Nov 29, 2016

A Giveaway for Giving - Donate to Sophie and Madigan's Playground

Today is Giving Tuesday (as I write this), so I'm sharing with you a way I'm helping to give, and a way you can give to others. I recently announced that for the Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World this January, I'll be running for a charity: Sophie and Madigan's Playground. When I announced my working with the charity, I offered up some additional reasons to donate, some perks for your donations. I also mentioned that I was working on a giveaway. I'm happy to now share that giveaway with you.

A quick bit about the charity

Sophie and Madigan's Playground is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization created to honor the lives of Sophie and Madigan Lillard. Their mission is an uplifting one, but not without a heartbreaking background.
On January 31, 2013, the Lillard family of Myersville, Maryland was struck by unthinkable tragedy when a horrific house fire claimed the lives of their daughters Sophie and Madigan, killed the family's four pets, destroyed their home and virtually all the family's possessions, and hospitalized the surviving family members.

As Sophie and Madigan's parents struggled to cope with the loss of their daughters, they looked for a way to honor the memory of Sophie and Madigan and pay tribute to the joy Sophie and Madigan brought their family and friends during their too short lives.

Having lost all their possessions, the Lillards were left with no physical reminders of Sophie and Madigan...none of the toys Madigan and Sophie played with, the clothes they wore, their hand drawn pictures and art projects, their favorite books, handmade jewelry...the list goes on and on. The Lillards were struck by the harsh reminder of how important memories are, especially those memories that a family creates together.

At the same time the Lillards were coping with this horrible loss, they were touched by the outpouring of support provided by the greater Frederick County, Maryland community that was rocked by the tragedy.

The Lillards realized that by creating a memorial park and themed playground, they could create a place that honors Sophie and Madigan in a way that reflects their personalities and spirits, while at the same time provide the community with a place where children and their families could build memories together that last a lifetime.

The Lillards created Sophie and Madigan's Playground in June 2013 to honor the lives of Sophie and Madigan by providing opportunities for children and their families to play, learn, and create lifelong memories together.
Having two children of my own makes the mission of this charity personal to me. I think giving other children and families happiness is a great way to honor the memory of Sophie and Madigan.

The Fundraising

In racing for Sophie and Madigan's Playground, I have a fundraising goal for $1,100. You can help by donating on my runner page. While the good this money will do for the mission of the organization is reason enough to donate, I'm going to offer you additional incentives, in a Kickstarter "perks"-like fashion. Based on levels you donate, I'm going to offer you some extra rewards as my personal thank you.

Every $5 == Giveaway Entry
First and foremost, I'm offering a giveaway to any donors of at least $5. For each $5 you donate, you'll earn an entry for a giveaway package, to be drawn in conjunction with Walt Disney World Marathon weekend. That means $5 gets you 1 entry, $10 gets you 2, and so on (maths people). Here's what you can win so far:

BibRave Trucker Hat + BibRave Tattoos
I'll start you off with the first items donated to me, from the team at BibRave. As you know, I'm an ambassador for BibRave and BibChat as a BibRavePro. I've had a lot of great opportunities teaming up with this fantastic group of people. They were the first to offer up items for my raffle. Thanks to the BibRave team, you can be sporting this awesome BibRave Trucker Hat as well as some BibRave temporary tattoos. (Image from

XX2i Gift Certificates
Next up, one of my favorite brands, which you've seen featured many times on this blog: XX2i. This awesome eyewear brand has given me several gift certificates good for a free pair of sunglasses of your choice! Pick the frame and color you want most. Since I have several of these, I may use some as early giveaways as we build towards our giveaways, so the earlier you donate, the more chances you'll have to win a pair. You could choose from many that I've written about (shown below): France1, USA1 (my wife's favorite), Bermuda1, Australia1 (my goto running glasses), Brazil1 (my goto everyday), or one of the frames I haven't personally tried out yet.

AfterShokz Trekz Titanium
Another of my favorite products that I use almost every run are my AfterShokz headphones. I love these headphones because they give me my music (without wires) on my run but also keep me safe with their unique, advanced, open ear design. You can read my full thoughts from my review written earlier this year but the tl;dr version is best way to have your music without compromising your safety. AfterShokz has provided me a pair to give away to you, in the same color I rock regularly: Ivy (green / black). Plus, they're bluetooth, so if you have a phone that ditched the headphone jack, they've got your back.

The Square: Clean Bottle
The next product I have for you is pretty unique in that you can't currently buy it, only back it on Kickstarter. It's The Square. It's a large, 32 oz bottle. It's square, so it won't go anywhere if it falls. It's got a convenient handle built into the top. Plus, one of my favorite features, the bottom also screws off for easy cleaning. I hate trying to get the bottle of a water bottle clean. It's even BPA-free and comes with a lifetime guarantee. You can win one here with your donations to Sophie and Madigan's Playground or go back the Kickstarter right now. Or do both. (Image from

Donated by Me:

I wanted to throw in a couple items myself to the raffle, to share with you more of what I love. To start, I'm going to throw in some of my hydration of choice: Nuun. I'll be giving you an assortment of 4 different tubes, including a tube from my stash of can't be bought Kona Cola. I'll also throw in an individually packaged trial of Plus for Nuun, great for adding some carbs to your hydration for your longer runs.

Walt Disney World Mystery Item
Lastly, I'll be giving you a little something from the Disney Parks. While I'm in the magical happy place of Walt Disney World for the races, I'll also pick up one last item to add into the raffle. What will it be? You'll have to wait to find out.

Want to win? Go donate now!

The Other Perks

I've already written all about the perks you can get for your donation. These are little ways for me to say thank you to everyone, since only one person can win the big giveaway. Below is the quick version, or read the full post.

$1: Website Thank You
Every donation will come with a heartfelt thank you on my website.

$10: Social Media Shoutout
The next reward is also electronic, but I'll shout my thanks to the internet beyond my site and into the world of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and even reddit if I need to!

$25: Disney Trading Pin
I'm going to offer you one of my own assorted pins, as a thank you for a donation of $25.

$40: Postcard from Walt Disney World
For the next level of donation, I'm going to offer you one fun bit of mail, a postcard direct from Walt Disney World, sent with my personal handwritten thanks.

$150: Pick a Race Costume (first 2 donors)
One thing I love about runDisney is the number of race costumes. For this perk, you pick what my costume will be and I'll find a way to make it work. This offer is up for grabs for up to 2 people who donate at least $150. Of course, I'll also throw in ALL the other perks above and plenty of thanks (and photographic evidence!).

How to Donate

Donating is easier than obtaining a FastPass for Frozen: Ever After! All you need to do is head over to my runner's page and selecting "Sponsor Me". Then, all you have to do is fill out your information and decide how much you want to donate. Submit and you're done! You've helped me and, more importantly, you've helped out Sophie and Madigan's Playground.

Now, some of my perks require me sending you a little something or needing your social media account. So, for all of these, you'll need to drop me a line. You can choose to send me a message via Twitter, Facebook, or an email via john at Since I don't control the page you donate through, this is the easiest way to ensure I get your information.

Thank you for reading all the way through and thank you so much to all of you who donate!

UPDATE: I'm also linking up with Running with SD Mom and Erica Finds for the Wednesday Giveaway Round Up, so go check out their other giveaways for chances to win.


  1. What a great way to bring something good out of something so tragic.

    1. Yeah, I thought it was a fantastic idea. They're starting to show off some of the plans and have been working with the county on an area for the park, so it's getting moving which is cool. A great way to keep their memory alive and bring joy to other children.