SHARE YOUR STORY: DARADEE
I was never a runner. My husband and I were very social and we spent most of our nights going out and having drinks. We matured a little and decided it was our time to start a family. We became pregnant with our son in 2009. We found out at 18 weeks in utero he was going to be born with a heart defect. We spent the pregnancy in search of the best surgeons and team to deliver and be ready for my son's arrival.
He had 4 different heart defects and unfortunately they were just too complex for him. After two open heart surgeries and days on life support he ended up having a stroke and passing. He lived for an amazing 26 days and taught me more in those short days than I have learned in my 41 years on this earth. He is my little angel and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of him. He has made me who I am today and how I have changed my life for the better. His name was Liam and it means courageous warrior. We started up a foundation called LoveIAM.
I immediately became pregnant again after we lost our son Liam and we were lucky enough to give birth to a beautiful baby girl named Hudsyn. She wasn't due until mid-April but she decided to come early. It was appropriate the day she chose, which was March 26th.
After Liam passed my husband decided not to abuse his lungs and body. He quit smoking and drinking. He lost over 45 pounds and within a year did his first Ironman. We realized how our son never had the opportunity to be luckily enough to have a healthy heart and all we were doing was abusing the good one we had.
Back to the 26...Liam lived for 26 days, my daughter was born on the 26th of March, and a marathon is 26 miles. This to me was a sign for me to get back into shape and start running. I committed to enter my first marathon - actually my first race ever - in October 2011. I wanted to complete my first race before I turned 40. I got in and completed my very first race ever in 4:29. It was such an amazing feeling. I ran with my son looking over me the entire time. It was an accomplishment I never thought I could achieve.
After the race in October, I decided to see what it would be like to complete a half marathon! I signed up for one, but four weeks before the race I was diagnosed with cancer. It was a bit overwhelming but I knew this was going to be easier than losing my son. I ended up running the half marathon and went in for surgery on that Tuesday. I had to have a complete thyroid removal and had to have the largest dose of radiation that they can give one person at any given time. It was rough and set me back some but I am a fighter and powered through it.
After all of my treatment was done I could start running again. I learned that everyone runs with a purpose. Everyone has a story and the running community is just an amazing group of people.
I signed up for Big Cottonwood full marathon with the goal of qualifying for Boston. I want the opportunity to share my story to fellow runners. Let them know they are not alone. You run with a purpose and with passion. Big Cottonwood here I come!
UPDATE: Daradee ran the Big Cottonwood Marathon in 2013 and hit her Boston-qualifying mark with a time of 3:41. Congrats, Daradee, and thank you for such an inspiring story!