By Laura Edwards

I’ve dedicated several posts on my blog over the last two years to Taylor’s Girls on the Run experience. It was, in a word, inspiring.

The mission of Girls on the Run is ‘to educate and prepare girls for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living.’ The program changed T’s life, alright. Blind and fighting Batten disease, she completed her first 5K with her running buddy, Mary-Kate. Five months later, she crossed the finish line again. Throughout her stint on her school’s Girls on the Run team, she overcame obstacles no one should ever have to face. When it was all said and done, I think my little sister believed in herself more than she ever had before. In the meantime, she changed a lot of other people’s lives – including mine.

T aged out of Girls on the Run last May – the end of her fifth grade year; Girls on Track, the Girls on the Run program for sixth, seventh and eighth graders, is not being offered at her school. But despite the fact that she no longer stays after school to run laps around the track with her classmates, T is still a part of the team.

Yesterday morning, my parents learned that the girls on this year’s team were having a bake sale in the school cafeteria; the event served as the community service project all teams complete as part of their curriculum. After just a short time selling cookies, cupcakes and all kinds of sweet treats, the girls had raised $750. The beneficiary of their hard work and dedication? Taylor’s Tale – and the search for a cure for the disease their former teammate is battling.

In my last post, just two night ago, I talked about the kindness of T’s sixth grade classmates – the ones who have been her friends since she arrived at Fletcher almost four years ago as a girl who could still see (mostly) and who had just been slapped with a diagnosis of Batten disease. Tonight, my heart is filled with hope thanks to the younger girls who now follow in her footsteps – literally – running laps on the same track at Fletcher several days a week, completing the same 5Ks twice a year and – most importantly – believing in themselves. They may not know it, but they’ve accomplished something else through their kind deeds. They’ve given a desperate big sister a reminder of all the good there is in this world. They’ve given this desperate big sister reason to believe.

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