I started this running journey in 2013 with my first timed 5K. After that, I joined a women’s running club and started signing up for more races! When I decided to run my first full marathon, I also decided to fill out an application to become a runner for the Irun4 non-profit organization. This organization pairs runners with children and adults that have physical, mental, and developmental special-needs. I knew that I wanted my running to have a purpose. I Run 4 Michael seemed to be a great fit to help me stay motivated and have someone to dedicate miles to that could not run for themselves.
After months of waiting, I was finally paired with my running buddy! Her name is Jessica and she is a young woman who has lived with the diagnosis of Rett Syndrome. Essentially, Rett Syndrome is a neurological disorder that is diagnosed in infancy, most of the time in females. In Jessica’s case, she is not able to walk or talk and depends on her parents for her activities of daily living. But, she is more than just a young lady with a diagnosis. She is a girl who loves to ride on ATVs, loves animals and enjoys watching video games. Her mom loves to take photos of her and she is the jewel or her parents’ eyes. Jessica is my inspiration and motivation for my races, but in particular she helped me train and cross the finish line of my first marathon and for that I am forever grateful to her.
Every training mile and every mile I run is dedicated to Jessica. I even “wear” her with me on every race—she is on my running bib! She is always there, pushing me on when I am tired and may not want to keep going. It is rewarding to know I have someone in my corner to cheer me on AND proudly wear the medals we run together to earn.