting video updates to Facebook and using the fundraising app Charity Miles. In one weekend, we pledged over $1,000 towards ZERO.
Day 8: Friday, August 14
Mile 30/100, $1,200 pledged
After a week had passed, I saw what we were doing and the impact it was already beginning to have. Abby from ZERO reached out to me and expressed so much gratitude. She informed me that someone had made a donation of $500 towards ZERO. WHAT? After she told me that, I did my best and informed myself on what ZERO was about. Naturally, I came to the conclusion that ZERO is an incredible organization, with incredible people, fighting with the mission in mind to create the first generation of men free of prostate cancer.
Day 15: Tuesday, August 21st
Mile 51/100: $1,400 Pledged
And this is when it started to get difficult. In one week, I lost 7 miles of running because of weak GPS signal. I tried to get the miles added to my account, but I was adamant on the fact that I had to earn every mile in order to count towards my total. So, I ended up running an extra 7 miles.
Day 25: Tuesday, August 31st
Mile 93/100: $2,100 Pledged
On this day, I cried because of what we had accomplished.
Day 28: Thursday, September 3rd
Mile 100/100, $2,200 pledged
“Run” is a song heavily inspired by my dad and his story, as well as my story as a kid. My dad was my best friend. When I was in 5th grade, my parents got divorced and my dad moved away. He moved from Chicago to Richmond, VA. In that time, if we were lucky, my siblings and I got to see my dad twice a year. But every day after school, we talked on the phone; we talked about school. We talked about basketball. Four years later, he passed away from prostate cancer.
It’s all led me to who I am today; and who I am today is someone who takes life’s hardships and turns them into an opportunity to grow. “Run” was more than just a song release. And it was more than a charity running campaign. It was a recovery toward my purpose. This worldwide pandemic took everything out of my life. And when I say everything, I mean everything: My career path, my friendships, my relationship. I had no apartment in my name. I had no job. I hadn’t seen a friend in three months. I was lonelier than I’ve ever been. I was lost.
But, rather than running away from it, I ran with it. I saw it as an opportunity to grow. To grow spiritually, to grow in faith, and to grow into the person I was put in this world to be. The person who fights. The person who lives to learn. The person who lives their life purely for others. I forgot about my foot sprain. I forgot about what I didn’t have. I forgot about myself. I just ran.
Forget about yourself. Help others.