Almost four years ago, Nathan White faced a tragedy that most will never understand. His prematurely born son, Reagan, died only a few hours after his birth. However, that painful moment set White on a new course that transformed his personal and professional life.
While grieving the loss of his son and a dear friend, White turned to one of his loves — running. Although he’d already mastered half-marathons and marathons, he decided to up the ante.
“I got into ultra-marathon running due to the loss of our child, and it helped me deal with stress and anxiety,” he told Inman last week. “I’ve run about 15 plus-ultra-marathons and ultra-marathons.”
“When I started running, one mile seemed like it was impossible,” he reminisced. “Then, I wanted to run a 5K and then a 10K. Then I wanted to run a half-marathon and a marathon, and then I wanted to go farther.”
Since 2016, White, a Redfin Partner agent in Columbus, Ohio, has run 50k (31.6 miles), 100k (62.1 miles), and 100-mile races, and has even incorporated Ironman and long-distance biking into his rigorous competition schedule.
Although White admittedly said he’ll “never be the guy on the podium,” running helped him develop a razor-sharp focus that has driven him to not only become one of the top agents in his area but a noted thought leader through the REthink Real Estate podcast and a philanthropist who has helped countless families navigate high-risk pregnancies.
“It’s important to remember to race your own race,” he said. “I don’t race other people. I’m not the guy on the podium that’s going to win first, second or third [place], but I’m the guy that’s going to finish.”
“For me, how it correlates to business and life is that I’m in it for the long haul,” he added. “I’m not here to do one race and be done. I’m here to go far.”
Between interviewing real estate leaders and experts such as Glenn Kelman, Rob Hahn, and Mark Choey, and running a one-person enterprise that raked in more than $12.5 million in sales in 2018, White still finds time to give back.
Shortly after his son’s passing, a local brewery offered to help White and his wife, Lindsay, by donating a portion of sales to cover hospital and funeral costs.
Although touched by the gesture, White turned down the offer since he knew others needed the help more than he did.
“I was really impacted because we met a single mom when we were in the hospital,” he said. “She was getting evicted out of her apartment because she was on bed rest in the hospital and couldn’t pay her rent.”
With that in mind, White and his wife established the Reagan Micheal White Fund at the OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital. The fund helps single mothers and families who need money for groceries, utilities, rent, transportation, and in some tragic cases, funeral expenses.
They also use the fund to host Mothers’ Night Out events and provide Christmas gifts for families at the hospital.
“We have control of it, and every penny we raise goes into the fund,” White explained while noting the fund was recently used to provide two months’ rent for a single mom. “So if we raise $5,000, every penny goes into the fund, and we’re able to allocate those funds to families in need.”
Over the past four years, White has raised $30,000 with help from family, friends, community members and Fat Heads Brewery, who created Reagan’s Comet, a specialty brew that’s sold once a year to benefit the fund.
“[Thirty thousand] doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s a lot when you need money,” he said. “Five hundred to $1,000 is the difference between having an apartment or having gas to get your children to treatment at the hospital.”
As the new year commences, White is determined to keep “going the distance” by completing ambitious business and running goals (he plans to finish at least 11 races) and continuing to honor his son.
“Instead of walking around and feeling terrible about my son dying, I’ve decided to shine a light on his life and how short it was and make an impact on others.”
In honor of Inman’s Agent Appreciation Month, we’re highlighting agents with extraordinary stories through a new series, Agent Plus. Do you know someone who should be highlighted for their work inside and outside of the office? Send your nominations to AgentPlus@inman.com.
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