65 Miles for 65 Roses

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65 Miles for 65 Roses in Honor of Katie Richardson

A couple months ago our family's world was rocked when my sister-in-law, Katie Bax Richardson, passed away suddenly from cancer. In addition, Katie fought Cystic Fibrosis her entire life. Katie was an inspiration to everyone she met. Upon meeting her, you would never know she suffered from anything - from CF to cancer.

It still doesn't seem real. I already miss the plans I had made - if only just in my head - for the fun we'd have. I didn't take for granted the great times we had and the memories we made...yet, I never would've imagined the last time we'd be together would be the last.

She graced us all with that unforgettable, fun sense of humor and a smile that lit up the room. She loved all, yet none more than her family. She will be missed, but her legacy of living life to the fullest and loving in the moment, will be celebrated. "No day but today."

My sister, Angela's, birthday is July 6 and to celebrate and to honor Katie, she has decided to run 65 miles in a month. To celebrate her birthday and to honor Katie, I will be joining in this endeavor. My passion fundraiser will raise money for the Heart of America Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation by running 65 miles from June 6 to July 6.

We run to honor Katie. We run to accomplish a challenge, and we embrace this challenge, just as Katie was driven to overcome challenges and to accomplish goals her entire life. She worked hard and achieved much-deserved success. Her legacy has been imprinted on me forever.

More info about Katie's experience with CF taken from her memorial:
"When she was diagnosed at age 3, the life expectancy was only in the early teens. However, Katie was always a fighter. Katie refused to be defined by the disease or beaten by it. She was frequently an advocate for others with CF – speaking to legislators on Capitol Hill, being interviewed in Redbook and on National Public Radio, and being a public speaker at various CF events. She frequently spoke with parents of CF children as an example of how their children could have a full life in spite of the disease."

I got involved with the CF Great Strides walks sometime after college and it became very clear to me right away what Katie's story was...You see, when I would tell committee members, often family members of children with CF that Katie was married to my brother, had 3 sons, was in her (then 30's, then 40's) - she was a story of hope. Often many diagnosed with CF do not feel that hope is an option. But when I told her story...my friends and fellow Great Strides committee members just looked on with such hope.
In the end, Katie beat CF. She will always leave a legacy of hope.