Monday, September 19, 2011


Whew!  Sometimes people use the word marathon like it's not that big of a deal (instead of 26.2 miles) but until you've actually done one I don't think you realize just how far 26.2 miles is to run!  I now know.  It's far!!  In addition to the distance we had rain, thunder and lightning, and even hail...twice!

I am glad to have this behind me but I must tell you just 48 hours later I actually don't think this will be my last.  I broke no land speed records finishing it in just over 5 hours but since this was my first marathon I did set a personal best. ;-)

You can see my results here:

Most importantly we raised a lot of money for Bridges To America and I am so grateful for those generous donors who toed the starting line with me in spirit and support.  To those of you who haven't taken the chance to donate yet please consider doing so as we will need even more support to reach the finish line of building a library in Africa.

Here are a few pictures taken courtesy of my dad who was there for the final grueling 6 miles or so.

Celebrating 20 miles with the entire aid station!*

Only a 10k left?  Well that shouldn't be too hard, right?  All I could do was smile.

Finishing 24 miles!  Amazed I could still count at this point.

Finishing strong with support from my team.
See you next year? 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Annual Fundraiser--Running With Purpose!

About this time last year I ran a half marathon and raised over $1,000 for Bridges to America. In the hopes of making this my one and only annual fundraising effort, this year I am running twice as far and am hoping to raise, guess what?, twice as much money.

I will be running the Top of Utah Marathon THIS Saturday, September 17, 2011.

Last year our fundraising was focused on reuniting the Egbukonye family which we were able to do through the help and generosity of many. They are doing very well since coming here from Nigeria one year ago.  You can read an update below.

This year we are raising money for two purposes.

1.  Library in Africa

After discussing our next project for Bridges To America with both the Fayanis and Egbukonyes, we concluded that the most effective way to help the African people better themselves is by providing a way for children and adults to access information and knowledge.  Bridges To America is all about independence and enabling those who don't have much of anything--opportunities, information, etc.--to make something of themselves and live a self-reliant life.

Access to books and information is a fundamental necessity and Bridges is developing a plan to construct a library in an optimal location to do just that.  This project will be a marathon, not a sprint, (pun intended) and we look forward to sharing our progress as we move forward.

We will be engaging both Joachim Fayani and Dickson Egbukonye to assist in the planning and logistics of this effort to ensure it is done prudently and effectively.

2.  Family Reunification Fund

At this time Bridges to America does not actively seek candidates for our financial and logistical assistance in legally reuniting families here in the USA.  However, as word of our efforts spreads we expect to have another family in need of our assistance shortly.  Our experience is such that these situations come to our attention suddenly and the need is often quite urgent due to government-imposed deadlines and a byzantine maze of bureaucracy and paperwork.

Therefore, we desire to start to build a fund to be able to act quickly as the need arises to assist another family.

Donation Procedure
I know that economic times are tough, believe me!, but if we waited to help others until we are financially comfortable would we ever really help anyone other than ourselves?  Many charitable organizations say that every little bit helps but we have a great opportunity to turn $1 into $3 (see below note on the Bonus Match) and really make a difference.  I would invite you to give up something from your daily expenses--a cup of coffee, a movie, a new shirt, a car (just kidding!)--and pledge a donation you are comfortable with.  Even $5 helps and whatever you donate will be used with great care and prudence.  You can monitor the progress on both the library and next family reunification here on our site.

To Donate:

1.  Please send an email to with your pledge to donate.  Donate online via the Razoo donate button at the right or you can simply send a check made out to Bridges to America Inc. and mail it to the address above and to the right

Bridges To America Inc. is a recognized 501c3 organization so your donation is tax-deductible and a receipt will be given to you by year-end.

2.  If you have a preference for how your funds will be used, Library or Family Reunification Fund, please specify in your email or with your mailed-in check and we will ensure the funds support that effort.

3.  If you really want to help motivate me then make your donation contingent on my actually finishing the marathon this weekend.  If I don't finish then you don't donate.  That simple.

But if you want to be really mean you can make your donation contingent on my actual finishing time.  (Please note: I have never run a marathon so I don't know what my time will be.  I did a 20 mile training run recently and it took me about 4 hours.  I will be thrilled/amazed/shocked if I finish in 4.5 hours but sort of bummed out if it takes more than 5.0 hours.  Also, I am 43 years old, 6'3" and weigh around 215.  Not exactly a marathoner's body. 

The most exciting thing this year is that we have an anonymous donor (well, not anonymous to me!) who has pledged to match two dollars for each dollar donated in September 2011.

That means $1 from you = $3 for Bridges to America!  Talk about leverage!


I love running and am excited to confront both the mental and physical challenge this weekend.  That said, marathon distance may not be my thing. In fact, I think this marathon will likely be a once in a lifetime event for me.  I hope you will help me make it worth something more than just an ego trip for me and help support great people who have very little and would benefit from any amount that you can donate.

Many thanks and stay tuned for an update on my race results Saturday!  Here goes something...
Family Updates

It has been far too long since updating the world on our efforts at Bridges to America.

I am so thrilled to tell you that both the Fayani and Egbukonye families are not just "hanging in there" in the US, they are thriving.  We take no credit for their success but rather attribute it to both families recongizing and actively pursuing the American Dream.  Yes, the ability to set a goal to improve your life and actually do it is very much alive.

Dickson Egbukonye and Family (arrived in 2010) live in a nice apartment in the Bay Area in Northern California.  After obtaining his certification as a nursing assistant last year, Dickson is currently working two jobs and they are ever grateful for the chance to be together pursuing a better life for themselves.

His wife, Vivian is busy at home with their two boys, Destiny (4) and Duke (1), who are adapting to their new life in America and busy keeping Mom busy all day long.

Joachim Fayani and Family (arrived in 2005) have become pillars of strength and a great source of smiles and happiness to all who know them.  They are very settled in to their lives as Americans and thriving.  You can see Joachim's website here.

Joachim--Working full-time, now a US citizen and received his GED recently
Germain--Going to school as a nursing assistant
Gesmin (24)--served a 2-year LDS mission and he is now attending college and looking for work
Deborah (21)-- BYU-Idaho studying Accounting in her third year
Lydia (18)--got her drivers license recently and is attending Los Medanos College near their home in Pittsburg, CA
Caleb (15)--high school freshman, playing basketball for his school
Osias (12)--7th grade
Fabienne (10)--top of her class in school, 5th grade
Daniel (5)--born in the USA and doing well