It was the middle of the night and everything hurt. It was dark and for the most part quiet, and the romance of doing this crazy thing of running a 24-hour race had long since faded. Each time I passed the lap marker, it seemed to taunt me with its calculation of not quite but almost one more mile and its reminder that I still had hours yet to go.
It was then that I pulled out my phone and went live on Facebook, something I never do. And I had only one thing to say: I wasn’t going to give up. There were kids being raped and abused, and I needed to do this for them. I said I would do it, and I was going to.
That briefest of videos was not for you. It was for me, to get me through the darkness and pain and flood of memories that reminded me where I had been. The middle of the night has a way of doing that to you. Despite all the years of abuse I suffered, it’s easy sometimes to forget how bad it was. It’s easier to focus on the joy and health and success I have today. But it’s important to remember so that the children of today are not forgotten.
This September, I am again running the Northcoast 24-Hour Endurance Run to support child survivors of sexual abuse in the Cleveland area. Why am I doing this again? Why not do something easier, something that doesn’t require putting my body through such pain and wear and tear? I think you know the answer to that. All those children are worth anything I have to go through – today, tomorrow, or ever.
The middle of the night was memorable, but you know what else was too? The many people of all ages who came to support me, run or walk with me, cheer me on, bring me food or supplies, bandage me up, and remind me of my mission. It was all of those people, and the many more supporting me from afar, that made this one of the most amazing and humbling experiences of my life.
We have the opportunity to help children heal from sexual abuse and to stop the abuse from happening in the first place. It’s not just an opportunity. It’s a responsibility. Will you step up? Donate today and share with your friends!
I’ll make it through another night running. Let’s make sure children make it through the night and day without being raped or abused.