Thursday, February 6, 2014

Pull Ups For Zoe Raises $10,000, Must See Pics

Part of an ActivPrayer requires you to SHARE your inspired action, with hopes of then inspiring others to take action too. Pull Ups For Zoe 2.0 was a huge success on Friday. We hit our goal of $10,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Once again, this community rises up and answers the call.  They never cease to amaze me.  In this article I will share with you just a touch of the magic that unfolded.

A jam-packed gym. Team Pull-Up competition. Raffles, music, and more.  Spirits were lifted and the emails and Facebook messages are flooding in about the impact people felt.

Nine hours earlier, a once shy girl walked into the gym.  She hangs out for a little bit watching the pull-ups. Not too long later she heads to the turf to play. During a few hundred pull-ups I catch a glimpse of Zoe playing games of catch with DJack. A dodge ball toss around the back, off the wall, and catch in mid-air, he shows.  I’m glad I caught this.  It reminded me what this day was all about.

Earlier, it almost became about me. Bicep tendinitis and an aggravated bicep injury from last year’s attempt tried to defeat me before I even walked through the doors. It was game day though. I had to show up and at least see what would happen. After the first 5 reps I was done. I knew it wasn’t a good day to do pull-ups. I actually told my brother that I wanted to quit. My pride got in the way. Anxiety kicked up. This wasn’t the plan. So I processed, prayed, and reflected through the first few hundred reps. It took me some time to let go and remind myself---“You’re not in control of the plan Theo. You’re just a part of it. Do your best, with what you’ve been given, on this given day, and forget the rest. This isn’t about you.” I looked out to the turf and saw Zoe playing again.

From that moment forward every rep became intentionally completed for the cause. No more worry about a number. I just wanted to dedicate as many reps as I could to Zoe, CF, and all the kids facing this disease. While 1,000 during training is typically easy, these 1400 pull-ups would be the hardest workout I ever completed. But without a doubt, they were the most fulfilling.

Thank you to everyone for making this day so meaningful.
Thank you to Porter---7 years old with Cystic Fibrosis. For coming out and letting me dedicate pull-ups to you.
Thank You to Dieken---32 years old with Cystic Fibrosis. He came with intentions of dedicating 50 pull-ups to all CF kids, to remind them to never stop fighting. He ended up doing 200 instead.

Thank you to my wife----my backbone.  They say behind every strong man is an even stronger woman. I have a different saying, "behind every descent man, is the best woman." Because that's all I am; and that's everything she is. You may see me in the forefront a lot. But just know that nothing gets spurred into action if it weren't for her.

Thank you to Matt Akers---freshman. For coming out and doing pull-ups with me and raising pledges for the cause. He did 560 of them by the way.

Thank you to Big Mike for coming out and sharing your spirit with us. 100 pull-ups for you buddy, and 10,000 reasons for why you deserve it!

Thank you to my team:

My big brother. He never leaves my side. End of story.

David Jack.  The fact that you take time out of your busy schedule to fly in from AZ, to be in your words, "of service to me," leaves me speechless.

Dan Bednar.  Always there no matter what. You don't even think twice. Awesome job running the team pull-up competition man.

Susie Akers.  Another one who just doesn't even hesitate. She made me green smoothies all day, she counted reps, she stayed again until the end.

Mo Loesh, Emily Quayle, Hallie Good (PR/Marketing), Ally Pesta, and Nanci Ickes for stepping up to the plate and really turning this day into a very special event.  Way more I need to say about you guys.

Dave Anthony and Chris Brown who bring all the IT to the mix among the most important, prayers and support.


Thank you to every single person that donated, spread the word, and/or came out to support the cause.


To the bar.  For making me a better person.

To Zoe---for writing this.

A banner filled with encouraging words from others hangs on the wall.  It's three days later before I even see it. I walk into the gym, still embracing what went down on Friday. A gripping song playing in the background. This message from Zoe pops out first. I can't read any others. The emotions catch me off guard.

I want to encourage anyone reading this blog to NEVER HOLD BACK. Never doubt your influence. Never doubt that your idea isn't good. Never doubt that your passion isn't needed.

Who am I?  A nobody Italian guy from Youngstown, Oh that has never accomplished anything big. I have no major accolades hanging on the wall. I have no means. I have no right.

I do have passion and I do have purpose. I encourage you to find and use yours. If I could do it; anyone can. What a great disservice you're doing to the world, if you don't.

I have become great at failing at my attempt to break a record, but victorious with AT LEAST TRYING. I will continue to go out on a limb for Zoe and all kids with Cystic Fibrosis.  Because I'm learning first-hand.....that's where the fruit is.

Now get out there and pull-up FOR and WITH OTHERS today. It's an absolute game-changer.

Life is not about you.

Coach Theo

Some emails from families:

"Dear Coach Theo,
I would love to thank you from my whole heart. My nephew also has cystic fibrosis and will need a liver and double lung transplant in the near future.
I pray when we need angels to help raise the money for his transplants we get a lot like you. The insurance will only pay for one so we need to raise 444 thousand.
So thank you and your gym for helping young people to get better, it means a lot."

GOD Bless You

"Paul and Amber, 

I stopped by your gym this morning to drop off a donation in support of Paul, your crew, Zoe and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. I shared with you that my grandson, Cole, has CF, and that I, along with my family so appreciate your efforts! You responded with a sincere a desire to dedicate some "pull-up" time to Cole. You touched my heart. You are shining brightly with the light of Christ. When you get a chance, please check out Cole's support group, Cole's Cadre, on Facebook ( My daughter, Cole's mother, is calling for support and prayers for you as you offer your God-given gifts and talents in a creative, extreme way in service to God and to help CFF beat CF. Thank you, Paul and Amber! May God strengthen and protect you that you may meet your goals, and bless you with great joy in doing so. Please let Zoe know that she is in our daily prayers along with Cole and all who have CF." 

Our sincere thanks, Susan and Cole's Cadre

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