17 Nov 2015

The Amazing Race – Nantucket Style

There are so many memorable scenes in the 1994 blockbuster movie, Forrest Gump, that it’s hard to pick a favorite. But, one of the most famous and oft quoted, is when Forrest offers his new “friend” on the park bench a chocolate and then imparts his mother’s wisdom to her. “My mama always said life is like a box of chocolates,” he shares. “You just never know what you’re gonna get.”
Life on Nantucket can sometimes be like a box of chocolates. The weather is unpredictable, the coastline is ever changing and personal struggles and tragedies happen here just like they do in other corners of the world. Accidents take our loved ones too soon, illnesses catch us by complete surprise. Addictions, depression or other personal difficulties sneak in and rock our lives…even on this island paradise.
Nantucket has taken a page from Forrest Gump’s playbook. When individuals or the community at large suffer a broken heart – the way Forrest did when Jenny broke his – they put on their running shoes and get moving (figuratively speaking – but sometimes literally!) Last weekend, to honor the memory of Robin Harvey who lost her life to a tragic accident while running on Milestone Road last winter…and to raise money for the newly formed Robin Harvey Foundation that benefits learning, athletics and community service…hundreds participated in the Run For Robin 5k. It was a thoughtful and loving way for the community to gather together to honor Robin’s memory and help fund the foundation that will pour resources back into the community she loved and was passionate about.
We don’t always organize literal races when our community faces adversity, but we do always unite in the figurative “race” to help our friends and neighbors get to the finish line…or at least to scale the next hurdle. Together we “run” for Elin who endured a mastectomy, we run for Suzanne who was just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, we run for Karli who is kicking cancer’s bum, we run for Dick who is battling prostrate cancer and we run for Karl who recently suffered a heart attack. Collectively we “run” for other island friends who lost their child, their parent or spouse this year…or who lost their home to fire. We “run” for others whose children are battling addiction or whose mother is suffering from Alzheimer’s. We don’t always know what to say or how to help, but our running shoes are always on and our hearts are always united.
There are countless ways to join the efforts of the Nantucket community in showing support to our friends and neighbors. You can make a donation to an organization or foundation like the Nantucket Community Foundation or the Robin Harvey Foundation. You can volunteer with PASCON (Palliative and Supportive Care of Nantucket) or donate directly to the Marla Ceely Lamb Fund which provides resources to assist with travel expenses for cancer patients who need to travel off island for treatment. Or dust off those running shoes and sign up for one of the upcoming Nantucket races or walks where proceeds benefit an island family or important cause.
Run Nantucket Run!
Shellie Dunlap  
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