I don’t talk about my mom too often, she passed away 5 years ago. My mom is the driving force for everything I do. She raised me to be a good person, a kind person and to always give back. I’ve lived the past 5 years and will continue to live knowing that she’s watching over me. She passed in August 2012—2 months before I was supposed to run my first Marine Corps Marathon. Upon receiving some sound advice, I deferred and finally was able to run it in 2015 with American Cancer Society, in her memory.
Pacers Running came into my life when I was training for the marathon. I knew I needed a plan and support to get to the start line so I joined Pacers training program and that’s how I met Kayla. I started to volunteer with the events team and helped Kayla with race packet pick up. I’ve been part of the Pacers family ever since.
My new role as a mascot at our kids’ races happened this year at Four Courts Four Miler at the Leprechaun Leap. Lisa asked if I could be a leprechaun and I thought she’d just let me use her leprechaun costume. Instead she said, “I kind of want you to be a leprechaun and a unicorn.” Then she messaged me again before the George Washington Parkway Classic to lead the Sugar Shack Kids Dash and she said, “I kind of want you to be a donut.” This year for the Clarendon Day Run she asked me to come lead the Kids Dash as a bumble bee because after the run kids get to eat pancakes from Williams Sonoma. I am the kid’s size and it works out.
If I have learned anything working for Pacers Running it is to give back to the community. They preach, “this is your community and you always give back; we do that for each other.” Anytime they ask me to do anything I will do it and we do it together. Pacers does so much to help out in the community with partnerships with the Boys and Girls Club, Back on My Feet, and many other local groups; I can’t imagine not being a part of it.
I grew up in Port Arthur, Texas and my family still lives nearby. I remember growing up we always evacuated when hurricanes were coming, that’s just the way it is there. In 1992 Hurricane Andrew came and caused massive damage. I remember it so well because my nephew, named Andrew, was born right after the storm.
During Hurricane Harvey I stayed in touch with with my family and they were all safe. When I see pictures of the town and the devastation there it is so bad and it really breaks my heart. I posted online that I was taking donations to Texas and a lot of people donated money. Pacers donated Freedom Four towels, a lot of Love the Run You’re With blankets, trashcan liners, and gloves to help with cleanup. Kayla and I bought supplies from Costco and I packed up a van and drove to Texas to help out my community there.
The plan is for me to go to my brother’s house and help out whoever I can. I am a little person and I can only do so much but I want to make a difference. On Saturday we are going to our hometown to give out supplies. I am excited to see my family; I have not seen them since February. I’ll get to see a lot my high school friends too. It is all a little surreal.
If others want to help, Pacers Running is selling shirts to support Texas and the profits go to the to Red Cross. Pacers Running is also collecting gently used shoes and new socks. I am happy to see that Pacers Running is at the forefront of giving back, I am proud to be a part of that. Florida and the Islands were also hit and I feel bad about that too. People want to lend a helping hand and it’s pretty wonderful to see all of the things that happen when people want to help each other.