I am so inspired by two of my favorite people, my nephew Eric and his wife Kerri, and their personal journeys to become runners. I asked them to share their motivating stories…why they started, what they’ve accomplished and how they are helping others.

Eric’s Story: Why I Run

My story begins with my wife informing me that she wants to run a 5k. This took place over a year ago when the most physical activity I got was mowing the lawn. My initial reaction was one of dread because of the work involved. But being a supportive husband, I agreed and we signed up for our first race. We finished the race with a time of 52:00 minutes and we were completely exhausted the rest of the day. I never thought I could be so tired and all I did was walk 3.1 miles. The post race activities were amazing and the support from other runners along the course was surprising to me. We caught the bug and since that race we have run over 20 races in all kinds of weather.

We have run on major holidays like Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day and in 4 different states plus Canada. We’ve also recruited my wife’s sister and husband into running. To date, our longest race was a half marathon that we “ran” last fall to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis research. I use the term ran loosely here because the race was run at the beach in 50-degree weather, in the rain.

We’ve come to learn that running is not only about reaching the finish line but it is also a tool for creating awareness for a cause that is important to us. This year we are running the Disney World Wine and Dine Half Marathon for Team ASPCA.

Beckett and Luna Team ASPCA

Kerri’s Story: Why I Run

My story begins over 30 years ago as a child with Cystic Fibrosis (CF). For those of you who may not know, CF is an inherited chronic disease that creates thick, sticky mucus within a person’s lungs and other organs. This causes chronic lung infections that lead to continuous antibiotic use, hospitalizations, and possibly death (the average life span is now 38). While I do have many stories about living with CF, that is not what this post is about. It’s about being able to do something that you never thought you could.

About 4 years ago, I got a second chance. Not through a lung transplant but with a breakthrough medication. At the urging of my doctor, I participated in a clinical trial for a new drug. This new medication works on a particular CF gene mutation and helps to correct the transport of salt in patients’ cells which, in turn decreases the mucus and helps clear their lungs. This has helped my lung functions to increase from the low 50s to over 60% – all within two weeks of starting the medication.

I have been able to maintain my lung functions and with this new found “freedom”, I decided to try something that I never before thought I would be able to do – running. I know what some of you may be thinking – why running? Well, basically because I can. I run for me and for all those can’t run or never got the chance. While I’m definitely not the fastest runner, I have finished over 20 5K’s and even walked two half marathons in the past two years.

Of course, I couldn’t have gone this far in my life and in running without the support of my husband, Eric and my family. Eric and I, along with my sister and brother-in-law, now run races together and often for charity. Last year, we helped raise $1,300 for CF research and this year we would like to do the same for the ASPCA. In honor of our two buddies above, Luna and Beckett, Eric and I have joined Team ASPCA for the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon in November.

It will be a challenge but it is a wonderful opportunity to help animals in need. For those of you who are animal lovers and would like to help us raise money for this worthy cause, please visit our fundraising pages. Please remember any amount helps!

Even if you aren’t able to donate, I hope this story helps inspire you to go out and try something you have always wanted to do!

Eric and Kerri Team ASPCA