As someone who struggles with asking for help, setting a $10,000 fundraising goal for clean water for 200 individuals is mentally and emotionally stretching for me.

This past week I have been so discouraged. With only 59 days till marathon Sunday  and the mountain of $6800 dollars left to raise, my fundraising goal slowly grew from feeling intimidating, to overwhelming, to almost impossible. All in the matter of a few days.

I started telling myself it wouldn’t happen. I started believing it couldn’t happen.

Then I got a letter.

I have been sponsoring Noria since she was 2 years old. I saw her precious face in a sponsorship pamphlet and could not get her beautiful, soulful eyes off my mind. Over the years we have exchanged letters (a community worker transcribes her words as she is still learning to write) photos, and in Noria’s case–artwork. Typically she draws her favorite toy, various sizes of patterned balls.

In yesterday’s letter package I received a photo of Noria with a family member proudly showing off the fertilizer and maize they bought with some of my Christmas gift donation. Noria also showed off her developing artistic ability with three pictures using her favorite new pencils. A house and tree, a very realistic bird and a fun patterned ball. My highly inartistic self was impressed!  Look out world! Noria the Artist is coming for you.

After proudly admiring her artistic work, I started reading her letter.

In my last letter I had elaborated a bit more on my life here in Chicago–my school, my friends, my roommates etc. Tears came to my eyes as I read the words, “You are my role model, I am trying to put in all my effort at school so that I can achieve as you are already doing.”

I was touched.

It is a privilege and joy to watch this beautiful girl develop into a HEALTHY, EDUCATED, AMBITIOUS individual. Her kindness and determination inspire me.

Realizing the impact my small monthly donation has on her life and FUTURE fills me with the desire to provide EVERY child with the same opportunities.

Opportunities like education. Opportunities to dream for and achieve goals. Opportunities to draw birds and balls with pencils.

These opportunities cannot exist when basic needs go unmet.



Without these basic necessities, children are unable to reach for the stars, hope for a future, establish a better life for themselves.

In most areas of the world, 50% of children die before the age of 5 due to lack of clean water. In most areas, no one is drawing birds and balls.

So I laced up my shoes this morning and ran 9.28 miles to the beach. Because we have the opportunity to TANGIBLY improve the quality of life these children face.

Rereading Noria’s letter and sitting on the beach changed my perspective.

I am no longer discouraged. I am motivated. I am determined.

Because no child should go without clean water.

135 individuals. $6800.

26.2 miles in 59 days.

Go to to learn more about the impact of clean water. Search “Leah Nichols” in the fundraiser search box to donate today.





  • Moving. Is not fun. The process began last week with packing before finally climaxing this past Monday. Beginning at 4:58am and ending at 11pm, I fell onto a sheetless bed after a hectic day consisting of a training run, clinical’s, and three U-haul trips. Juggling the responsibilities of being an adult can be stressful at times. This is one such time. As I attempted to plan ahead last week I grew overwhelmed. When was I going to have time to unpack? When would I have time to train? Thinking about waking up for 6am patient slots was stressful for me in itself.
  • You want to know something? I (we rather) did it. I survived. Time arrived when I least expected it and priorities were rearranged accordingly. As my heartbeat slowly calmed down Tuesday evening, a revelation came to mind. God WILL provide. To be honest, I’ve had this revelation several times but I always seemed to forget it when life becomes hectic. As I walked to my clinical Wednesday morning with the Sunrise flowing through the windows, I had an incredible urge to breathe deeply, slowly. God had come through. We were able to move everything in on Monday and I gained a new friend through the process. My room was still filled with unpacked boxes, but little by little I have been able to begin the overwhelming process of moving in. Fitting in training has been tough, but I’ve been able to keep up. Sleeping is short and interrupted, but I have energy throughout the day. And four individuals received clean water so far this week. I am blessed. I am provided for. I am so grateful my Father above has what sometimes appears to be a topsy-turvy world in His hands. So I can breathe. Are you feeling stressed? Discouraged? Take a minute and just exhale. It’s going to be ok. This season is just a season and will end. Don’t forget God is there, ready to hold your hand