ASHLAND, Ky. – Todd Keelin has watched God work in his life in amazing ways.
So giving back seemed a natural response.
The 40-year-old Keelin started running competitively on Thanksgiving in 2012 with a 5K and says “I have been hooked ever since.”
Now he’s not only hooked on running but also on representing Team AFA at each and every event where he participates.
Keelin’s priority is his family. He and wife April have three children – Kylie (17), Caleb (13) and Morgan (14). He grew up in a Christian home with “parents who have been a great influence on my life.
“I consider my dad my hero and his story in itself is inspirational.”
Tom Keelin is the pastor at Faith Independent Baptist Church and an outstanding expositor. He lost his leg while serving in Vietnam but never let it stop him from doing anything, his son said.
Todd admits there have been times in his life, like most Christians, when he strayed from God and didn’t live like he should.
“But God has always been there to pick me up when I fall,” he said. “I have witnessed God do great things in my life.”
His daughter, Kylie, was born three months premature weighing only 1 pound and 14 ounces. She wasn’t give much of a chance to survive.
“But God answered prayers and she is now a beautiful 17-year-old young lady.”
He has endured personal health issues, too, with cancer. Sixteen years ago, he was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma with multiple tumors all over his body.
“But again I saw God’s ever-controlling hand heal me. I was all set to start my first rounds of chemotherapy at the National Cancer Institute when my cancer suddenly started going away without the first treatment or medicine.”
His doctor was amazed and could do nothing but credit it as a miracle from God.
“He said you just don’t see someone with cancer one week and then a few weeks later there are no signs. I have been cancer free ever since. I could go on and on about how God has blessed me and answered prayers numerous times.”
When Todd watched Amy Compston and the Amy For Africa mission in action, he was moved to action as well. Like so many others, he was inspired by Amy’s testimony and work ethic for God.
“I have wanted to help in some capacity for some time but just never knew what I could do to help spread the Gospel and also help those less fortunate,” he said.
Todd and April saw Matthew West perform at the Paramount Arts Center and the song “Do Something” seemed to stick in his mind and heart.
“If not us, then who? If not me, then you. Right now, it’s time for us to do something. If not now than when? So, I thought, what do you want me to do God? One day, while running I thought, you know, even if it is just wearing an Amy For Africa shirt, I can do something.”
Todd and Kylie wore their Amy For Africa shirts during a taping of the “Today Show” that gave the organization some national exposure. It also made them a witness to what has happened with AFA.
“There were numerous people who came up to me asking about our shirts. Just something small like that can have a huge impact.”
He then came to Amy and asked what he could do to help in any way. That opened the door to ask Todd to be part of Team AFA’s runners.
“If I am going to run, why not run for Christ. Even if just one person can be saved or helped through missions is worth it,” he said. “So I am willing and ready to do whatever it is to spread the Gospel and see souls saved and lives changed through missions in Africa.”
Todd is a frequent runner in 5Ks throughout the Tri-State area and he always wears Amy For Africa gear. And, as expected, many have asked him what it’s all about.
The answer? It’s about doing something.