Monday, June 20, 2011

Happy Birthday My Sweet Boy

It is hard to believe Jake would be 10 years old today.  To be completely honest, it takes my breath away.  Over the past 5 years I have been living my life with a guarded heart.  I have discovered the things that I can handle and have learned to avoid the things that I can't.  Finding this balance has been difficult, and as a result I have become an expert at keeping a wall up and finding ways to smile in the saddest of times.  One of my biggest fears when Jake passed away (and continues to be a fear to this day) is that I would forget.  Forget what it was like to have him in my arms, forget what is was like to care for him and most of all I never wanted to forget the changes he made in my life.  I find myself using the word "perspective" frequently.  Jake gave that to me and I can't think of anything I am more thankful for.   So, on this day I plan to remember my boy and all the love he gave to me in his short 4 1/2 years.  I plan to celebrate him and continue to thank God for giving me such a wonderful gift 10 years ago today.  I am forever grateful.

Happy Birthday Jakey Bear!  You still have a hold on my heart and not a single day goes by that I don't think of you!  Mommy loves you!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Blog for Team Jake!!!

Hello Fellow Team Jakers!

I have been wanting to start a blog for Team Jake for quite sometime now.  My goal was to introduce the blog on Jake's 10th birthday.  So in my usual fashion, this is coming out just under the wire!  I plan to tweak it as I go, I am new to this world of blogging!  My hope is to use this as a vehicle to get information regarding the OC Marathon and Team Jake throughout the course of the year.  This past May our little team exploded!  It was an amazing way to remember Jake on the five year anniversary.  However, it became quite  challenging to keep everybody in the loop... sign ups, donation, tshirts etc...  I plan to update this blog periodically throughout the year but more importantly we will use it to spread the word around race time.  I promise I won't be flooding your inbox with emails!  I couldn't decide how far back to go so I started with the letter from Steve last spring where he gives an overview of Team Jake and what it is all about.  Since the writing of that letter some pretty amazing things have happened.  Not only did we have close to 300 people with us the day of the race, we met many new friends who joined our team.   I will be posting soon about some of those events!  I plan to pass the computer to my amazing husband who I know will write some great stuff.  I have already penned the title of his first official blog post, "Where in the World is Peter Omae?"  He is unaware of this assignment but if I know him at all, he will embrace it!  I will also be posting lots of pictures from previous races and plenty of links to charities we are involved with.  I figure even if not many people read my blog, it will give me documentation for my kids someday!  As always, thank you for being apart of this special little thing we call "Team Jake!"

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Team Jakers:
119 days until the 2011 version of Team Jake toes the line for the OC Marathon. Before you hit delete thinking you have been spammed or addressed erroneously on this message let me clear up a few key points. First, the OC Marathon event includes the full marathon, half marathon and 5K events and Team Jake welcomes participation in any/all of those events. Second, if you are receiving this message, there is no error. You have either participated in past years, known someone who has, been talked about as someone who might cave to the pressure of an invitation, or just happen to be someone that I have envisioned joining us on May 1, 2011 in some way, shape or form for the 5th Anniversary of Team Jake at the OC Marathon.
Team Jake is a group of runners, walkers, fans, and volunteers who help us embrace the OC Marathon event and all that it means to our family. January 8th, 2006 I ran (very liberal use of that term) my first marathon. I ran to honor my son Jake, to raise money in support of United Cerebral Palsy of Orange County, and to "cross something off the list". The entire Robert/Holman family waited patiently for my finish (just under six hours....poor preparation...ugly execution!!.) and we spent the afternoon together celebrating a rather unimpressive finish; but the OC Marathon had given us reason to spend the day together. We did not realize what an amazing gift that was until the next morning when we discovered that our precious son, Jake Ryan Lee Robert, our four and a half year old boy with Cerebral Palsy had passed away in his sleep. Team Jake was born.
Since then, each year our amazing network of family, friends, and numerous friends and family of friends have joined us. Each year brings new runners, new cheerers, new memories and an enduring sense that the wonderful spirit of Jake lives on. We always have amazing support at the finish line (including an extremely pro- Team Jake announcer) and we were fortunate to spend some post race time together at The Yard House last fantastic to see everyone after the race to share war stories and introduce people to the amazingly diverse group that makes up our team. We will definitely plan a similar post-race event this year.
Why do we "Team Jake"?
1) Team Jake intends to support and encourage all of the special needs kids of Orange County and beyond who are striving to take their first step, eat on their own, hold their heads up or those simply fighting for the next milestone in their development; big or small. We appreciate the amazing spirit of these kids, their families, and friends and Team Jake celebrates their journey. While these kids fight to take step one, we run and walk knowing what a privilege each step we take is.....all the way through the finish line.
2) Team Jake desires to honor the memory of our sweet boy, Jake Ryan Lee Robert. Jakey never took a step on his own, never said a word , and never reached some of the most basic developmental milestones we often times take for granted with our children. Jakey opened our hearts and guided us to a perspective of simplicity we fight hard to maintain. He was unimpressed by money and power. He traded only in Love and accepted us without condition. Team Jake strives to bring this spirit to the OC Marathon event each year to keep Jake's powerful perspective alive and spreading.
3) I (Steven)"Team Jake" because I have yet to find a way to feel closer to my son....In 2006 after struggling through 26.1 miles, Alison handed me Jakey and he joined me as I finished my first marathon. He was bouncing up and down as I waddled over the line....and the movement made him laugh just a bit. I run my 26.1 miles now because no matter how many times they change the course or the date of the event, when I get near that finish line I can feel Jakey's weight in my arms, I can recall how soft his air was that day, I can hear his laugh in my ear and I can see his face contorting into his little smile that changed the Robert family forever. For that, I will run anywhere, anytime.
Highlights for Team Jake in 2010:
- Over 125 runners participated for Team Jake including 2 first time marathoners and numerous first time half marathoners.
- Team Jake runners traveled from Texas, Nevada, Arizona, Tennessee, & all over California to participate.
- Our youngest runner was Jake's brother Brady (4 years old, 5K) and our senior member was Jake's Poppa Jud (let's just say barely south of 70...half marathon!!)
- Jakey's older brothers Tyler(12) and Zach(10) completed the half marathon for the fourth consecutive year and are looking forward to number 5 in 2011 !!!
We are amazed at how Jake continues to connect us with great people who come out and support our efforts each year. We look forward to another amazing day celebrating our sweet boy. If you would like to join us on May 1st as a runner or volunteer or if you would like to donate to UCP in honor of Team Jake, please use the link below.(You may need to copy and paste to your browser.....sorry.)
(When you are registering to run, please insure that you scroll down in the box for "Running Clubs" and select Team allows us to track our team members and will help us get a Team Jake shirt to all of our runners prior to your run.)
We have high hopes for Team Jake in 2011. We dream of having 200 + runners. We are determined to raise $25,000 for United Cerebral Palsy of Orange County to help them continue to deliver amazing therapies and support to special needs kids in Orange County. And, we hope to share our Jakey, and the amazing impact he continues to have in this world, with anyone willing to listen.
With tremendous love, humility, & gratitude,
Steven, Alison, Tyler, Zach, Brady, Cody & Our sweet angel Jake
Steve- Cell 512-418-6182 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 512-418-6182 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
P.S. Logistical questions you may have at this point:
- Most participants in the marathon or half marathon stay at the Newport Beach Marriott. This hotel is within easy walking distance of the start line and has served Team Jake well in past years. It is one of a few "official" hotels of the OC Marathon and a special rate has been arranged for OC Marathon participants. The Hyatt Newporter is also a good choice.
- Team Jake will have a great technical running shirt for you to wear and will be working hard to insure we meet up pre-race to get you your shirt. Asics, through UCP of Orange County, has graciously donated these shirts each year and we always looks forward to finding out which color Team Jake will wear and to getting Jakey's big smile on the front of our team shirts.
- Yes.....please forward this e-mail to anyone who might be interested in joining or supporting Team Jake....anybody and everybody is welcome on Team Jake!!!
- Go TCU!!!!!