September 27, 2009 – 9:06 a.m.
“This twitter feed will keep you updated on my progress in running 2 marathons in 13 days to support my friend Dom Deramo’s cancer battle”.
11 months ago – those were my first words on Twitter.
Who would really be interested I thought? Today we are closing in on 9oo followers. Amazing.
November 9, 2009 – 9:25 a.m.
Joe Runs for Dom’s very first blog post hits the internet.
Would anyone want to read my ramblings about our good friend Dom’s battle against cancer and my crazy idea to run two marathons in 13 days?
27,500 visits later. I guess somebody did. I am astounded daily.
The amount of people who Dom’s cancer battle touched truly is amazing to me. One of the all-time “good guys” that you would ever come across in life, taken so young at age 39, with a loving wife and two small children that loved him dearly.
My earliest hopes for Run for Dom were that we would be able to raise awareness for this terrible disease. Raise funds to help defray the cost of treatments, surgeries and procedures and honor my good friend as he literally began the fight of his life.
Hundreds of donors later the original Run for Dom enjoyed some success surpassing our fundraising goal of $26.2K. Equally important has been the friendships that have been forged and the thousands of individuals who got to know “our Dom” before he passed away on August 15th.
I always said that I would know “what was next” after we came through the finishing chute at Pittsburgh.
Well, that “something next” is to help fund the 529 Education Plans that have been established for Dom and Val’s two children Sierra and Nico.
I know that I have a lot of running miles left in these 43-year-old legs. Many races to run and events to host in Dom’s memory. It is something that simply “needs doing”, and we’re not about to stop now.
Of course heavy lifting is always easiest with an extra set of hands.
Being the son of a carpenter taught me a lot of things throughout the course of my childhood. But that lesson, above all else, has proven to be the most valuable.
Enter my good friend in Ohio Sean Brown.
Sean like me is a regular guy. A wife, two young boys – who are going to be “heartbreakers” in school if they are not already – and a love for running.
Sean and I connected through Run for Dom. Almost immediately he became a great source of inspiration and motivation as my training moved on through the winter months culminating on April 19, 2010.
That morning I made my way to Hopkinton, MA, and as I stood among 25,000 other marathoners an Air Force Flyover “whooshed” above my head. What in the world was a guy like me doing in the starting corral of the Boston Marathon? Sean had written to me the night before and wished me a good race. He would be following along in Ohio, tracking my progress.
13 days later I stood again at the start of a Marathon, this time in Dom’s hometown of Pittsburgh, PA – Sean sent me a great message the night before the race, wished me luck and told me how proud he was of what I was doing.
With Dom’s name written on both arms I took my first steps toward marathon number two. Thoughts of Sean, his wife and boys went through my head as the rain started to fall and lady marathon started to take her first few swings at me.
Have I mentioned that Sean and I have never met? True.
It is also true that I consider Sean a close friend. One who if I had the chance, I would do just about anything for.
As I look back on the last year I have come to realize that is what Run for Dom truly is all about. For those of us who had the good fortune to know Dom and experience first hand just how selfless and generous he was in life – there could be no greater tribute.
Well Sean is now just 43 days away from his first ever marathon.
Chicago, October 10, 2010. When he comes through the finishing chute that day, he will be a marathoner. Accomplishing something that less than 1% of us will dare ever attempt.
Sean himself will have doubts on the eve of his race. He will wonder if he prepared enough. If he trained hard enough. Is his nutrition plan sound. What will the weather be like. He will wonder what miles 21-26.2 will be like as he will have never run that far before in his life.
I however have no doubt that Sean will finish. Just as I had no doubt that I would finish marathon number two in Pittsburgh.
I know this because Sean is Running for Dom.
He asked me just this week if it would be o.k. for him to pick up the mantle and run his marathon in Dom’s memory. To raise money to help fund Sierra and Nico’s education plans.
I could think of no greater reason for anyone to run and I could not be happier for Sean. I told Sean that if not for little Landry’s arrival next week, and the very real chance that my wife Dawn would kick me out of the house, I would be there in Chicago with him.
I will have to settle for lending Sean my secret weapon on race day – and have Dom be there with him instead.
To share with you just how committed to this effort Sean is - below are his three promises that you can find on the website he has dedicated to his very own Run for Dom.
You can help by pledging to sponsor me for each mile I complete at the 2010 Chicago Marathon on October 10th. For instance, if you sponsor $10/mile and I complete the entire marathon (which is a 26.2 mile run), your donation would be $262.00.
Here’s what I promise:
- I will try with everything I have to complete this marathon. Assume your donation will be 26.2 times your pledge per mile.
- Every single dime that I raise through this effort, every single one, will go directly into the D’Eramo children’s 529 College Savings Accounts.
- Whatever total amount is pledged by all of you, I will personally match half of that total.
To support Sean and his Run for Dom – please visit:
Help Sean make a difference in the lives of Sierra and Nico and honor a true warrior who fought with ever bit of the strength he possessed to remain on this earth for his family and loved ones just as long as he could.
And Sean, when those miles start to mount and your legs feel heavy, don’t worry. You will find the strength that you need to keep pushing.
I know that in my heart.
Because that is what a marathoner does, and that is who you are.
Thank you for everything you are doing in honor of my friend. I could not be more proud of you than I am today.