I could write numerous posts about my weekend at the Route 66 Marathon. I finally was able to meet some people that I’ve only conversed with via social media, which is always invigorating to me. Races bring together old friends and provide opportunities to make plenty of new friends. One of those friendships came from a person that is striving to make a difference at a very young age. Mason Carter Harvey is a 13-year-old that is leading the fight to obliterate childhood obesity.
I met him while enjoying the festivities on Saturday. I cheered for the 5kers and watched the Mascot Dash. Talk about a fun race? While wearing her T-Rex costume, fellow ICEdot Athlete, Danielle Hastings, was running so fast she lost her head. This did not stop her. She picked it up and finished in style.
It was afterwards that I saw Mason talking to a group of kids. I heard his story and was instantly amazed not only by what he has accomplished, but also for what he’s currently doing.
At 11 years old, he weighed 206 pounds. He decided he was “sick and tired of being sick and tired.” He figured the best way to change being mocked at school about his weight and feeling unhealthy was to make a change.
After making the necessary lifestyle changes, Mason lost 85 pounds. For some strange reason he has an affinity for the number 85. Who knows why?
Mason and his family came by the expo and he heckled me on Twitter while at the Blogger’s Lounge. I’m kidding. I think he enjoyed engaging with the panel. Next year, he’ll probably be on the panel and I’ll be sure to heckle him. Later that night, I witnessed him receiving the Kjell Tovander Award. Listen to his speech.
As the long day came to a close, he told me he’d be there to cheer me on the next day at the race. As promised, I saw the entire family the next day staked out at Mile 8.5. I thought that would be the last time I’d see him. To my surprise, he was waiting for me at the finish line.
For good reason, I’m pretty sure Mason is the only teenager I follow on Twitter. It’s one of the easiest ways for me to see what he’s up to. Don’t think he won’t tweet back.
His website, Strive for 85, documents his journey. He is raising awareness and letting other children know that the unthinkable is possible, even for a kid. Whether meeting famous and important people, hosting events, or helping his dad lose 85 pounds, Mason is changing lives. On Saturday, December 1, 2012, he will complete another goal by climbing 85 flights of stairs at Little Willie’s Triple Dog Dare.
There’s nothing like meeting positive people in the world. I’m not sure where Mason will go, but I do know he’ll continue to be one that motivates and inspires others. Now, as the title asks, “What do you strive for?”
SMALL STEPS + SMART CHOICES = BIG CHANGES
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