My Story: Why A Half Marathon?

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As many of you know, the last two years have been nothing short of the greatest obstacle of my life. What was supposed to be a simple routine surgery to remove my tonsils,  turned into 3 surgeries, modified bed rest, months of speech therapy, swallow therapy and physical therapy. Hemorrhaging out as an adult was a risk I was very well-informed about, however, I had to have the surgery. It really was not an option for me to say “no”. Regardless of all the bad, I am still truly thankful that I did it.  I am healthy, happy and loving life. I get stronger everyday.  All because of the amazing team surrounding me.

Now, thanks to my doctors, whom I can’t say enough good things about, I have been released to do this great race and raise money as a St.Jude Hero! A true passion of mine. But many people have asked me “Why? Why a half marathon?”, so I thought I would shed a little light on the subject.

When my husband and I were trying to decide on how we wanted to celebrate overcoming this adventure, I told him I wanted to do something that covered 6 criteria.
– Had to benefit someone else
– Physically challenging
– Fun
– Location : A place we had not been TOGETHER
– Something a year ago, would have been absolutely impossible to accomplish
– But also something that I HAD done prior to my surgery. To prove, I was getting back to “me”.

It was in this 6 criteria, we decided on a half marathon through the St. Jude Hero program. This would allow me to do my fundraiser for the kids, run in a location neither of us have been together, physically challenging and it is going to be a blast!

I was first a St. Jude Hero at the Rock N Roll Half Marathon – Nashville, one year after my little cousin passed away. (You can see my original post HERE). It was emotionally very difficult, I spoke to Aaron every step of every mile. And at times, I am pretty sure he even carried me. This run allowed me to grieve. It was exactly what God had planned for me. It was one of the greatest moments of my life.

When you lose a child in your family, you really do not know how to react or how to process it. But this run and raising money for the children at St. Jude Research Hospital gave me a place to keep his fight alive. We made a difference with every step and in Aaron’s honor and memory. I couldn’t have picked a better way to celebrate him.

The Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon means just as much to me, if not more. We are raising DOUBLE the amount of money to send to the children!  To be able to make a difference in the lives of these children and their families, truly leaves me speechless. In my first run, I raised enough for 20 families. With this run, it will give assistance to  40 families! I have seen first hand what this money will do. How much it means to them. Especially, in a time when all their focus needs to be on the little lives that are before them, finances should not be a priority or worry. It is ALL taken care of, 100% , because of YOUR donations.

As far as the physical challenge,  I had to do a half marathon. A 5k or even a 10k would not allow the mental and emotional battle to have its peace. That I did it. That I, above all odds, defeated the very thing that tried its best to bring me down. The bar had to be set. I had to put it to a level where I knew I could obtain it, but a distance that also required your body to be trained and conditioned. I would have to truly work for it. So we settled on the half.

When I cross the finish line, I told my husband to be ready to catch me. I will probably be crying with tears of joy, relief, pain and overwhelmed with emotion. I can see it all happening, even as I type this post. That everything I have gone through the last two years was for this. To be a St. Jude Hero, running for Aaron and all the children. To give talks, share my story and help change the lives of others. Reminding everyone, never give up. You never know what God will use your story for.

People often say “it is just a half”, but for me….. it is 20,000 steps I couldn’t take two years ago.

Please support my fundraiser as St. Jude Hero. We are almost there!
http://heroes.stjude.org/DeannaSteinle

 

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