7th 12 Hours In Memory of Gabriel (2009)

My son Gabriel lived for 9 months. Every September, we celebrate his short life  with a 12 hour event in his memory. Friends come to run, walk, bike or do a triathlon.  By doing this, our foundation, Gabriel’s Symphony Foundation, raises funds for kids who are disadvantaged either because of a disability, sickness or poverty. 

I like to think of it as a venue for families to have a day of fitness and fun while helping others. My own kids have done different things over the years. The first year, they actually biked and ran throughout the day stopping only to eat and rest. The succeeding years, they did the kids tri. This year, they both ran the 3k run with their friends. Anthony Pangilan and his son Donny won the Parent and Child buddy run  (official results of all the events will be posted on Gabriel’s Symphony Foundation).

start

runall

The kids triathlon and aquathlon was fun  as always.  Coach Ani de Leon’s  Super Kids, our  future national triathletes were there in full force.  Three  year old Kira Ellis was our youngest participant (youtube video of super kids).

Super Kids
Super Kids

Fresh from the CamSur 70.3 Ironman, my tri-friends,  organized themselves into groups to do an ironman relay. There were 12 teams in all, including two all girls teams called Little Twin Star and Hello Kitty! The Carpo sisters crossed the finish line with their teammates in colorful head gear and attire. Similarly, the sea princess, Tessa Prieto Valdes biked in her tutu. Inspired by all this,  I told Ani and Mailet, we should have a best in costume award next year!

Polotri relay team and me at the finish line
Polotri relay team and me at the finish line

 

Coach Ani with women who did the ironman relay
Coach Ani with women who did the ironman relay

 

 

Tessa, Ani and I after Tessa finished her bike leg
Tessa, Ani and I after Tessa finished her bike leg

 

 

Some of the visually impaired kids, beneficiaries of our Foundation  were there too. They did a demo swim, which prompted me to tell their coach that they may want to train and participate in the aquathon next year. 

Visually Impaired kids swimming as the other kids cheer them on
Visually Impaired kids swimming as the other kids cheer them on

Later that morning they did a demo of table tennis specially designed for visually impaired individuals. We have donated 2 of these tables to blind schools and has committed to donate some more.

table tennis demo of visually impaired kids
table tennis demo of visually impaired kids

We also forged a new tie-up with Carewell Community, a foundation dedicated to provide support for cancer patients and their families. We did a Carewell Bikes for Hope and raised funds both for Gabriel’s foundation and Carewell. 

And of course, my friend,  Maiqui Dayrit,  did his 5th ironman.  Every year, he worries that he is not in shape. But regardless of the shape he is in, he does his 3.8k swim, 180k bike and 42k run. He is by far, the foundation’s, longest running, largest individual donor. God bless your heart and keep you healthy and running strong Maiqui! 

Running with Maiqui
Running with Maiqui
Ani Joey and Me with Maiqui after he finished his 5th Ironman distance.
Ani Joey and Me with Maiqui after he finished his 5th Ironman distance.

As Maiqui was finishing his run,  my brothers and some friends on a whim, decided to do a 200 meter sprint.  The arrangement was regardless of who wins, the group would donate to the foundation. The run lasted all of a few seconds but it was totally fun watching them. 

Then we came up with the idea of having my senate staff do the same 200 meter sprint. Some of the women in my office are quite fit… In fact, three of them Mich, Marvee and Karen did their first sprint triathlon relay in the UP College of Law Dean’s Cup a few weks ago.

Staff run
Staff run

There was just too much that happened that day for me to be sad. I miss my son every day of my life. But so much goodness has come out of his short life. I thank everyone who has made this day memorable, for taking time to join us and for making a difference in the lives of children.

exhibit

Photo exhibits of kids the foundations has helped.
Photo exhibits of kids the foundation has helped.