I have an awesome job. Really, I hate to brag, but I do. As a “new media” sports reporter, I get to travel, write, shoot videos, edit, report, create and dream up ideas centered around professional sports teams. I meet amazing people and interview athletes daily. I witness the battle on the playing field between success and failure all year long and am inspired by the tiny moments (because it’s those moments that create the big ones) where triumph beats adversity.

And sometimes I complain.

Yep. I know. I’m ashamed to admit it, but it’s true.

You know how it goes. In any job, there are complications. Support you don’t get, resources you need, people who are jerks … Those moments when even though you’ve prepared and lined things up and made seven backup plans, life decides to laugh at you anyways and kick you in the shins and make you pull an eighth out of your butt.

Sometimes, I lose perspective.

Where am I going with this, you wonder? Well, let me explain:

Bill Johnston is the public relations director for the San Diego Chargers. His wife, Ramona, has Huntington’s disease, a genetically caused brain disorder that takes away a person’s ability to walk, talk, swallow, eat and think. Slowly, that person becomes just a shell of himself or herself. It’s such a sad disease, because it robs a person of his or her spirit.

Every year, Bill and his family — along with the rest of the HD community — tirelessly raise money to help find a cure for HD. A few weeks ago, I tagged along with Bill and his daughter, Hayley, as they ran the Rock-And-Roll Marathon in support of HD:

My life decisions often include what I’m going to wear the next day, or if I’ll have carbs for lunch, or whether or not I can cover a story. Maybe *sometimes* I might think about my future, and if I’ll marry or have a family or where my career might be in ten years. Hayley faces a decision of whether or not to be tested for a disease that she very well could have … A disease that would make all other decisions trivial. Stop. Think about that for a second. Think about one of your kids having to face that.

It’s brutal.

And Hayley is so strong.

The thing about Bill and Hayley is that they are two of the funniest, most optimistic, friendly, professional people you will ever meet. They are, for lack of a better word, cool. You’d wanna hang out with them and drink beers and watch the game. Certainly I don’t know what goes on in their personal lives, but I know their courage isn’t an act.

Last night, I went to one of my favorite events of the year — the “Shoot To Cure HD” event. It’s basically a tournament style basketball shoot-off at Chargers Park. People form teams and go at it, and usually they’ve had a few cocktails before they take their shots. 😉 It’s pretty fun. Plenty of Chargers show up, and this year, it was the coaches and defensive line that made it to the end of the tournament. Here’s some sights and sounds (excuse the poor quality — I used my old FlipCam):

Remember what I was talking about in the beginning of this post? How sometimes I forget what an awesome job I have (and life, really) because of a bad day or some jerky egotistical athlete? Well, guess what — my whole family is healthy. I am healthy. I have the choice, every day, to steer my life in any direction I choose.

Ramona does not. And depending on a test result, Hayley might not either.

I’m not trying to give you all the “don’t take life for granted” speech. But I can say that my life is changed because of Bill, Ramona, Hayley and their family. Take a second, go to an event, or simply read more about HD on this website. Help them find a cure.

Side note: I took my first motorcycle ride during the marathon, to try and find Bill and Hayley on the course. Pretty sweet huh???

3 responses

  1. | Reply

    You’re a cool chick (person). Some guy will be lucky to have you one day.

  2. […] of this came about last year, when I did a video on Bill Johnston (Chargers PR Director) and his daughter, Hayley, who run the marathon each year to help raise money for Huntington’s disease, a degenerative […]

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