August 21, 2017
BENEFITING: Arthritis Foundation
ORGANIZER: Arthritis Foundation
This one's for all my girls with RA! I'm running honor of my late grandmother, who suffered from Rheumatoid Arthritis, my older sister who was diagnosed with the same just before she turned 30, and our mother was also recently diagnosed with Osteoarthritis.
The youngest of 21 brothers and sisters, 9 that survived to adulthood, and the last to walk this earth, our grandmother was TOUGH. She refused to ever relegate herself to a wheelchair, and she never let her disease sink her into depression. Her unwavering determination and bright optimistic spirit were inspiring, and while I know my sister has these same qualities, I do not wish her to have to call so strongly upon them.
I know that a big part of the reason our grandmother struggled so much was because she had an experimental surgery in the early 90s in which her knuckles were removed and replaced with plastic. It did not have the desired effect, and over the years, her hands degenerated to the point were they weren't much better than having no hands at all. She couldn't drive. She couldn't dress herself. Probably the last ten years of her life, she couldn't even swallow food that wasn't put through a blender first.
It was pretty heartbreaking to see someone so full of life trapped in a body that didn't work. My body still works, so I'm carrying it across as many finish lines as a I can.
I hope to help raise money so that someday these risky surgeries will have better results. I also hope to inspire other runners to realize how lucky we are to be able to run, and to never ever take that for granted. I am very lucky to have no ailments of my own, and to have a dear friend joining me in this our 2nd marathon together, and so I'd like to spread the love!
I would also like to add that I myself feel personally inspired reading the stories of the other runners on this team, and hope to meet them in person! Especially to those who have the disease themselves, perhaps you have some advice for how I can get my sister to join me in a marathon one day? Her drugs aren't really doing the trick, and the most excitement I've seen from her lately is when her handicapped card arrived in the mail and she could have shorter walks through the parking lot. She was joking, but still. She will very embarrassed when she reads that, but such is my job as a little sister!