My husband and I created Virtual Run World in the fall of 2013 to motivate others with our unique, detailed art. In turn, making a difference in the lives of others motivates us to provide high quality products to encourage and inspire our customers.
We have been blessed to gift some of our products to wonderful families that we meet and talk with on our trips to Disney. We love being able to spread magic and create memorable moments. We were lucky enough to participate in runDisney’s Wine and Dine Lumeire’s Challenge at Walt Disney World in November 2016 while we were celebrating our 25th Wedding Anniversary. Besides running the Half Marathon and 10k for the challenge, we also added the 5k to get all the Disney magic we could. While at Disney World we met with Ariel and asked her to sign our Magical Mermaid medal. After she signed two of our medals, we were fortunate enough to meet a beautiful little girl named Elli and her friend while at Magic Kingdom. We were touched by her inspirational story so we presented both Elli and her friend with the autographed Magical Mermaid Medals. Elli, being a fan of Ariel, was so gracious and appreciative. A gleam filled her eyes as she looked at all the glitter on her Magical Mermaid Medal. We wish the best for Elli and other children battling childhood cancers and we were happy to provide a moment of encouragement to her and her friend. We love spreading magic and hope to others.
Three days after arriving home from Disney World, my husband Mike suffered a massive stroke. He underwent a craniotomy at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle to remove a blood clot which affected his language and speech center.
Mike’s right side was affected and we were originally told he was paralyzed, but we kept hoping and praying. Slowly Mike regained some movement on his right side and is learning to walk again. He has a full schedule of multiple therapy appointments each week and difficulty in communicating due to Aphasia and Apraxia. Mike requires assistance in many of his daily living tasks, so I provide 24/7 caregiving for him since he came home at the end of December 2016. Being his spouse and learning to balance caregiving for him, I struggle with having patience and understanding, while continuing to operate my online business and all of our personal affairs. Mike was my partner in making decisions and now I am forced to do all of it on my own. I hope and pray that someday he will be involved with all those aspects again. I tell him how much I miss him, even though he is right here. It is hard to explain, but his brain injury greatly limits his interaction and communication which creates daily struggles. But Mike has overcome many obstacles, including having a feeding tube and now eats and swallows great; using a hoyer lift to get from one location to another in the house, and now uses a cane. He is working hard on his stroke recovery to learn how to walk and talk again. He has right side weakness which requires stretching and hand exercises. We hope and pray he will regain function in his right arm in the future. Until then, Mike uses his left hand to write and draw amazingly well. He continues to aspire to create woodcarvings, sculpture and hopefully, he will someday drive a car and run again too. We thank you for your support and prayers as he continues his stroke recovery. Mike has a Go Fund Me page to help with his medical and therapy costs, https://www.gofundme.com/mikeakinsfund
We all have a special story behind who we are and where our dreams may take us. Everyone needs motivation and here at Virtual Run World, it is crucial to our creativity and drive. We are a husband and wife who love art, Disney, running and motivating others. We are blessed to work as a team and want to spread joy and encouragement wherever we go. We strive to make the world a better place and practice this in our lives and business philosophy. Recently on vacation, we had a 24 hour flight delay. Traveling and flying with a disabled husband is already a challenge, so in having a long delay, we tried to stay positive. We want to thank the gracious crew from Alaska Airlines who made the best of a negative situation. One special passenger, a wonderful young man, took the time to write us a personalized note that touched our hearts. Here is his note to us:
“Mr. and Mrs. Akins,
I would like to thank you for showing me what true love and service towards another person looks like. In observing both of you in the last 12 hours, I have seen you both serve one another through love, joy, laughter, and understanding. I strive to have this same commitment towards my spouse one day and share that love in my family all my life. You both radiate so much joy and both of your smiles have an effect on everyone. You inspire me to be a better man and continue serving others with the utmost love and respect. I wish you both the very best and thank you for being you. Sincerely, Patrick Quinn”
We are so thankful that we did something that made a difference in his life. This is exactly what we hope to do and while we would love to travel and/or be at Disney every day meeting wonderful new people, but the reality is that we can only travel occasionally.
Everyone struggles, but some more than others. Whether you or someone you know has daily struggles, occasional struggles, or tragedy, we can all motivate and support them through their difficult time.