Congratulations and thank you, Roxane! Roxane ran the entire marathon, not walked and ran, but ran the entire marathon and also raised $1,400 for our scholarship fund. But the biggest event was Roxane’s epiphany. I would like to share with you her own words describing her wonderful experience:
“A personal note about the race that I’d like to share with you. Before the race, I hugged my daughter Mila for making me so strong and allowing me to achieve such a grueling athletic performance. On race day, I received a very big gift. One I could call: ” And with the running, came the healing” …in a very unexpected yet beautiful way. As I walked to the starting line, my shirt proudly said “Mom of 4. My special-need kid rocks.” I realized how much I, as a mourning parent -you know, we all have to move on past the loss of a “perfect” child – needed this final step in my healing. Yes, we helped Mila overcome many of her challenges. Yes, she surpassed all of our expectations. But there was one thing I forbade myself to do for a long time. Maybe out of shame, maybe out of guilt, or to protect her, or for reasons still unclear to me: I did not want the world to know that she had a genetic disorder. I did not even discuss it with many of our family members. I kept it in the hiding from a lot of people I knew. Yet, there I was, walking around 25,000 random strangers letting the world know that my child was different. And that was OK. That was more than OK…that was my very personal running leitmotif. Many people out there were running for cures, lost ones, personal records…and I was running with a bold statement about my own daughter on my shirt, finally letting go of the shame, getting an immense pride out of it. And guess what, that statement healed my soul and also made sure I would run all the way. And for once in my life, that “special-need” label did not drag me down or expect more of me…it made me take off, it took me one step above them all. And with the running came the healing. Final step of a long mourning process, first step of a great marathon race.
Thank you, NACD, and thank you, Mila.”
And thank you, Mila and Roxane. Our NACD moms and kids are the best!