Andrea: Dreams Do Come True

My experience with SRLA has been a life changing journey. I decided to join SRLA in 2016 when I heard that students could participate in a marathon that would encourage them to learn the life goal of commitment. I decided to join the marathon to learn what commitment felt like.

I suffer from Systemic Lupus Erythematousus, which is an auto immune disease in the body that mistakenly attacks healthy tissue and can cause painful flares. When I joined SRLA and started training for a marathon no one truly believed I would make it the finish line. They called me crazy! They told me to take it easy, said I was fragile, but I wouldn’t let them tell me what I could and couldn’t do. I wanted to prove that anyone with enough determination could run a marathon and that no matter what anyone said, I could do it!

Running is one of my favorite sports and training for the marathon was a challenge. It took a lot of self motivation, support, and encouragement from friends and family not to throw in the towel. Many times I found it difficult to wake up early in the morning to run roughly 8 miles every Saturday with my team. But I was determined to pull through. At every race I felt rewarded to cross the finish line and be one step closer to the monster marathon. With SRLA I discovered new places I had never been to before and many new friends. My favorite part of training was working up an appetite. My least favorite part was running in the sun. I feel very fortunate to have participated in SRLA because I discovered that only you as a person limit yourself, and only you have the power to change that.

I ran the 2017 SRLA marathon with an amazing group of people and I ran the 2018 SRLA marathon with a new team. I looked forward to participating in my second marathon because I had experience and would be more mentally prepared. I was also excited to be running with my running buddy, Mrs. Neal, who is one of the most amazing people I know and strongly dedicated to anything she sets her mind too. I hope to learn the true meaning of commitment with SRLA and encourage others to take part in something outside of their usual self and challenge themselves. I believe that everyone should take the opportunity to surpass their limits and discover that they can do so much more than they thought they could. The best advice I’ve received during my running is to stay hydrated and keep moving forward. When you stop running it’s really hard to get started again, and only makes the run so much longer.

I’d like to thank everyone who’s accompanied me through this journey and SRLA for making such an amazing program possible! When you put your heart and mind to it, dreams do come true. Thank you!

To support Andrea and her teammates as they discover that they can make their dreams come true, make a donation today.