Nick May | Holiday Streaker Since 2015
Holiday Streaking put me on a path to a fulfilled, healthy, and happy lifestyle. My first “Streak” started November 26th, 2015. Before I talk about that, I will give you a little background. At that time I was 36 years old, and definitely feeling out of shape. I was easily tired, and starting to breath heavier than I normally when just walking upstairs. Most of my life I was involved with sports and spent plenty of time outside. This helped me keep active, and I loved it! After my wife and I had our 3 kids, my activities and lifestyle completely changed. I felt that I didn’t have time for any extra activity, and I was content sitting around. A few months before I knew the “Streak” even existed, I had some blood work drawn to qualify for life insurance. It didn’t come back the best, as some of the important metrics were becoming a borderline problem. I chalked that up to becoming old and I was ok with it because I still qualified for life insurance, albeit paying a little more each month than if my metrics were better.
A month before Thanksgiving 2015, my wife asked if I wanted to join this Holiday Streakers group to help benefit her good friend, Angie Mann. I was fascinated with her story and thought that I would do what I could to help her family out. The rules were simple. Make time to do 1+ miles of running/walking or 15 minutes of intentional activity every single day from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. I had a new smartwatch at the time that kept telling me to move more, so I thought I would try out some of its features as well. The day that I started I weighed 216 pounds, and I completed a 1.62-mile outdoor run. (Thanks smart watch tracking graphs!) It wasn’t fast by any means, but it was a start.
As the “Streak” went on, my daily mileage started to increase. I was motivated by seeing others post their activity, and getting updates from the recipients throughout the challenge. By January 1st, 2016 I had eclipsed the 100-mile mark and had dropped 15 lbs over those 37 days!! I was having a blast, but at the same time, I was a little worried that I would go back to my normal ways. The part that got me was reading the pure emotions from the recipients, and how thankful they were for all of us doing this “Streak” in their honor. The Streak may have been over, but they had to keep fighting every day going forward. This helped keep me motivated to do the same. I ended up not missing a day of activity for 259 straight days! (Again, thanks to smartwatch tracker graph!) Now it is July 2017. My weight is down, my health is better, my energy seems endless, and I’m happy. I can’t wait to Streak again in 2017. This will be year number 3!! This is a great activity for hardcore trainers, or a dad/mom just trying to get off of the couch and have more energy.
Jim Mann | Recipient 2015 (Angie Mann)
My name is Jim Mann and I wanted to tell you about our family’s experiences with cancer and the Holiday Streakers. My wife, Angie, and I had been together for 25+ years and are fortunate to have two amazing children, Madison (16) and Kiersten (13). On February 2015 the path of our lives was dramatically changed when Angie was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer called Neuroendocrine Carcinoma. We were told that it had metastasized to her liver and that she had innumerable tumors there. At this point, there were more questions than answers and we were not really sure what the outlook was, as most answers were pretty generic and evasive, but we could also see in the doctors and nurses eyes that this was very serious. A follow-up visit to the Mayo Clinic brought more clarity to us and the realization that we had a big fight in front of us. At Mayo, they essentially told us that there was no cure, no option for surgery, and the only option was to do chemotherapy to extend her quality of life as long as possible. You can imagine that was an incredibly emotional and difficult time for us. After taking a few days to regroup and figure out what we were facing we got our energy and attitude focused on fighting this as long as we could and living each day at the moment. Cancer was not going to beat our family.
In many respects fighting cancer is a very lonely battle. There were many nights where Angie and I just sat for hours and talked about what was going on and what the future was going to be. I can tell you that one of the most important things in this struggle that made it much less lonely as time went on was the amazing support we received. It was humbling, overwhelming, and incredible to have all of this love and kindness surrounding us. We were fortunate to have support from our extended family, the Ankeny Schools (especially her incredible Northwest Elementary family), the Ankeny Christian Church, from our awesome neighbors, from great friends (old & new), from my work, from Kiersten’s Girl Scout Troop, from the Ankeny community, and from organizations such as the Holiday Streakers!!
I am still a bit in awe of how the members of the Holiday Streakers supported our family not just once – but twice! I still remember coming home in early November 2015 and Angie telling me about our family being one the recipients of the Holiday Streakers challenge and how honored she was by that. Our family was truly amazed at the spirit of the generosity and as parents, we were so grateful for the example that it set for our children. We used this money in 2 ways – the first was to pay off some of our medical expenses and the second was a donation to help fund our church’s youth mission trip. Unfortunately, in March 2017 Angie’s health declined and she entered hospice care and then passed away on March 16. When Angie went into hospice care the Holiday Streakers supported our family a second time with a special Mann Streak. I am not sure that we will ever be able to thank you enough for your support and for what that meant to us. We were extremely appreciative of the money as it allowed us to pay some medical bills and funeral expenses. I think more important than the money though was the thoughtfulness and the positive spirit that you left with our family. Those of you that knew Angie know what an amazing person she was helped us all know that a life well lived was appreciated!
Thank you all for letting her eternal optimism, never-ending kindness, and generous spirit live on!
Jennifer Johnson | Recipient 2013 (Ryan Johnson)
Holiday Streakers will forever be a group of people held in high regard by the Johnson family! We were so blessed to be one of the initial families to benefit from the kindness and generosity of Holiday Streakers! October 1, 2014, marked the first day of Ryan’s battle with T-Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma. He was taken by ambulance that afternoon and remained in the hospital until December 17. Needless to say, it was a rough time for him and our family, and leaving his side to go to work was not an option. He was on a ventilator for the first 10 days and woke up virtually paralyzed. With intensive physical therapy and chemotherapy treatment, Ryan began to battle back. He was able to go home on December 17 and stand at the door by himself…a proud moment for him!
When Eric arrived at our door with a generous gift from Holiday Streakers it provided us with an answer to the many weeks of time off work and little to no paycheck. We cannot express enough how good it felt to know that people not only cared about us but were willing to sacrifice their time and money to help us through the most difficult times our family had ever faced. Holiday Streakers is more than a way to give yourself the gift of a healthier you…it is kindness, generosity, empathy, and love. Thank you Holiday Streakers!
~The Johnson Family
Update: Ryan remained in treatment for 2 1/2 years. He seemed to encounter most of the complications that “could” happen and a few that had never happened before. Nevertheless, he continued to battle and is now CANCER FREE! We now go for monthly check-ups and things continue to look good. He just celebrated his 9th birthday.
Susan Nuss | Holiday Streaker Since 2015
Overweight, unmotivated and procrastinator are not words you think of when describing someone willing to commit to a daily mile challenge. However, those are the words that describe me before joining “Holiday Streakers” my first year. I joined because of personal connections to the recipients and I thought, “I can do a mile.” Doing a mile every day was harder than I thought that first year, but being accountable to the group and looking at my blessings when I did that mile helped. During the “off-season” others share about getting out and about and that helps motivate me to get moving. Sometimes my goal might be to do a mile for 10 days, that’s OK because my body is moving. Year two of the Holiday Streak was a no-brainer – of course, I want to help others out again. This time I added some healthy meal options and at the end of the streak I had lost around 20 pounds. That streak pushed me to continue and currently I’m down about 30 pounds. I still battle weight and motivation, but I know I am a Streaker for life. Holiday Streakers gave me a jump start to a healthier lifestyle and reminds me that a simple mile can be a spring board for so much more.
Jenny Gray | Holiday Streaker Since 2016
I have to admit that being a part of Holiday Streakers has drilled the need to exercise daily into my life. I’ve participated every year but one (because I thought I was too busy and didn’t want to add the pressure to life) but thanks to the habit (and a little obsessing) started by Streaking, I’m at day 572 of an exercise streak – I’ve had 30 or more active minutes every day since the start of Holiday Streaking 2016!! It’s amazing to have that habit instilled in my daily routine and like the old saying goes, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Kim Deskin | Holiday Streaker
I joined Holiday Streakers because I loved the accountability to get moving once a day for a specific time period. My favorite part is looking at everyone’s pictures of their activities on the Streaker Central logging site; it gave me new ideas of ways to keep myself moving. I especially enjoyed the pictures of people exercising with their pets. The entry fee is nominal compared to a local 5K (which is completely over in a matter of an hour or so) and the best part was we got to cyber-meet and get to know the Holiday Streaker recipients in our community that we were supporting. That made it both real and personal. I love every part of Holiday Streakers and plan on making this a yearly family event.
Sara Cline | Holiday Streaker
I have a confession: In all the years I’ve been a Holiday Streaker, I’ve never actually completed a full Streak. Guess what? I still consider myself an important part of “Streaker Nation” because I’m supporting a great cause and enjoying the camaraderie of this growing community of fellow Streakers. I am every bit as much a Holiday Streaker as those who complete the Streak each year. Fully committed to finished what you’ve started? This is for you. Commitment issues but still want to be part of the fun? This is for YOU too. Helping families is far more important than the pride of finishing a Streak. Join us in this important event!
Have a great story about how Holiday Streaking helped you on the road to better health, weight loss, or exercise habits?
Please send it to us so we can include it on the Testimonials page. We would love to hear from you and are always inspired by how our challenge leads to happier, healthier lives.