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The Big News!


So I have everything set up, and I don’t normally do two posts in one day, but this is very important to me. That photograph above is my favorite picture of my mom and I. It’s the last picture I have of us together. I share a story that I never though would be my life. I remember watching movies and wondering how people ever made it though these experiences. I never imagined any of the things in my life would happen to me, but through it all running has helped me grow and reflect on so many different aspects of my life, that without it, I don’t even know where I would be today.

I have decided to do the Avon Los Angeles 2 Day Breast Cancer Walk. This is 39 miles in 2 days throughout the Long Beach Area. In order to take part, I need to raise sufficient funds. I know how important Breast Cancer research is since I was personally affected by losing my mother when I was 20. When I say that, I still can’t believe it’s true.

My sophomore year of high school, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was on and off treatment including chemotherapy and radiation all throughout my high school and beginning of my college years. She was never horribly sick, but she was tired, and took many more naps and cut back on her 40 hour work weeks volunteering at the Christian school I went to growing up. If any of you ever met my mom, you would know instantly that she was a fighter. She was so stubborn and she bullied the cancer to have her life stay as consistent as it was before she was diagnosed. She did it for our family, and she did it for herself.

I went to many doctor appointments with her, and once I moved away to college, we became very close. This time where we were a little bit farther a part allowed us so much growth. I really remember talking to my mom daily on the phone while at college and how much closer we became.  It also really allowed me to see the core of my mom, the person she was, her beliefs, her thoughts, and her wishes and it made me see who I wanted to become.

In March of 2006, the doctor came back after some testing and told her and my father that she had three to six months to live. It’s hard to type that, because I didn’t realize how quickly the time would go. I never thought my mom would become a statistic. A short three weeks later she passed away. I spent those last three weeks in an abyss of artificial smiles and complete confusion. I had no idea what was happening, or how I would handle everything, and once the reality hit, she was already gone.

I was exhaustively lost after that happened. I had been running every year in high school and off and on in college. I completely stopped running. I stopped functioning. I couldn’t get one foot to go in front of the other, none the less make my legs follow. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. Everything had lost flavor and I had lost interest in life.

One day, I decided that it was time that I stop wallowing in my confused state, and get my life back together. I was still going to school at the time, and decided that I had to finish out the semester, after dropping one class. I finished my 18 units, and the summer began, but I was still very lost.

I felt like I didn’t want to run because it was something I did when my mom was alive. Though I absolutely hated her at my cross country races, and I hated her watching me run track, and even hated her watching me sit the bench while on the soccer team, I wanted her there for me, and she couldn’t be. I wanted to know she would be there when I got home from my run. I wanted to see her again and I felt like running was something that I couldn’t do again, because it wasn’t apart of me anymore. I didn’t want to do something that brought me so much joy when my mom was gone.

It came to me one morning. I needed it. I wanted it still. I wanted the consistency, and I wanted the control. This was when I went out once again, and found the comfort of the road under my feet. The first run I completed after she passed was a short three miler, and once I got under the cover of the brush around me, I broke down and just cried as I ran, but nothing had ever felt so good. I had consistency again, I had a path in front of me, and I had something that no one could ever take away from me.

I had breath in my lungs and with tears streaming down my cheeks, I just ran. I allowed myself to hurt, and to feel again, and I allowed myself to think. To think about the changes, about the future, I allowed myself to move forward. It was a time of thinking, reflecting and dreaming. After that run, I didn’t run again for a while, life got in the way, but since then, I have realized that running through the hardest times in your life, gives you something that you control. You can do it. You can come back to it. You can make a change, but you have to choose too.

So granted, I also went to counseling, and did a lot of prayer during this time, obviously, but I know, without running the biggest transition of my life wouldn’t have led me to the story I have today, to the outlook I have today, or the attitude I have today. So many people tell me they are so sorry, and I am sorry too, but I can’t change that, and I am lucky that I got to see a great example of what I want to become one day, and learn so many life lessons at such a young age.

Sometimes I look back at my short life thus far, and think about things that could have changed, or could be different, but I know that God had this all happen for a reason, so I got it to take it and run with it. :) In this case, I’ll be walking, 39 miles in two days, to make a difference. Thanks for supporting and listening.

At the Avon Walk, I hope to bring awareness to this disease and I hope you can donate in my mom’s honor. You can visit my ‘personal page’ for donation by clicking on the pink button below, or on the one that looks like it on my sidebar.



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  • Reply Solorunner

    I feel your pain and know how you feel about going out and doing something that no longer seem worth doing. My dad passed away 2 years ago and it took all I had to pick myself up and find my way. Your story is touching and I am sure your experience will make you stronger.

    August 10, 2009 at 4:11 pm
  • Reply Sam

    Glad you’re doing this for her, Danica.

    August 10, 2009 at 4:13 pm
  • Reply Carolina Girl

    Thanks for sharing this story…your mom was beautiful. And I know she would be SO DAMN PROUD

    August 10, 2009 at 4:16 pm
  • Reply Carolina Girl

    of you girl! You can count on me to support you :) Go knock their socks off!

    August 10, 2009 at 4:17 pm
  • Reply Melody @ Sweet & Saucy Shop

    This post almost brought me to tears. I never knew your mom passed away and can’t even imagine how hard that was and is. You are so inspiring and I bet your mother and family are so proud of you! Hope to see you soon…if you ever need a sweet treat you know who your girl is!

    August 10, 2009 at 4:37 pm
  • Reply christina cadden

    awe, so sweet. What a great story to share even if it brought tears to my eyes. I am sure your entire family is so proud of you!

    August 10, 2009 at 4:52 pm
  • Reply Legallyblondemel

    Thank you so much for sharing this incredibly moving post.

    You have a proud supporter here!

    August 10, 2009 at 4:59 pm
  • Reply Wendy

    Thanks for sharing that.

    I think it’s great that you are doing this in honor of your mom.

    August 10, 2009 at 5:02 pm
  • Reply Jen Blalock

    I am SO sorry for your loss! It’s difficult at any age but at such a young age I cannot imagine. I’m sure she is very proud of you. My daughter just finished a 3 day walk (yesterday) for breast cancer awareness. Her cousin was diagnosed last year. She said it was a wonderful experience. Good for you for doing this for youself and for your mom!

    August 10, 2009 at 5:14 pm
  • Reply carpeviam

    What a touching post. And a wonderful tribute to your mom. She’d be so proud.

    August 10, 2009 at 5:38 pm
  • Reply Meredith

    You are such an inspiration! Good luck with the walk :)

    August 10, 2009 at 6:51 pm
  • Reply Brown Eyed Girl and Beau

    This is awesome! I am so proud of you girl!! What a huge accomplishment and what a great way to make a difference. So exciting!!

    August 10, 2009 at 7:01 pm
  • Reply Amber from Girl with the Red Hair

    This is so awesome you are doing this and sharing it with everyone!! It’s great to hear how life changing running can be for someone. I’m so sorry for your loss though, no one should ever have to go through that!

    August 10, 2009 at 7:15 pm
  • Reply Pam

    What a beautiful post~! Good luck on your walk.

    August 10, 2009 at 7:36 pm
  • Reply ilovesteaks

    Way to keep moving forward! Running is my therapy too.

    August 10, 2009 at 7:43 pm
  • Reply Zoe

    What a beautiful picture of you and your mum! Doing the Avon walk in her honor is very noble and a great way to raise awareness and funds for a cure. Please post your donation page when you have a chance?

    I, too, use running as therapy because of losing my mum.

    Keep your head up, girlie! :)

    August 10, 2009 at 7:54 pm
  • Reply Natalia

    I have tears running down my face as I write this…

    I cannot even imagine how hard it must have been to lose your mom. What a great way to honor her! My mom just recently completed the Avon walk in Breckenridge, CO in honor of her sister. I am so proud of her for doing it, and I know your mom will be proud of you too!

    August 10, 2009 at 8:47 pm
  • Reply The Laminator

    Even though I know bits and pieces of this story from following you around, i never fail to be inspired by hearing it. Thanks for sharing!

    August 10, 2009 at 10:10 pm
  • Reply Ness

    Hi you put me to tear.
    I am sorry to hear about your mom. She is beautiful just like you. My friend passed away as well in a brain Cancer less than a year ago. I feel your pain.
    Stay strong….

    August 10, 2009 at 11:48 pm
  • Reply J

    Your moms story always moves me. i Can’t imagine what you went through but I am glad that you are able to share your growth with us now!

    August 11, 2009 at 4:15 am
  • Reply N.D.

    That is so sweet and sad. Im so glad you are doing the walk, what a great cause.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:27 am
  • Reply Diana-D10

    First, your mom is beautiful. I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your story. I think you taking on the 2 day walk is a great way to celebrate your mom’s life.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:34 am
  • Reply Marlene

    What a wonderful tribute to your Mom!

    August 11, 2009 at 6:04 am
  • Reply Amanda

    What a beautiful testament to the strength of your mom and to your relationship with her. Good luck with this!

    August 11, 2009 at 6:37 am
  • Reply Ally

    I lost my mom when I was young too–right before Christmas of my first year of college. I’m sorry for your loss, but so thrilled that you have found a way to to participate in an organization to help fight what took your mother.

    August 11, 2009 at 6:48 am
  • Reply MrsJetplane

    Thank you for sharing your story. You made me cry. I lost my grandmother to breast cancer in H.S. and it changed me and my life forever. Then when my mom was diagnosed in Sept of last year I totally lost it. Luckily she is cancer free, but breast cancer will also be in the back of my mind for myself.

    Good Luck and thank you so much for sharing your story. You’re such an inspirational person.

    August 11, 2009 at 6:52 am
  • Reply Glenn Jones

    Very touching Danica. Nothing else needs to be said. I have a tear in my eye. Literally.

    Thank you for sharing with us.

    August 11, 2009 at 6:59 am
  • Reply Melanie

    This is big news, and it’s so very exciteing! I think it’s awesome that you’re doing this, and I’m sure your mom would be so proud of you!

    August 11, 2009 at 7:21 am
  • Reply Stuart

    Testament to a great women, she’ll be very proud of you as you should be too!

    August 11, 2009 at 7:41 am
  • Reply Maggie @ It Is Everlasting

    This is going to be an amazing experience for you and I know that your mom is so proud. You’ve accomplished such great things and I, for one, am so thankful for the day you decided to start running again as your motivation and friendship means so much to me. I can’t wait to be here for the journey to your walk.

    August 11, 2009 at 7:51 am
  • Reply Morgan

    Thank you so much for sharing this story and I think it’s so awesome you are doing the walk! Your mom is beaming right now in heaven knowing that you are doing this for not only her but for every person out there affected. Congrats and I look forward to hearing all about it!

    August 11, 2009 at 7:56 am
  • Reply Tara

    what an amazing thing to do for your mom!

    August 11, 2009 at 7:56 am
  • Reply April

    Thank you for sharing. And thank you for raising money for breast cancer research! My own mother is recovering from breast cancer so it’s something dear to my heart, as well.

    August 11, 2009 at 8:10 am
  • Reply Denise

    Thanks for sharing all of that, what a sweet post. Your mom will definitely be there walking with you!

    August 11, 2009 at 9:03 am
  • Reply kristen

    What a beautiful post. And you are also such a beautiful person.

    August 11, 2009 at 9:35 am
  • Reply Audrey

    Hi there, such a touching and moving post. You are going to love the breast cancer walk. I did the Avon 3Day in 2000 from NJ to NYC and it was one of the most amazing and moving experiences in my life. I can’t wait for you to experience it. At our finish, it was non-stop tears for like an hour!

    August 11, 2009 at 9:36 am
  • Reply Meg

    Wow – this story had me in tears. I don’t know what I would do if I were in your situation, and I am incredibly thankful that you shared this with all of us. It is inspirational and motivational.

    I just donated to your goal, sent for information about the Avon walk in my area, and am encouraging friends to do one or the other.

    August 11, 2009 at 9:55 am
  • Reply B.o.B.

    I had no idea. I am sorry for your loss. I lost my father when I was 27 so I can relate to the feelings of losing a parent. It never stops hurting though does it? It just gets easier to deal with.

    I commend you on gettting back out there and running. She’s watching you and she’s very, very proud.

    August 11, 2009 at 10:01 am
  • Reply Felice

    Great thing to do — it will be an amazing experience for you, I’m sure.

    August 11, 2009 at 10:27 am
  • Reply RunToFinish

    you are so amazing for always sharing your true feelings and I know will help so many

    August 11, 2009 at 10:27 am
  • Reply aron

    this is amazing girl and going to be an awesome weekend for you. my mom did this walk last year in honor of her friend who is battling it. i sent her your story too :)

    August 11, 2009 at 10:33 am
  • Reply Jamie

    Congrats on your decision to do the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer! Such an great cause! Especially when it hits so close to home. Makes it that much more special.
    Thanks for the encouragement! You totally motivate me! I should just think “3 miles… at least it’s not 16!” LOL

    August 11, 2009 at 12:33 pm
  • Reply KatieA.

    You are a really strong woman, and from what it sounds like, the apple didn’t fall far from your mother’s tree. :) What an awesome way to honor your mom and the journey you have taken. Thanks for always sharing, it is inspirational!

    August 11, 2009 at 2:25 pm
  • Reply JT

    Thank you for sharing, I will definitely help spread the word!

    August 11, 2009 at 2:31 pm
  • Reply RoadBunner

    I think this is an awesome way to honor your mother. It is going to be an amazing experience for you!

    August 11, 2009 at 2:40 pm
  • Reply runjen

    Wow! What an amazing story and an amazing way to honor your mother. There is no doubt in my mind that she will be smiling down on you over those two days.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:25 pm
  • Reply Page

    Keep up the amazing work as I know your mom is so, so proud of you right now.

    Damn it, you’re making me cry ;)

    August 11, 2009 at 5:35 pm
  • Reply Lori (Spandex)

    Your mother would be so proud of you, Danica.

    Good luck with everything and keep it strong, girl!!!

    August 11, 2009 at 6:09 pm
  • Reply That Pink Girl

    Your mom would be so proud of the woman she raised!!! Thank you for doing this for her and for every family affected by breast cancer. Hopefully soon, thanks for organizations like this (and people like you!) breast cancer will be a distant memory!

    August 11, 2009 at 7:08 pm
  • Reply Jen Coin

    I have read your blog for a while now, but thisis the first that I’m leaving a comment.

    Your post today was very touching. Thank you for sharing your relationship with your mom with us.

    What I have found is the things I used to do before Shawn died where the hardest to get back into. For me it was working out. That was something we always did together. Since going back to the gym I have found a lot of peace in working out again.

    Your mom would be so so very proud of you.

    You go girl!!

    August 11, 2009 at 7:33 pm
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