“I was driving down Route 128 and had the epiphany: I want to have a yogathon at Gillette Stadium and I want to help Boston Children’s Hospital. I shared the idea with my family and a few close friends who thought it was awesome. But, some people thought I was crazy: “What about your local yoga studio? Gillette Stadium?!” And I confidently and matter-of-factly said, “Nope, I want to bring 1,000 people together; I wanna raise a million dollars for the hospital; I want go for it.” So, I started networking and was able to start a committee and have Gillette Stadium donate the field house. Just like that, we were off and running in 2010 with our first Yoga Reaches Out for Boston Children’s Hospital. We brought together about 400 people on that first year. This past April, we had our 8th event and my dream finally came true: we broke the 1,000 person mark!
I was driven to create this day and fundraising event for Boston Children’s Hospital because of my and my husband’s experience at the hospital with our first child and only son, Will (who is actually now 18 years old, which is really crazy!). He was born ten weeks premature at 3lbs. and was placed in the NICU on every tube possible for seven and a half weeks.
When you have your child and go through something like that, and then you get to leave the hospital, bringing home a healthy baby, all you want to do is give back.
We have so much gratitude for everyone that was a part of Will’s journey.
After Will and my daughter Emma, who is now 16, were born, I started practicing yoga. After a year of practicing, I knew that yoga was not just what I did, but who I was. To me, I come to my mat so I can take care of myself so that I’m able to then take care of others.
Yoga Reaches Out comes full circle because now we fund 100 percent of the Wellness Center at Boston Children’s Hospital and now also support the Every Child Fund.
We have a room offering free yoga classes, reiki treatment, meditation and massage for the caretaker of the patients at the hospital. If I had those services when I was there with Will for seven and half weeks, I can’t even imagine what it would’ve been to me. If I could have taken myself away from that worry, that stress for even ten minutes and go to a space and meditate and do some deep breathing—that would have really helped.
Now, our community is providing all this for moms and dads, aunts and uncles, and soon to be employees and the patients. We’re growing the program and it’s really great that what yoga means to me, Yoga Reaches Out is funding 100 percent of.
Every year, our event, Yoga Reaches Out, brings more love into one place than you can ever imagine. It’s really hard to put it into words. I’ve heard: “It’s Christmas for yogis,” “The fieldhouse levitates.” It’s so much love in the same place.
The reason that Yoga Reaches Out has worked is because the yoga community completely embraced this idea; they—the yoga community—are the ones who’ve made it such a success and who’ve realized, “Wait a minute, you’re going to create something that we love to do and we get to give back at the same time? Sign me up! I’m so excited! How can I help?” That’s what it’s been like and it’s so beautiful to watch how it has flourished over these nine years. I’m just so grateful for everyone who’s been a part of it and everyone who is a donor and a sponsor. It’s been beyond fantastic.
The thing that stands out the most to me about the journey is the community and how everyone is filled with such joy from giving back. I believe THAT is solely why we’re here: to help others. Yoga Reaches Out is a celebration of doing that.
I really love the faces of people on the day and knowing they’re on their mat and how hard they’ve worked. They’ve fundraised and they come on the day and they realize, “Oh my gosh, I’m really making a difference. We’ve raised almost $2 million for Boston Children’s Hospital and I am a part of that.” [
I wanted so badly to take Yoga Reaches Out to the next level, but I knew I couldn’t do it by myself. I believe strongly that everyone has a purpose.
Find what you are passionate about and then create something that will help make this world a better place, educate it, nurture it, love it and THEN, pass it on.
You pass it on to give it new growth, new wings, and that’s what I presented to Boston Children’s Hospital. They were very excited with this idea, we merged into Boston Children’s. Now it’s an official signature event for them as of 2018! There was so much support and the incredible network of people at the hospital were able to fulfill my vision: of helping more people, bringing more of us together, raising more money and continuing to spread the love—it’s all been this amazing ripple effect.
The way I look at this merge, is like sending your child to college,which I’ll actually be doing in the next year. This has been my baby for seven years—my baby.. And, nobody has loved it more than me. To hand it over, yes, to loving gentle hands for sure, is still difficult. I just kept feeling, “this is different,” yet different can be good. It’s been a transition emotionally, but as we got closer to the event in 2018 it felt really right. I’m happy to say and feel that it’s 100 percent the right thing for the hospital, the right thing for me and the right thing for all those that we are going to help. We are going to bring more people together, we’re going to help more children.
I think as an entrepreneur, it’s great to say, “Somebody else can organize and nurture what I’ve created, and put some new angles, some new people into it for its growth.”[
I truly believe that every person has a purpose; every person is here for a reason. My advice is to discover what that purpose is, learn it, love it, and then use it to help make this world a better place. It could be to be the best mom because there’s nothing more important than taking care of your inner unit. It could be to learn music for the first time, to be an artist and share your work—anything. But love something, really love it. Be passionate about it and figure out a way that you can use that to help others. Every person on this earth has a passion, has a purpose, has something that they can make really good. Practice it and practice it, and then share it to help others.
If I had fear, then Yoga Reaches Out would not have been. I had to put fear aside. You learn from your mistakes and they are super important to finding your way. Imagine tree pose in yoga: Sometimes you sway, sometimes you slip and sometimes you grow roots into the earth and grow your branches. I always encourage people to believe in themselves. When fear knocks at your door, acknowledge it but know that it is part of the process and stay focused on your purpose.” – Sarah Gardner
Every year Yoga Reaches Out harnesses the incredible power of the yoga community to enhance the lives of patients and families. Join more than 1,000 yogis in raising funds for Boston Children’s Hospital. Together, we’ll gather at Gillette Stadium’s Empower Field House on Sunday, April 28 for a day filled with inspiring presenters, friends and the power of seva. To learn more visit www.yogareachesout.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out our other inspiring stories of everyday yoga practitioners and please, #ShareToEmpowerALL ! We strive to empower others to get vulnerable, and be inspired to start a yoga practice of their own to bring in hope & possibility.