Richmond racing holds a special place in my heart. I started competing in the city's spring 10k "block party" in 2013 and loved the spirit and enthusiasm the community has for this sport, and I got to participate with and visit family! Double win! Last year, in their fall race event held near Veteran's Day, I made my marathon debut.
While Richmond running offers many opportunities to raise money for VCU cancer research and care, I've chosen to return the same fall weekend this year and simultaneously fundraise for and spread the message of Herren Project.
Both addiction and recovery touch the lives of my family and friends. Additionally, my hometown community, as featured in the increasingly well-known and influential book Dopesick by Beth Macy, has been widely affected by the opioid crisis. Lastly, after watching Herren Project founder Chris Herren's documentary First Day on its premiere earlier this year, the seed planted solidified into desiring to actively spread this organization's mission of treatment, recovery, and awareness of all types of addiction and mental illness.
As a recovering emotional and overeater, coupled with daily battling anxiety and depression, I proclaim that these sufferers have been denied a voice and been marginalized for too long. Addiction is scary. Mental illnesses are unpredictable and newer to public awareness. But both are not going away any time soon.
Please consider encouraging my run, recovery, and those of countless others who are likely mere degrees of separation from you! We stand and fight stronger together!