This weekend brought the Ostomy Foundation a mixed bag of emotions. Our major - and only - fundraiser, the New Milford River Run 5K & Kids' Superhero Sprint, was cancelled by town officials due to weather conditions and projected flooding on the roads that were to be used for the race route. We were disappointed on many levels. Not only do we work hard behind the scenes to make this event happen, but we felt we let the participants down.
Unfortunately, rescheduling the event for later this year was not possible (it's not that we didn't want to do that). So we will honor this year's registration for those who would like to participate in the 2024 event. And we decided to give the first 100 registrants who were eligible for a swag bag, which includes this year's shirt, and the kids' run participants an opportunity to pick up their bags at our office the late afternoon of the day that would have been the race.
We issued a notice of the optional pick up time frame, and we had no idea how many people would stop by. To our surprise, nearly 50 swag bags and kids' goody bags were picked up! Although those who made it by our office were "disappointed" or "bummed" they couldn't run the course, they understood the reasoning, appreciated picking up their bag, and said they were looking forward to running the event next year. The sadness we felt in our hearts was lifted by the compassion and friendliness of those who came to visit.
One gentleman who stopped by was the leader of Team Aguias do Asfalto (Asfalt Eagles), which was made up of 24 people. Although team members were let down with the cancellation, the team leader spent time with us talking about next year's event and how he, as a personal trainer, planned to do more with the River Run 5K next year. Wow.
We even had some kids show up to claim their goody bags - and they arrived in the superhero costumes they would have worn for the kids' sprint! We smiled when we saw them walk through the door.
Unfortunately, not everyone could make it. But one family reached out to see how it could connect with us because they were looking forward to the event, as it is new to the ostomy community. We were touched and want to be sure they know how important they are, especially since the foundation's mission is to provide education and supportive services to the ostomy community, to us. We plan to meet with them in the coming days to express our gratitude to them.
So, overall, as the day of the race came to a close, we handed out swag and goody bags to many of the participants, and our disappointment was transformed into happiness as we had one-on-one more personable visits with the participants that we wouldn't have necessarily been able to have at the event itself.
We are grateful to all those who support the foundation each year by signing up for the New Milford River Run 5K & Kids' Superhero Sprint, held at New Milford Riverfest.