26 miles later, she was at the very place she dreamed of being. As her hands rose to the air, her smile brightened. She was a survivor of The Nike Women’s Marathon as she stepped across that finish line. All her training and hard work brought her to this destination.
I watched her conquering and joyful attitude. She was no longer in fear of what was to lie ahead. She knew those 26 miles weren’t the only thing she conquered. That finish line wasn’t an end for her, but more of a start.
A year ago, this woman wasn’t running or training for a marathon, but holding onto the pieces of her shattered life. She was a married woman who was a mother to four children. She was married for 15 years. Her two daughters were 16 and 13. Her two sons were 15 and 11.
This woman’s life was abruptly changed when she filed for divorce. Her husband who had been unfaithful no longer loved her. She didn’t lie when she vowed to love him in sickness and in health. She loved him through everything, but he didn’t want to love her any longer.
Her house became divided. Her children took sides, some even against her. She had to learn to live a new life. She had to be strong for her children even though she was completely torn apart.
She could have laid down in the middle of her storm, but she rose to action. She found the blessings even in the storm. She knew she was blessed to have such healthy children. This woman knew she needed to help those who weren’t so lucky.
She decided to run in honor of her friend who had leukemia. She trained while raising money for these leukemia patients. She stood outside the doors of Publix for hours asking for donations. She put on fundraisers to raise money. She trained hard to run for those who couldn’t.
Today, she is not just a survivor of marathons, but a survivor of unfortunate life circumstances. She has successfully completed 4 marathons in honor of those who battle cancer. She has raised more than 5,000 dollars and continues to raise money. At the end of each race she throws her hands up in hopes of conquering the deadly disease for a cancer patient.
See, I think we all have a choice. We could lay down in the middle of a storm or we could stand strong and help those who can’t fight their battles on their own. I don’t think it always has to be about us. I think when we want to think about our circumstance we should think about another’s. By standing strong in our struggles we can help people overcome and be survivors. This world needs more survivors like this woman.