Running

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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Inspirational, Running

Diary Entry: St. Jude Hero Page From 2011

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Below is a post I had written for my St. Jude Hero page, the very first time I did this fundraiser and prepared for the Half Marathon in Nashville, TN .

(Written The First Year After Aaron Earned His Angle’s Wings) 
All my life I have competed in one way or another. Swimming, dance, pageants, riding horses..the list goes on and on.  In that time, I developed a since of competition with a purpose, knowing that win or loose, the efforts were still contributing to something bigger than yourself. Nothing held more true than the night of June 5, 2010 when my own idea became reality and hit home.

 The final night of my National competition the phone rang and my worst nightmare came true. My little cousin, Aaron, had lost his battle with Leukiema and I was far away from home and far away from my family. However, I could not leave the competition.  Not because I physically was unable, but  because I made a promise to a little boy lying in bed at  home, that wanted nothing more than to come watch me compete at my big event that I would stay.  Aaron told me the night before I left, “I am so proud of you and promise me whatever happens, you will finish. Win or loose, you will always be my queen. I love you.” The last words he would ever say to me before he died and big words at that. These words came from a child who had spent months at St. Jude’s fighting a Leukiema that was extremely aggressive and caused much pain, and knowing he barely had much time left. Regardless of what he felt, he found the strength everyday to  put others before himself in every aspect of his life and his treatment. 

 Aaron was the child, that loved unconditionally and without cause. When he spoke to you, he made you feel like you were his favorite. A gift that truly was unique and special. 

 During his illness  he was  more worried about his family being o.k and  going through the process of treatments,traveling , and the education of his cancer, than he was for himself and what he would and did endure. He never wanted tears and he never wanted pain for all around him and spoke of that often. He wanted everyone to be happy and enjoy each day they had.  A remarkable young boy with a huge heart filled with wisdom of love and kindness  that normally takes a lifetime to obtain. 

 I truly believe,  that with the help of St. Jude’s , that thousands of child’s lives will be saved because of Aaron. That they will find a cure to this rare and aggressive form of cancer normally found in adults, that has discovered its  way into children. 

 Aaron taught me my own life lesson. A thought and moral standard my parents  instilled in me for years. He brought it home, he  lived it no matter how bad things got. If he can go through, numerous treatments, bone marrow transplants and tests and still put others above himself, then I can run 13.1 miles in his honor to help St. Jude’s come that much closer to finding a cure to save the lives of thousands. 

 Aaron did his part in contributing to this  process, now lets do ours. Please donate for this worthy cause and support me in raising my monetary goal in Honor and Memory of Aaron.  The boy who loved others the way they wanted to be loved, the one who put others before himself no matter what he endured and the one that saw his purpose in the big picture. 

 Thank you from the bottom of my heart,

Deanna

Running

Run for a Reason

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In honor and celebration of St. Jude’s Marathon in Nashville this Saturday, I am posting this picture since I am unable to run this year.

St. Jude ‘s Hero program is an amazing way to give purpose and meaning to your runs. Along with providing funds to help fight childhood cancer. If you want to hear about my story and the reason for my run, I will be posting my story on Saturday as I cheer on my fellow Heroes during their race. Stay Tuned!!

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