Thursday, July 28, 2016

Runner Spotlight: Kelly O'Donahoe

Runner spotlight time! Meet Kelly O'Donahoe from Apopka, FL.  We celebrate Kelly who has been an incredible addition to Team GP2C. "Not only is she a strong and impactful role model," shares Jen Tucker, GP2C Program Manager, "but she's rocking the #girlpower! We appreciate her compassion and are proud of her leadership, drive and dedication. She continues to make a difference... one step at a time!"

Team GP2C Runner: Kelly O'Donahoe 

How did you get involved with GP2C? 
I was running the 2014 Princess half marathon and while at the Expo and walking past the GP2C booth, Ingrid brought me into the GP2C booth (just her and I were there) to talk about Rett Syndrome. I had no understanding of what Rett syndrome was and Ingrid had such passion/drive speaking that it made such an impression on me that I didn’t forget about GP2C.

I walked away that day with a flower in my hand and Ingrid’s voice in my head. Fast forward to 2016 Disney Princess sign ups. I hadn’t planned on signing up for the Disney Princess at all. I let sign ups come and go. Then realized that I wanted to run the Princess and looked at the charity list. Low and behold GP2C was there again and was my only choice so I inquired and was put on a waiting list. I received an email from GP2C that they had a Glass Slipper bib, not one but two so my husband and I signed up without hesitation. Shortly after I was talking with my daughter Michelle who told me about Lily Detweiler (who is Michelle’s friends sister). Lisa (Lily’s Mom) and I hooked up and it’s been an awesome journey since.

What inspired you to become an athlete?
I don’t consider myself an athlete. However, I do enjoy running and trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We started running after my daughter Alyssa ran the 5K at the 2013 Disney Princess run. My husband and I run quite a few races together each year and we now wear our GPC2 running shirts at most races.

What is your favorite part of running for Team GP2C? 
The cause, the relationships and of course the families. We hope to meet more families this year. The friendship with Lisa, Lily and her family has been amazing so glad we met.

What keeps you coming back? 
Knowing I can make a very small difference in the Rett World keeps me coming back.
The mission to help find a cure #untilshecan #powertheflower

What would you tell other people that are thinking about joining Team GP2C? 
That they wouldn’t regret it, all of the dollars for research will help these families. Once, you come out and meet families with Rett Syndrome, you will know what your passion is and what you must do to help. It’s such a blessing to be a part of the GP2C team and they need your help.

Share a few lines of your favorite running song at the moment:
This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I'm alright song
My power's turned on
Starting right now I'll be strong
I'll play my fight song
And I don't really care if nobody else believes
'Cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me

What would be a perfect afternoon for you?
To have all of my children together under one roof to spend time with each other.

Share one quote or saying that inspires you to keep going:
“When you think about quitting, think about why you started.”

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Sisterly Love and Celebrating 51!

Meet Kristi and her two sisters, Kourtney and Kari, who planned a fun adventure in June to Discovery Cove in Orlando, FL. Kristi, who has Rett Syndrome, recently celebrated her 51st Birthday! Happy Birthday Kristi!

Earlier in the year, Kourtney and Kari traveled to Arizona, but could not bring Kristi which bothered them both immensely. Kourtney shares, "I decided we were going to figure out a way for us to have a sisters' trip with Kristi.  Fast forward about 7 months and Kari gets an opportunity to go to Discovery Cove with a group she is a part of and she can bring guests. She calls me and asks if I'm ready to do this. My answer was “yes” of course! Now to plan the trip to make sure Kristi's needs were met and all three of us came back in one piece."

Dinner, dancing, a ride around the lazy river, swimming with the dolphins and more! Kourtney shares some of the fantastic highlights from their girls trip with us:

“The two-day trip couldn't have gone better. At dinner, Kristi was all smiles and loved dancing with her little sister Kari. Discovery Cove was amazing and Kristi loved every minute, except when we put her on the lift to get in the lazy river.  She wasn't too sure about that or the lazy river at first, especially after we had to go through the waterfall…but once she realized her little sisters were doing all the work and she could truly be lazy, she was the happiest girl in the world! She was laughing at her little sisters trying to stay afloat while keeping her afloat. After the lazy river and lunch, it was our turn to swim with the Dolphins. With some help from the wonderful lifeguards and staff at Discovery Cove, Kristi was able to participate in all parts of the dolphin interaction except the actual swimming. Though it was a quick two-day trip, it was two days filled with memories, laughter and moments that no one can replace.

The best part of it was seeing Kristi's smile throughout the whole trip and telling Rett syndrome to back off.  This was something Rett was not going to take away from us. 

Those memories are ingrained in our heads and the smile on Kristi's face are ingrained in our heart.  Now off to plan our next trip.”

This awesome weekend looks like it was packed with #girlpower, sisterhood, and some fun in the sun!

Do you have a favorite summer activity or outing that you’d like to share with GP2C? Email

Looking for summer activities and resources? Check out our Rett Girl Summer Magazine by clicking here!

Power On!

Additional note: Kourtney has just started as a Rett University Coach helping girls with Rett Syndrome learn to communicate. Learn more about the program and Kourtney here.