After two weeks of training for the Illinois Marathon in April the excitement has worn off and it feels like more of a job than a journey. Running is a great stress relief, however, running for hours is really tough to fit into my schedule. I was re-thinking the whole marathon and then I had a request....a simple request "Would you like to wear a t-shirt in honor a Ryann Hope during the race?".
Ryann Hope Smith was the sweet little baby girl that recently passed away due to complications with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia , or otherwise known as CDH. You can visit Breath of Hope at http://breathofhopeinc.com/ to learn more about CDH or to make a donation. Ryann's parents, Dave and Jaime, and her little sister Reagan continue to journey through their grief, and although I pray for them every day, I know that in addition to prayers, getting the awareness out about CDH is really important to them, so without hesitation I absolutely will wear a t-shirt for Ryann Hope during my race to honor her and to raise awareness.
This morning on my way to work I was thinking about this gesture as well as saying my daily prayers for my dear friends that have lost their children and hoping that they were able to get through their day okay. And all of the sudden I thought to myself the importance of doing this.....and the words "breathing for Ryann" came into my head.
In the short time that Ryann was here on earth she showed such strength and such fight that there is no excuse for me to give up two weeks into my training for a race. The magnitude of 26.2 miles doesn't even equal the marathon that she ran while she was here with us. I am going to train and I am going to run for Ryann Hope and I only hope that her strength and her spirit will help me at mile 15 when I'm sure I going to be tired, or at mile 22 when I think that giving up is an option.
This reason, this purpose, is enough to inspire me to continue to train and run a race that I've talked about running forever. I have set this goal for myself and when I felt like maybe giving up a bit, I now have a purpose to continue, I am going to run my race in honor of Ryann Hope. And if you are at the race and you see the teal colored t-shirts and wrist bands, you'll know that many others were inspired by and are running for the sweet baby girl that made her way into all of our hearts while she was here.