In two weeks, I’ll run for Taylor in my favorite race of the year, the Tar Heel 10 Miler. The course meanders through the streets of Chapel Hill, NC, and the campus of the University of North Carolina, my alma mater.
I graduated from college nearly eight years ago. Often, I feel as though the time I spent in Chapel Hill happened in another life. So much has transpired since then. And yet, some moments seem frozen in time.
I felt particularly homesick one day during the fall of my freshman year when I received a message from my mom’s email account. “Dear Rar Rar,” it read. “I wanted to send you a message, too. Here goes!” (insert several lines of unintelligible gibberish here) “Love, T.”
I printed that email and posted it on the cork board that hung on the wall over my desk in my dorm room. Every time I moved throughout my college career, the cork board came down and went into a cardboard box and onto the next temporary dwelling. The piece of paper with T’s email survived all of the moves, including the final journey home to Charlotte after graduation. I still have it today.
I used to imagine that my little sister might someday follow me to Chapel Hill – or wherever her dreams led her. Now, I hope that Batten disease does not steal her from us before she reaches the age when kids typically head to college, their entire lives still ahead of them.
Last year, I ran the Tar Heel 10 Miler in 1:25:27 – my personal best for a 10-mile race (I came close to matching it in the Charlotte 10 Miler in February with a time of 1:26:10). I’ve been hobbled by a sprained ankle for the past month, but I still hope to post a strong result on the 21st.
Once again, I’m running in honor of Taylor’s valiant fight against Batten disease. I’ll make a donation to Taylor’s Tale after the race, and and I’m also asking friends to give anything they can in support of my run. I’ll post my results here on Sunday, April 22.
To make a gift to Taylor’s Tale on behalf of my race, visit my fundraising page here, scroll to the Support My Cause section near the bottom of the page and enter your donation amount in the space provided. All gifts are 100 percent tax-deductible. Thank you for your support!