Saturday, March 16, 2013

I Just Felt Like Running

I have often said that I have the best of friends.  It's true!  I have the kind of friends that would give me a kidney, or take a bullet for a flesh wound, not the bleeding out kind (they have kids, you know).  I'll tell you what they would do for sure!  They would run a 5K for me (because that's as far as I can run, not because they wouldn't go further).  

My friends, I have never, under any circumstances, been a runner.  I was the kind of kid that would run at a walking pace with arms flailing wildly, wishing I was dead, as I failed to grab the baton that some kid was desperately trying to pass me.  It was traumatic.  Thus, began my hatred of running.  Later, in high school, when we would approach a track unit, I would inform my mom that she could expect a phone call from the school office about my absence from several consecutive days of gym class.  She would stoically accept my decision because it meant that she did not have to be subjected to anymore embarrassing phone calls from the gym teacher, wondering how in the world I could have another written excuse to sit out.  I don't think she particularly minded picking me up from detention because I wasn't ditching to smoke pot or have sex.  Hiding in the parking lot during the track unit seems pretty great in comparison! 

Lately, however, I have been looking for a sense of purpose.  I needed to do something that was just for me!  And I'll be honest, I was feeling less than young and energetic.  I decided to do something totally out of the Kate box; something that I never thought I'd do.  Since hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro does not mesh with my duties as mom, it had to be a task that I could complete in my own neck of the woods.  Last March, I was completely in awe of my friend, Missy and cousin Annie, when they participated in the Atlanta Marathon/ Half MarathonAs I watched those girls cross the finish line, dripping sweat and smiling, I could see them finding a power within themselves that seemed superhuman to me.  I was so proud to witness it!  

Remembering this, I perused a running website that listed upcoming race events in my area.  I found this 5K on March 30th, in Athens.   The Cottage is an organization that provides intervention, advocacy, referrals, and support to families that have been impacted by sexual assault and child abuse.  This felt like a real God wink to me! You know, when something is evidence of a higher power at work in your life?  Because there is no cause that is nearer and dearer to my heart than advocacy for children who have been victims of sexual abuse.  Sexual abuse affects people from every walk of life and every socioeconomic level in this country.  Here are the facts:
  • One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused by the time they are 18. That statistic becomes real when you step into your child's classroom and look at those little faces.
  • More than 90% of juvenile sexual abuse victims know their perpetrator in some way. These are people we trust: friends, babysitters, coaches, pastors, etc.
  •  About 80% of 21 year olds that were abused as children meet criteria for at least one psychological disorder.  The pain does not end when the abuse ends...that is only the beginning.  
  • The estimated cost for child abuse and neglect in the United States in 2008 was $124 billion.   
My point is, this is not a problem.  It's an epidemic.  I am a survivor, no longer a victim, of sexual abuse and I will be doing my small part to help the victims in my community, along side Annie and Missy, on March 30th, in the Cottage 5K.  I am running for the little girl that could not find her voice, but has found her power and won't be quiet now. Who can you run or walk for? If you are not available to run but would like to support the Cottage, you can click on the above link and become a "phantom runner." 

If you are local and interested in supporting this awesome organization, get your running/walking shoes on and join us!  I will be the one puffing on my asthma inhaler and sweating like a man.  See you there!

1 comment:

  1. SOOOOO proud of you!!! Can't wait to cross that finish line with you. I love you!! xoxo -Annie