Team Jake

May 1, 2011 is the Orange County Marathon! We will be there with Team Jake, running (or passing out water) for a purpose. Team Jake hopes to have 200+ runners and you could be a part of it!

Join us by volunteering a few hours of your early Sunday morning by cheering on our team and passing out water to all participants.  The OC Marathon is all over Newport Beach, beginning at the OC Fair Grounds. All volunteers will receive a “Team Jake” shirt as a thank you for supporting our team.

Email ysalcedo@ucp-oc.org for more information and event details.

To donate to or join Team Jake please go to http://www.active.com/donate/teamjake2011/jenee 

Alison will be running for her son Jake and in support of United Cerebral Palsy of Orange County.  Here is the family’s touching story…

Team Jake is a group of runners, walkers, fans, and volunteers who help us embrace the OC Marathon event and all that it means to our family. January 8th, 2006 I ran (very liberal use of that term) my first marathon. I ran to honor my son Jake, to raise money in support of United Cerebral Palsy of Orange County, and to “cross something off the list”. The entire Robert/Holman family waited patiently for my finish (just under six hours….poor preparation…ugly execution!!) and we spent the afternoon together celebrating a rather unimpressive finish; but the OC Marathon had given us reason to spend the day together. We did not realize what an amazing gift that was until the next morning when we discovered that our precious son, Jake Ryan Lee Robert, our four and a half year old boy with Cerebral Palsy had passed away in his sleep. Team Jake was born. Since then, each year our amazing network of family, friends, and numerous friends and family of friends have joined us.

Each year brings new runners, new cheerers, new memories and an enduring sense that the wonderful spirit of Jake lives on. We always have amazing support at the finish line (including an extremely pro- Team Jake announcer) and we were fortunate to spend some post race time together at The Yard House last year……so fantastic to see everyone after the race to share war stories and introduce people to the amazingly diverse group that makes up our team. We will definitely plan a similar post-race event this year.

Why do we “Team Jake”? 1) Team Jake intends to support and encourage all of the special needs kids of Orange County and beyond who are striving to take their first step, eat on their own, hold their heads up or those simply fighting for the next milestone in their development; big or small. We appreciate the amazing spirit of these kids, their families, and friends and Team Jake celebrates their journey. While these kids fight to take step one, we run and walk knowing what a privilege each step we take is…..all the way through the finish line. 2) Team Jake desires to honor the memory of our sweet boy, Jake Ryan Lee Robert. Jakey never took a step on his own, never said a word , and never reached some of the most basic developmental milestones we often times take for granted with our children. Jakey opened our hearts and guided us to a perspective of simplicity we fight hard to maintain. He was unimpressed by money and power. He traded only in Love and accepted us without condition. Team Jake strives to bring this spirit to the OC Marathon event each year to keep Jake’s powerful perspective alive and spreading. 3) I (Steven)”Team Jake” because I have yet to find a way to feel closer to my son….In 2006 after struggling through 26.1 miles, Alison handed me Jakey and he joined me as I finished my first marathon. He was bouncing up and down as I waddled over the line….and the movement made him laugh just a bit. I run my 26.1 miles now because no matter how many times they change the course or the date of the event, when I get near that finish line I can feel Jakey’s weight in my arms, I can recall how soft his air was that day, I can hear his laugh in my ear and I can see his face contorting into his little smile that changed the Robert family forever. For that, I will run anywhere, anytime.

Highlights for Team Jake in 2010: – Over 125 runners participated for Team Jake including 2 first time marathoners and numerous first time half marathoners. – Team Jake runners traveled from Texas, Nevada, Arizona, Tennessee, & all over California to participate. – Our youngest runner was Jake’s brother Brady (4 years old, 5K) and our senior member was Jake’s Poppa Jud (let’s just say barely south of 70…half marathon!!) – Jakey’s older brothers Tyler(12) and Zach(10) completed the half marathon for the fourth consecutive year and are looking forward to number 5 in 2011 !!! We are amazed at how Jake continues to connect us with great people who come out and support our efforts each year. We look forward to another amazing day celebrating our sweet boy. 

We have high hopes for Team Jake in 2011. We dream of having 200 + runners. We are determined to raise $25,000 for United Cerebral Palsy of Orange County to help them continue to deliver amazing therapies and support to special needs kids in Orange County. And, we hope to share our Jakey, and the amazing impact he continues to have in this world, with anyone willing to listen.

With tremendous love, humility, & gratitude, Steven, Alison, Tyler, Zach, Brady, Cody & Our sweet angel Jake

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How to Help

What if United Cerebral Palsy earned a donation every time you searched the Internet? Or how about if a percentage of every purchase you made online went to support our cause? Well, now it can!

With deep budget cuts looming in the air, United Cerebral Palsy of Orange County could use your help more than ever! There are many ways to help, but today we want to focus on an SIMPLE yet effective way to help out UCP-OC called GoodSearch.com. Last month we informed our parents about GoodSearch.com and our numbers multiplied by 8! Our hope is that we can utilize this site to raise support by using a medium our families already use. It is truly as easy as using your search engine or shopping online. GoodSearch.com donates half its advertising revenue, about a penny a search, to the charity you designate.

Goodsearch.com supports organizations you care about (UCP-OC) through partnering with stores you already shop at online! Up to 30% of your online purchase will go to UCP-OC. Hundreds of great stores including Amazon, Apple, Target, Gap, Best Buy, eBay, Macy’s and Barnes & Noble have teamed up with GoodShop and every time you place an order, you’ll be supporting your favorite cause.

You can also use it as a search engine, just like you use Google or yahoo search. UCP-OC receives a small donation each time you utilize GoodSearch once you’ve designated UCP – Orange County as your charity. GoodSearch is powered by Yahoo so you know your results will be accurate.

It’s so easy to continue supporting UCP-OC! Simply go to GoodSearch’s website and download the tool bar. Indicate United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) – Orange County as your charity of choice. http://www.goodsearch.com/toolbar/united-cerebral-palsy-ucp-orange-county

For more information go to www.goodsearch.com or read about them in The New York Times, ABC News, USAToday and more.

Also, don’t forget you can find us on facebook! We look forward to hearing from you on our page! Please share stories and let us know how UCP-OC has been involved with your family. We love building relationships with you! http://www.facebook.com/pages/United-Cerebral-Palsy-of-Orange-County/40306459081

written by: Elizabeth

Sign up for Bike Camp 2011

Last year at the OC Bike Camp, children were given the opportunity to learn the freedom of riding a bike. Kathrina told us her story about her son’s experience at the weeklong camp.

“My son has autism and everyone at the camp did not think he was going to make it on a bike the first day because of his refusal/behaviors. He biked everyday and on the last day, I requested if they could put him on the bike without any training wheels. His two volunteers didn’t think he could do it but I begged that they try it for just two minutes, and after if he could not do it we can stop. They tried it and to their surprise Joshua stayed up! Then Joshua went on to bike the last 10 minutes. Boy, was I rejoicing!
            These small miracles bring so much joy to parents. I remember the lady from the organization asked that all the kids to be placed on a regular bike, and we watched all the children bike successfully without training wheels. Life without limits is the motto for UCP and it is a good one to live by despite the disability of these children. Many parents came up to me at the end and said thank you. I was glad to be there the last day to encourage that opportunity for my son, as well as other kids.”

Join us as United Cerebral Palsy- Orange County (UCP-OC) and the Down Syndrome Association (DSA) team up to put on our annual summer bike camp! This year, we will again be co-hosting this event at Soka University in Aliso Viejo. This camp is a weeklong camp that enables children with disabilities to learn how to ride a bike. Riding a bike is a huge freedom to have, and by teaching these kids to ride a bike will give them a feeling of independence. With the help of countless volunteers, these kids will gradually learn to ride a bike without training wheels. With the help of specially adapted bikes for the kids to start off riding, over the course of a week, they will end up being able to ride a normal bike. This is a great opportunity for your child to grow in their strength and balance as well. If you are interested in this special event, contact Janet Winter of UCP-OC (jwinter@ucp-oc.org). The deadline for registration is April 15th,  so act fast! We hope you decide to participate in this extraordinary event!

Written by: Elizabeth and Ellie, with story from Kathrina

Glimmer of Hope Gala: Post-Gala

Glitz and glamour is what awaited the attendees of this year’s Life Without Limits Gala on Saturday the 26th of March at Newport’s Balboa Bay Club. Children ambassadors to UCP-OC greeted each person with a smile and a wave as they arrived to the event, and then ushered them into the cocktail reception where they had a wine and silent auction. Guests were offered specialty “Wickedtinis” and hors d’oeurves as they waited to enter the Grand Ballroom for the dinner and live auction.

Once you entered the ballroom you were ushered into an elegant world of sparkling emerald and stunning candlelit trees, each place setting fully equipped with emerald glasses and playbill for the evening. The main course was a mouth watering filet mignon and garlic roasted prawns with the musical talents of 19 year old Marna Rough and Sage Hill High School sophomore, Caitlin Cohn to entertain.

The night also honored Julia and George Argyros for their years of steadfast support for children with disabilities. The Reverend John and Mrs. Anne Huffman shared stories of friendship and philanthropy prior to the award presentation, and the couple was joined by their children and grandkids. The event was supported by DLD Insurance Brokers Inc, The Argyros Family, The Dubia Family Foundation, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP, The Tunney Foundation and Fish & Richardson.

A live auction included packages worthy of the King of Oz. There was a Montecito beach house, Top Gun Fighter experience, Grammy tickets, a trip to New York including a shopping spree at Bergdorf-Goodman, theater tickets and accommodations at the renowned Plaza Hotel (sold 4 times!), a complete Hawaiian vacation and a sports lovers dream weekend with Lakers tickets, golf and luxurious Bentley. The night raised a total of over $380,ooo for UCP-OC. Live entertainment by Liquid Blue ended the night on the dance floor.

Make sure not to miss out next year on this unforgettable night, as you wine and dine in style to support UCP-OC!

Please follow this link to look at the pictures from the event! http://lilystein.smugmug.com/CLIENT/UCP-Gala

written by: Elizabeth Wylie