Run For Asia

Run For Asia is over 500 km long and took Darek a week – he ran from his hometown Łapy to Poznań where Asia lives. She’s the first beneficiary of Zwycięzca Foundation. For the whole week Darek was accompanied by Mikołaj, to whom we’re going to give the floor now…

I remember that unusually warm Sunday in January as if it were yesterday. It was a day when one of the most beautiful adventures of my life came to an end – an adventure full of passion, friendship, sacrifice and a good, honest heart.

The unarguable foreground hero was obviously Darek himself. With the superhuman effort he supported Asia, a girl in need, who was fighting muscular dystrophy and became Darek’s Foundation’s beneficiary. All the other runners who joined Darek also deserve to be called heroes. It doesn’t matter if they accompanied him for a couple hundred meters or kilometres, they all contributed to a great victory. It was thanks to them that Darek would find strength within himself to keep on running when his legs couldn’t walk anymore. It was thanks to them that Darek’s initiative became a common initiative of hundreds, maybe thousands of people. It was thanks to them that his road from Łapy to Poznań was so bustling and effective. And finally it was thanks to them that the Foundation’s money-box was being filled so eagerly that it was eventually full and at the finish line contained enough money to pay not for a part, but for the whole stem cell transplant for Asia.

But this short story won’t be about Darek or his fellow runners, it won’t even be about running, but about incredible people who’d take us under their roofs and make us feel at home at each of the eight sleeping stops on the route of the Run For Asia. I’m writing “us”, because I had the honour and the pleasure of accompanying Darek for the whole 530 km of this unforgettable adventure.

“Darek, where are we going to sleep?”

“We’ll see, worst case scenario we’ll just ask for an overnight stay at some school and if not, we’ll just sleep in the car.”

Those were our entire arrangements regarding the logistics. Totally professional, right? Luckily just before the start we were saved by the irreplaceable Anna from the Foundation – she called a few places, sent some messages on Facebook and in less than two days we had a place to stay at every point on the route. We could set off!

If there was anything that was bothering me from the start, it was how it’ll be to sleep at a different place, at different people’s homes every day. I was wondering if there were going to be any problems with a shower for Darek, with washing the running outfit or using the kitchen. My doubts disappeared by the end of the first day though, and each following stage just reassured me that it’s no coincidence that we meet only kind people on our way. And if I wasn’t sure I was a believer, everything that happened during the Run For Asia gave me the absolute confidence – yes, I believe in people!

Sławek from Zaręby Kościelne, Michał and his parents-in-law from Tłuszcz, Magda from Warsaw, Kasia and Jerzy from Strzyboga, Michał and his family from Łódź, Piątkowscy family from Uniejów, Dominik and Maria from Konin, Ilona and Maciej Łosińscy from Września – all these people particularly contributed to the success of the Run For Asia. If it wasn’t for them, for their hospitality, honesty and good hearts, I’m not sure how it all would end up. They were like our guardian spirits, they welcomed us, strangers, like we were their best friends. There was always a warm dinner and a hot bath waiting for us, together with the same reappearing question – “do you need anything else?”. None of these people let Darek press on without breakfast, some of them provided him with tomato soup in a thermos so he’d “have something warm in case of a crisis”. It was the famous Polish hospitality at its best. Enough said that throughout the entire route neither of us even touched our towels – the good people provided us with everything. And if that wasn’t enough, they all would throw some money into the Foundation money-box when we were leaving. I still can’t believe in all that support and kindness they showed us. Wonderful people!

The run was over, Asia was done with the transplant, Darek managed to get a few more medals, but the memories are still fresh and they’re the most beautiful ones I could wish for anybody, memories full of people you simply can’t forget…

The text was written by Mikołaj Kowalski-Barysznikow,