In July I’m running a marathon. I’ve only talked about it a couple thousand times here. I’m excited and scared and I’M GOING TO BE RUNNING 26.2 MILES AT ONCE. But, honestly, I really want to make the marathon mean more than just running my first marathon, more than moving my legs for 26.2 miles. I want to help people who can’t run. I want to help people who physically can’t move their legs, who can’t run. I want to honor all of those with disabilities.
Sixteen months ago my aunt passed away. She was easily a second mother to me and played one of the biggest roles in making me who I am today, in every way, shape, and form. And cliche. Her death came fast, it came unexpectedly, and it hit hard. It came nearly four years (to the day) of the drug/drunk/racing murder of my 9 year old cousin (my aunt’s daughter).
It’s been a bit rough.
My aunt, Debbie, suffered from rheumatoid arthritis for over half of her life. She was diagnosed when she was in her early 20’s (I think 21?) and spent the rest of her life in constant pain. I watched her inject herself with Enbrel and Humira and helped her count her daily pills that would only make her days slightly more bearable. There are only a handful of days I can think of that didn’t involve noticing her pain or being concerned that we couldn’t physically do everything we had planned because her body wouldn’t allow her to.
Funny side story: One of the funniest stories my aunt ever told me was when she was originally getting tested for arthritis. The doctor first tested for lupus but my aunt had no clue what lupus was. She and my grandma went to the library to look it up and the first thing she read was “..lupus will cause death in some individuals.” She, of course, didn’t read that it could happen later in life due to complications so she convinced herself she was dying. She was essentially in a panic and went out and bought EVERYTHING. One of her purchases was roller skates, because she figured she would become disfigured and never be able to roller skate again. My mom said she’ll never forget having the door swing open and Debbie come flying into the house on roller skates. When she found out it was rheumatoid arthritis and not lupus, she was relieved. Funny how finding out you have rheumatism can be a “relief.”
Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that destroys the joints. Essentially, the immune system gets confused and attacks the joints causing inflammation to the joints and organ damage. It depletes the immune system and leaves the body susceptible to every detrimental disease around. Ultimately, this disease killed my aunt. Her weakened immune system combined with the high amount of medications and the overall lack of health overtook her. A blood clot traveled from her ankle and up to her lungs, killing her in three days. It’s not an easy disease to live with, and it certainly isn’t easy to watch someone you love suffer from it. Rheumatism is one of the more serious types of arthritis and affects nearly two million people nationwide. There also isn’t a cure for rheumatism, only prescriptions that make living “easier.”
Basically, it sucks.
The Arthritis Foundation is the largest non profit organization that supports arthritis and other related conditions. They are committed to supporting research, spreading awareness, and promoting government advocacy efforts that will improve the lives of those who suffer from arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation supports the nearly 50 million Americans who suffer from arthritis.
I’m seizing this opportunity to support those 50 million Americans by raising money for the Arthritis Foundation Pacific Northwest Chapter. Because my entire family lives on the west coast, it only seems fitting to go to that chapter. I am so excited to do this and I can’t wait to see how much money I can raise for this great and important cause! I’ve set up a donation page through Go Fund Me. My goal is to reach $5000 by marathon day, July 27. I want to make shirts and all of the logo things! I already created my own logo for Running for Arthritis, which is what I named my sub charity within the Arthritis Foundation. I love it and I can’t wait to get this thing going!
I really want to make this the best fundraising I possibly can and I’ll need all the help I can get. Any donation that can be made is greatly appreciated. All donations made on Running for Arthritis will be directly given to the Arthritis Foundation Pacific Northwest Chapter and they’re tax deductible! Go Fund Me does take a small percentage of the donation, but it’s only around 9%, which ends up being less than $1 for every $10 donated. Not too shabby, eh?
I know there aren’t too many people who read this little blog, but I’m really hoping it will reach someone and that someone will tell others and it will just keep on being spread around for everyone to see! So, thank you for reading this lengthy and business-y post!
And for your support.