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).
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).
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.