Thank You, Wit & Delight And Article!

Few things make us happier than seeing our Heroes smile. So when another organization tells us they want to do something nice for one of our Heroes, we pretty much melt into a puddle.

A few months ago, we shared the great news that our December 2016 Hero, Roshee, had moved into a new home. And if you remember Roshee's story, you understand why this was such a big deal. We were so thrilled for Roshee, her wife and her sons when we heard the news.

Well, the folks at Wit & Delight and Article were thrilled to hear the news, too. So they decided to gift Roshee a dining room makeover as a housewarming gift. JUST BECAUSE THEY WANTED TO DO SOMETHING NICE FOR SOMEONE DESERVING. HOW AWESOME IS THAT?

(Sorry about the ALL CAPS. We are just that excited.)

In true Roshee form, she initially insisted she didn't need anything (and that another family may be in greater need). Maybe a table and chairs, so her family could enjoy a meal together. But that's it. 

Spoiler alert: Wit & Delight and Article didn't listen. Instead, they outfitted Roshee and her family with quite possibly the dreamiest dining room we've ever seen. 

But don't take our word for it. Check out the "after" photos on Wit & Delight (plus a bonus conversation with Roshee). 

Thank you, Wit & Delight and Article, for your kindness. 

Monarch Builders x Still Kickin

18581637_1392562457487377_7884934787123990856_n.jpg

 

We're always SO moved when organizations reach out to us wanting to help out our monthly Heroes.

Recently, the team at Monarch Builders & Commercial Services in Edina, MN created a giveback program to benefit Still Kickin -- and they even put together a special golf tournament to help build awareness of our organization and drive donations.

Thank you for your support, Monarch!

Want to include us in your own giveback program? Reach out to hello@stillkickin.co to discuss opportunities for your organization! 

Still Kickin Sessions (Featuring Past Heroes And Hot Young Widows)

We can't tell you how thrilled we were to have a full house at our inaugural Still Kickin Sessions on April 20 at Republic. When planning events like this, we're always convinced we're going to show up and be the only folks there, but you proved us wrong yet again! We saw some new faces in the crowd and loved meeting everyone following the event.

Photo by Melissa Floyd Photography

Photo by Melissa Floyd Photography

If you couldn't attend and are wondering what you missed, well, let us tell ya: it was an emotional ride. We had snacks. We had drinks. We had laughter. And we had tears. (But really, is that a surprise?) Someone suggested we provide complimentary boxes of tissues next time (and we very much appreciate that feedback and have taken it under advisement). We went deep, guys. 

Our panelists included Erin Benson, whose son Sam was our December 2015 Hero; Steve Lufkin, who was our January 2016 hero, and his amazing wife, Stacy; and Moe Richardson, a founding member of the Hot Young Widows Club. 

Check out some highlights (can you call it a highlight if people were crying at the time?) from the event below. We hope to see you at our next Session (which we are planning as we speak)!

What else do you do when you can’t save your kid? You start a nonprofit.
— Erin Benson
Photo by Melissa Floyd Photography

Photo by Melissa Floyd Photography

In today’s world ... we don’t want the conversation. We don’t really want to know how [people] are. We just want to greet them with a hello. Take the time with them and really ask how they’re doing. You might learn something.
— Steve Lufkin
Photo by Melissa Floyd Photography

Photo by Melissa Floyd Photography

You find your village, and you surround yourself with them. You have people you’re emotional with. You have people who do your taxes. You have people you ask for help. Every day you wake up and do it again.
— Moe Richardson
Photo by Melissa Floyd Photography

Photo by Melissa Floyd Photography

When he was diagnosed, Steve laid down some ground rules for us — namely, that it’s okay to cry.
— Stacy Lufkin
Photo by Melissa Floyd Photography

Photo by Melissa Floyd Photography

It’s amazing how many people at malls or other places will not make eye contact with me at all. It’s like I have a disease they’re going to catch by looking at me. If you see somebody, a smile and a wave means the world.
— Steve Lufkin

Still Kickin at Mall of America!

Courtesy Mall of America

Courtesy Mall of America

A little birdie may have already shared the news (or we shared it, because we've practically been shouting from the rooftops). You can now shop Still Kickin merch at the one and only Mall of America!

Debut is the Mall of America's rotating retail experience, and its latest iteration is called Shop For Kindness. The store features more than a dozen brands that give back and make a difference. We are honored to be part of such outstanding company!  

Debut: Shop for Kindness is open through Sept. 10. The store is located at N125, aka the first level on the north side of the mall. It's next to Zara. If you want to avoid too much mall walking, we recommend parking in the north lot. 

Not able to make it to the Mall of America? (Or just avoid ginormous mega malls in general?) Don't worry. You can find the same items on our website in the Still Kickin shop

Here's a look at the merch you can find at Debut.

Photos by Kylee and Christian Creative.

Hero Update: Darth Vader

Darth Vader, our November 2016 Hero, underwent a long-awaited, life-changing amputation surgery a couple of months ago. Since then, he's completed five triathlons and is going after his sixth this weekend.

No, that's not a typo.

Not one.

Not five.

Six triathlons

We'd say we're surprised by this feat, but we're really not. And if you knew Darth, you wouldn't be, either. 

"Two big words I use in my life are 'adapt' and 'cope,'" Darth says. "You really have to have the mindset of being flexible -- mentally and physically -- to be able to adapt and be able to cope to your situation."

Though he's incredibly grateful for the support he's received over the past few months, Darth also feels pressure to prove himself. (We think he's already proven himself a thousand times over, but that's just us.)

"You want to succeed, because although there have been amputees thousands of years before me, there are also amputees who are going to be here after me," he says. "So I take that responsibility like being a parent — leading by example."

Darth hopes to complete his 100th Tough Mudder by 2018. And if he were anyone else, we'd probably scoff at this.

But he's not.

And we're not. 

2017 NYC Half Marathon Update

A big THANK YOU to everyone who supported Team Still Kickin at the 2017 #NYCHalf.

With your help, we raised more than $16k for the American Cancer Society, blowing way, way past our original goal of $11k. 

It's never too early to start looking ahead to next year. If you think you might want to run with us at the 2018 NYC Half Marathon, shoot us an email at hello@stillkickin.co.

Why We Sweat

Monthly workouts have been a major part of Still Kickin's mission since the very beginning. We collaborate with various gyms and fitness studios to bring folks a fun, welcoming (and typically very sweaty) experience.

It's a win-win, really. By signing up for one of our workouts, you provide a bit of financial assistance to a person in need and in exchange are rewarded with a rush of endorphins and other feel-good feels. Way more fun than just writing a check, right? (Though, if you wanted to write us a check for a million dollars, we sure as heck would take that, too.)

If you've attended one (or way more than one) of our workouts before, AWESOME -- we love you so damn much. If you've always wanted to join but have been too nervous, we feel you. Workout classes can be super intimidating. Ours are different. When we say "all levels of fitness and experience are welcome," we're absolutely serious. 

We teamed up with Maribeth Romslo and several of our partner gyms to further explain why workout events are and always will be the backbone of our organization.

Check out the Still Kickin website for a list of our upcoming workout events. We can't wait to sweat with you! (Is that weird? Oh well.)

Hero Update: Jackson Poulos

Jackson Poulos, our January 2017 Hero, underwent major surgery a little over a month ago to remove the tumor in his abdomen. He’s doing extremely well, “far surpassing anybody’s expectations as to where he’d be at this point,” according to his parents. Jackson is able to eat by mouth again but also receives feedings via gastrostomy tubes overnight.

In a post on Jackson’s Facebook page, his parents wrote: “There is a sense of relief now that the Houston trip is over and we are all together again. However, the road ahead is still long and arduous."

Though Jackson’s doctor is confident she was able to remove the entire tumor during surgery, Jackson has started another round of chemo to take care of any potential leftover cancer cells (because rhabdomyosarcoma is nasty stuff). He’ll then undergo radiation.

“We are hoping that he tolerates this next phase well and that he's able be a normal, crazy 5-year-old," his parents say.

May the force be with you, Jackson! 

 

 

 

Run A Marathon. Help Others.

Exciting news alert! Still Kickin is an official charity partner for the 2017 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, which will be held on Oct. 1, 2017. 

If you're planning on running the marathon (or have been debating whether or not you should), we have an absolutely brilliant idea: join Team Still Kickin!

The funds you raise will help out some amazing humans long after you cross the finish line. And we're not scientists or anything, but we're pretty sure those long training runs go easier if you're running for a cause. 

Ready to sign up? Curious but need to know more? Either way, shoot us a message at hello@stillkickin.co. 

Still Kickin At The New York City Half Marathon

While everyone else is bundled up indoors this winter, we're out in the elements. Because Still Kickin will have a team of runners at the New York City Half Marathon on Sunday, March 19, 2017.

Yes, March.

As in, a little over two months away.

//cue panic attack//

This is the fourth year (whoa!) we've ran the NYC Half, and once again, we are raising money for the American Cancer Society.

You've probably heard of them. They're a damn awesome organization, and we are honored to support them.

Eleven members of the Still Kickin family are running this year -- our largest group yet! Each runner is raising $1,000 for the American Cancer Society. 

Keep your eye on our posts for more information as March 19 nears. If you'd like to contribute to our fundraising endeavors, click here!

(And don't forget: Our first meeting of the Still Kickin Run Club is Jan. 21!)

Accomplish Your Goals (And Help A Human Out At The Same Time!)

Still Kickin helps awesome people who are going through something awful.

We do that because awesome people help us make it happen. They rock our gear. They show up to our workouts. They know what it means to be Still Kickin, and they give a care about other people.

Not everyone can go to our monthly workouts. Not everyone needs another piece of gear. (Really? Who are you?! Just kidding. It’s fine.) But everyone has a goal. Everyone can do something.

We want to encourage you to do your “something” this year.

We started this Crowdrise campaign to help you set -- and achieve -- your goal while helping a human out in the process.

HERE'S HOW IT WORKS:

  1. Pick your goal for 2017. Want to walk 500 miles? Run a 5k? Go 365 days without smoking? Whatever your goal, we believe in you.

  2. Sign up for a fundraiser on Crowdrise. When you do, select "Raise Money For Charity." 

  3. Make your profile. Set a fundraising goal of your choice.

  4. Go kick 2017 right in the throat.

  5. Feel good about yourself.

  6. Feel good about helping others.

Here's another way to look at it. You know how marathoners often raise money for a nonprofit during their training? And then that nonprofit receives the proceeds after that person *slays* that marathon?

In this scenario, you choose your figurative "marathon," and Still Kickin is the nonprofit. (Metaphors are fun!)

We’ll be here to offer you support -- sharing your story with the Still Kickin community and giving you a high five when we see you IRL.

Other ways you can use Crowdrise and help out Still Kickin include:

- Birthdays. You don't want gifts, but your friends bring gifts anyway. Every. Single. Time. Ask them to donate to your Crowdrise, instead!

- Weddings. You have everything you need for your new home and don't want a traditional registry. Ask your party-goers to contribute to Crowdrise, instead! One amazing couple did this last year, and we were so grateful.

Now GO OUT THERE and KILL IT. You are amazing.

Happy Birthday, Us!

Well, that went fast.

Well, that went fast.

It's been one year since Still Kickin became a thing.

In that year, we've seen our shirts pop up in 44 states, 10 countries, 5 continents.

We've hosted hundreds of people at 20 workouts in 6 states.

We've heard what these two words mean to thousands of you.

We've helped 12 awesome people through the worst life has handed them, and we've tripled our monthly Hero gift in just a year.

We’ve done all of this our way – with a non-traditional non-profit model we built around 2 words that can represent anyone’s struggle, success and resilience. It’s a non-profit brand? A non-profit retail experience? A non-profit community? It’s all of this, and all of us, and we’re really, really glad to have you be a part of it.

For 2016, we have big plans to help more people more meaningfully. 

The monthly gifts we give our Heroes are based on our retail sales and event attendance—and in the last year,we’re proud to have tripled the amount of the gift we’re able to give our Heroes.

The workouts, tshirts, and general enthusiasm go a long way to help us support our heroes—and today, we’re asking you to help us all year long.

Become a Still Kickin Sustainer. Your gift of $25/month will help us raise the bar on how much we’re able to provide our heroes. And if we reach 250 people at the $25/month level, we’ll be well on our way to developing a consistent, sustainable fund to ensure we can help our heroes as much as possible in our next 12 months.

Will you help us help more Heroes? Become a Still Kickin Sustainer now.

 

 

You're right.

If you think you can, or you think you can’t...you’re right.
— Tracy Palmer, YAS Fitness

Today, it has been something like 17 months since Aaron died. 17 months since my whole world stopped spinning, and it was up to me to dig my shoulder in and push it back into motion.

Until Aaron was sick, my life was perfect. I didn't know it at the time, and had low-grade depression and anxiety my entire perfect life, but it was perfect. My family was healthy. My parents loved one another. I grew up comfortably despite the fact that I looked like a brontosaurus/a more awkward Macauley Culkin for 30% of my life. 

Things like cancer and death and disaster were always things that happened to other people, until they happened to us. 

I did not know, when I was laying with Aaron to soak up every bit of heat from his dead body, that things would be okay. He always said they would be, we wrote it on his prayer card, it was our family motto. But right then, and for many months after, it felt like a foolish thing to say. 

Things are going to be okay, I suppose. But they will never be the same, and neither will I. Life's events are supposed to change you. You are not in control. Hard things happen to everybody, and we do not get to choose the hard thing we are dealt. 

Our Still Kickin workouts are always humbling. I always hated when people said that, because what does it even mean, it sounds like something dumb famous people say when they want to sound folksy. But it reminds me of Aaron's suffering, and Aaron's death, and how, when we were in total freefall, strangers showed up to catch us.

Aaron was beautifully, vibrantly alive.

Until his body stopped cooperating, he played soccer, he ran, he appreciated his health in whatever state it was. And when he couldn't run anymore, I did it for him. He taught me how to love my body. Not for what it looks like (although damnnnnnn you do enough Barre and you're liable to start loving your butt), but for the absolute privilege of being alive and healthy. A few days before he died, our friend Jana and her gym, The Firm, organized a donation-based cycle class. And the room was filled with friends and strangers who showed up for us, who chose to do something hard, to spend their time and energy and money on us. 

I never forgot that feeling, and I get to re-live it every month, when we do the same thing for our Still Kickin Heroes.

Today's class was our first in LA. A sold-out session at the very cool and very challenging YAS Silverlake, taught by a dear friend who exudes love and energy. We rode and yoga'd for a little girl who celebrated her first birthday with a round of chemo, and the room was filled with strangers who showed up for her like other people showed up for us. 

Tracy tossed out that opening quote like it was nothing, and it has stuck inside my brain because 17 months ago, I was so unsure. I wasn't dreaming about writing a book, or starting a non-profit. I couldn't have imagined that a year and a half later, I'd be sitting on a friend's couch in LA, writing a blog post with my sweat still dried to my forehead.

But somewhere along the way, I thought I could. And I was right.

 

 

 

 

Help a human out: October 2015

okay, let's do this.

Kate is a 37 year old mom to two--three and six-year old girls. After experiencing severe back pain for some time, recently Kate was diagnosed with metastatic cancer in her spine, hip, and pelvis; the cancer has damaged the spine to the point that her back is broken. So, that's TERRIBLE AND THIS SHOULDN'T HAPPEN TO NICE PEOPLE! And cancer is expensive! And like, money is just a construct people shouldn't worry about that while they get better!

 

Having MS is awful. Just, awful. And finding out you have it when you're young and uninsured and having it wreak havoc on your entire life? That's REALLY NOT ALRIGHT. Jonathan need some help, and he seems like a real decent human. 

 

 

Helping humans and managing money (I only like one of these things)

Still Kickin is so young. It's like, not even a toddler yet. It's just a little itty bitty baby at two months old. But it's done so much more than I did when I was two months old. Like, it's supported two awesome families who were going through some really hard things. It's gotten over 100 people to come to donation-based workouts. It's a company, which is cool because how many babies do you know that are companies? Like, very few. Very few.

So, I feel good about it. And for the most part so does my accountant but at some point (immediately) she was like, ummmmmmmmm you maybe need to have a more formal way of giving away money. And I was like, oh, of course, I'll get a tuxedo. And she said, yes, AND you should have perhaps a non-profit or maybe a managed fund.

I looked into non-profits and wow, guys. They are a lot of work and I recently slept in my sweatshirt and then wore it to work the next day. I have enough work to do. I just want to give people money, can somebody make that easy?

The answer is, YES!

It turns out maybe establishing a non-profit won't be *so* hard. And maybe it will be worth the work.

We'll find out, because that's what we're applying for right now.

It means that any donation you make to us will be tax-exempt. It means that if you work for a big company in town, maybe something that rhyme with Blarget or Bleneral Blills or Blargill, they can give us money, too! We'll take that money, we'll put it in a swimming pool, and then let people who need some money just take a scoop and bring it home.

My lawyer and accountant have advised me to delete that last sentence.

Anyway, there we are! We started as a shirt, we became a company, and now we'll be a non-profit. There will always be more humans to help, and we'll be there to help them. To build a more supportive and encouraging world, one tee shirt, one workout, one human at a time.

PS-- this is going to be so much work! If you want to help, email hello@stillkickin.co

 

Help a Human Out: August 2015

Sometimes, we just need a little help, y'know?

Here are some folks who crossed our paths (IRL or Internet-wise), who could use a positive thought, a prayer, or a few extra bucks. Generally, you can't go wrong just sending out some extra love for other humans.

Beth's cancer diagnosis and treatment interrupted her plans to bear a child, permanently. 

Joe's headaches weren't just headaches. They were a f*cking brain tumor. Had about enough of those in the world by now, right? Is that enough, world? 

Steve is a beloved high school teacher at Henry Sibley High School in Minnesota (seriously, so many of you told us about him, he seems awesome). First his wife has breast cancer and now he has ALS because the f*ck, world? 

Want to see someone you love on this list? Give us a shout on Twitter or Facebook, or apply to be a Still Kickin Hero.

Still Kickin Hero Recap: August 2015

August 2015 was our first official month as like, a thing. A real thing. And, we did real things. 

Thank you! With your purchases, participation in events and general good vibes, we were able to provide Scott's family with over $2,000 to pay for whatever they might need.

---

Read Scott's Story.

Meet Scott. A husband. A dad of 4. A crossfit junkie. A man with a brain tumor.

Scott was another young guy, a father of four and with the same brand of brain tumor Aaron had. He wore his Still Kickin shirt to every appointment (even when it smelled, apologies to his wife), he was a bad ass Crossfit guy AND coordinated a fundraiser for the American Brain Tumor Association via his awesome site.

Scott died on August 4, 2015.

Scott was the definition of Still Kickin, and your shirt purchase in July will go directly to him, his four lovely children and his strong, beautiful wife. We don't all have brain tumors (phew) but we all have something to overcome, and a reason to keep going.

You can still read Scott's blog for more information or follow him on Twitter or Instagram.

If you can relate to this story, we are sorry; but we'd also like to help. Please reach out to us to be considered for one of our Still Kickin beneficiaries.

Check out others we've helped on our Still Kickin blog.