Running For Their Lives

Running For Their Lives


My name is Jose Zambrano aka Fireman Joe.
I run marathons in my gear for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I always wanted to help people and I
wanted to give back to the community. I decided to become a firefighter back in
2004. I work for the El Segundo Fire Department. They’ve always helped me with my training. Without gear it takes me about three and a half hours to
run a marathon. Running with gear you increase about two to two and a half hours. The gear weighs about forty five pounds. You have the leather helmet that
I use with the logo. Then we have the air tank. I have a modified gear which is the jacket and the pants. And then I use my tennis shoes. I don’t use regular
boots. For the first race running in gear it took me seven and a half hours. It was for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to honor those guys who died in the line of duty. And it was very painful. I didn’t really prepare
myself for it. When you usually run in regular shorts and a shirt you burn calories. But when you have all this gear on you what do you think happens? I mean you’re actually increasing that twice. Sometimes I feel like I am on mile
18 or mile 20 – that’s when you hit that wall. That’s when you really have to dig in. I came across someone who had a pen and it was writing stuff and I wrote it in my
jacket and I said never give up. Any time I feel like slowing down I just
look out on my arm and it says never give up. And I just keep looking. Never give up.
Never give up. Every race is something different. So I
came across St. Jude in 2015. A friend’s daughter – she died. So this means a lot to me. Every September they have a memorial
run in memory of Anissa. Right before she passed away she only wanted
to help children. She was actually my inspiration to start running for St.
Jude. They didn’t get a bill for any treatment. They didn’t get a bill for lodging. They didn’t get a bill for anything. That really struck me in knowing that this
is such a wonderful Hospital. They do that for these children. I spoke with the
representative. And I was telling her that I wanted to help. And I wanted to be able to run in my firefighting gear. Basically her remark was – are you serious, are you sure you want to do this? But of course – you know I have one goal
to not only honor the children but also to raise awareness for those kids who
are fighting such a horrible disease. This is the St. Jude cheer stop at Mile
11 for the Los Angeles Marathon. When a family comes to St. Jude, they don’t pay
for treatment, travel, housing or food. So all that they have to worry about is
helping their child live. When people see Fireman Joe, they are so inspired to see him running out there in his full uniform, his gear. And he has that St. Jude logo right on his helmet. Fireman Joe – we appreciate you and thank you so much
for running for the kids. That’s the thing that goes through my mind. I think
about the children at St. Jude. That’s what’s keeping me going. This is your time to turn your attention to California’s finest. Completing the 26.2 marathon in his full fire gear. It’s firefighter – Jose Zambrano! So every time I cross the finish line it just puts a smile on my face. I didn’t just do it for myself I did it for the kids of St. Jude. I think you don’t know you have done
something wonderful until you do something for somebody else. That’s what I think human kindness is for me.

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