Monday, June 23, 2014

Triathalon Dad to Raise Money to Support Adoptions

Written by Bethany Christian Services on Mon, 06/16/2014    
Bob Schmid is an adoptive father of two children. He and his wife, Sally, adopted their son from China in 2008 when he was 3, and they adopted their daughter from Ethiopia in 2012 when she was 7. Both children had special placement needs.

“These kids flipped my world upside down and have been a wonderful blessing since they entered our family,” Bob said. “God has given me a huge heart for orphans across the globe.” This passion led Bob and Sally to start Open Hearts for Orphans in 2009, designed to grant funds to prospective adoptive families for whom adoption, travel, and medical expenses were an obstacle. Then in 2012, they joined forces with Bethany Christian Services’ Chicago branch, when Bob also joined their board. One of his goals was to help establish a local Caring Connection fund, designated to help families who want to adopt children with special needs. Since 2001, the fund in Bethany’s main branch in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has served more than 1,300 children with special needs.

The Chicago Caring Connection fund was established, and in 2013 a generous donor offered to make a full match if the Chicago-area Caring Connection could raise $30,000. They did, and they were able to assist two families with their adoption expenses and helped several other families with costs associated with post adoption counseling. But Bob knows more can be done, and he uses his athletic abilities to that end.

“I work full-time in BP's oil trading unit,” Bob said. “But in my spare time I really enjoy being active outdoors, whether hiking and camping with my family, or biking and running. I’m not a terribly competitive person, but I decided to use my favorite pastime activities for a cause that I am super passionate about—helping kids find loving families. Therefore, in 2013, I took up swimming as well to complete a sprint triathlon to raise money for Bethany Christian Services.”

Last year Bob participated in the Naperville Area Sprint Triathlon, which kicked-off the 2013 fundraising efforts for Bethany’s Chicago Caring Connection fund and raised over $6,000. Contributions totaling about $2,000 were matched dollar for dollar by Bob and Sally.  BP matched their contribution with another $2,000. This year, he’s decided to take it a step further and raise money by completing an Olympic-distance triathlon, which is a 1.5 kilometer swim, 40 kilometer bike ride, and 6.2 mile run (10k).

On Sunday, July 13, Bob will participate with about 500 others in the Lake Zurich Area Triathlon in Illinois—one of the area's top Olympic-distance events. The event consists of a 1.5 kilometer swim in Lake Zurich, a rolling 40 kilometer bike course, and a two–loop, 6 kilometer run around Lake Zurich. And in addition to using his athletic abilities to raise awareness and Caring Connection funds, he and Sally are contributing personal resources. This year they are matching, dollar-for-dollar, the first $2,500 in contributions received from this fundraiser.

“I could not have a greater respect for Bethany, especially for its team in the Chicago branch. Since joining the board, I have been truly humbled by the impact the Chicago branch has had on children and families, as well as the tireless efforts of the staff,” Bob shared.

If you would like to support Bob and his efforts to raise Caring Connection funds, go to his fundraising page. Those already training for this triathlon can also join Bob in efforts to raise funds to assist adoptive families in the greater Chicago area.

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