Do Good. Live Well. Make an Impact.

Matt Orlando
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Matt Orlando

Matt is a 30 something year old runner/father/husband from New Jersey. Along with writing for TheRunnerDad.com, he occasionally writes articles for other blogs and websites. He is an IT guy by day, with a passion for running, traveling, and photography.
Matt Orlando
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I would like to tell you a story. It is a story of loss, a story of love, and most of all a story of how doing good, living well, and volunteering can have a lasting, positive impact on you and your community.

413982221605_0_bgIn September of 2007, fresh off of my first half marathon, I decided that I wanted to continue my training and complete my first full marathon. Excited but nervous, I knew that in order to succeed I needed proper training and a proper group with which to run. Thanks to a well-timed post card in the mail, I joined up with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program. Over four months of training I not only got in marathon shape but made several lasting friendships (3 of my best friends to date) and raised several thousand dollars to help find a cure for cancer. In and of itself it was an incredibly rewarding experience, one that changed me and helped me have a positive impact on the lives of others.

Several months later I decided to sign up to do another marathon with Team in Training. Shortly before the kick off event I received some devastating news. My older brother was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. It was a trying time for our family, and several months later my brother lost his battle to the disease. The love and support I received from my Team in Training teammates was tremendous. I credit these amazing people and organization for helping me through an incredibly difficult time. Though I ultimately did not run the marathon due to an injury, I continued fundraising and supporting my teammates, joining them on race day to cheer them on.

sparky1

Me, my future wife Steph, and Sparky Lyle at the Somerset Patriots ball park shortly after our my wife and my daily chats began.

It was during this time that something amazing happened as well. I met the woman who would eventually become my wife. She joined Team in Training because she was a cancer survivor, and like me wanted to help support an organization which had a positive impact on her life. After a few false starts, one day in August of that year we started talking…and we’ve talked every day since. We have been married for over six years now, and have two wonderful children. I do not believe that either of us could have imagined that through our volunteering and community support we would find the person with which we would spend the rest of our lives.

manifesto_stonehendge_1024x1024There is a line in the Holstee Manifesto which states this:

If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love.

Am I saying that by volunteering and helping your community that you will necessarily find the love of your life? No. But I can guarantee that you will meet some amazing people, do some incredible things, and in the process making a positive in lasting change in yourself and the people around you. So go. Take some time to find a group that is affecting positive change in your community and become a part of it. You never know where your next adventure might take you.

If you have a positive story about how volunteering has affected your life, please share it in the comments below!

** This post is sponsored by United Healthcare. All opinions expressed are my own. **

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