I am raising money for Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis Research and to bring awareness to the foundation "Kids Get Arthritis Too" with a 26 Day 1 Mile Challenge leading up to my race!
Hi! My name is Abby O'Donnell - As a goal for 2018, I set out to accomplish something I had not done before, but more importantly something that scared me. I spent the first few months of this year trying to decide what it would be, and kept coming up short. I had briefly thought about running a marathon - selfishly just to say I did it. However, during a family workout at our gym on Memorial Day, I had the privilege of witnessing one of the kid's tackle a challenge. Here's the story: Dawson Wholey was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis at a young age - after various testings and ruling other scenario's out. What was he left with? Joint inflammation, joint stiffness and decreased joint mobility/range of motion. Medication was the "fix", but that simply brought on a whole new array of symptoms. He had to make a lifestyle change. At an age where kids are just supposed to be kids - and meals consist of our childhood foods - Dawson had to change his nutrition to combat his symptoms. That in itself is a huge step. But, on Memorial Day - he showed me just how tough he really is. He had a choice of taking the small lap or the big lap - and he told his Dad he could do the big lap. He fought with his stiffness and shortened range of motion, and as he rounded the corner back to the gym - he sprinted. His high five was full of spirit, pride and accomplishment. In that moment, I decided I would run the 'big race' when he proved he could run the 'big lap' without letting any excuses hold him back. I set out on an 18 week training schedule, and he has been the inspiration behind every step. I chose to run this race and fundraise for JRA research in acknowledgement for those who can't so easily complete certain tasks, but so desperately wish they could. When approached about my training for the marathon, some people ask me "why?" - I simply reply with "Because I can". I have the ability - and I've chosen not to take my abilities for granted. I suffer from Osteoarthritis (much less severe than his diagnosis) and I'm well aware that someday I may not have the chance. Side note: he's beating this JRA thing and it hasn't stopped him in the slightest!
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