It doesn’t do justice to our Nike race without acknowledging the inspiration behind the A Team: Ashley Barth & Aiden Bryan. As two shining examples of leukemia survivors, we are grateful for fundraisers like The Nike Women’s Marathon, which donates millions of dollars to aid leukemia research.
I had two emotional moments on Sunday that reminded me what the race is all about. First, just after mile 24, I saw Ashley and Evan Barth cheering me on. Seeing Ashley standing along the side of the course, healthy and happy, gave me a tremendous boost as well as a big lump in my throat.
Ashley’s recovery has been incredible. It’s easy to forget that just 5 years ago Ashley was on a full regimen of chemo, steroids, losing all her hair, and learning that she “can be scared and brave at the same time.” Ashley’s get-through-treatment slogan became a rally cry for the Knudsens. Whenever we encounter something fearful, the mantra that helped Ashley has continued to inspire us.
Then, after the race at our impromptu A Team potluck dinner, Aiden came busting into the Smith’s backyard with a burst of energy and all smiles. Watching Aiden at the potluck as he played with the younger kids and teased with the adults was my second sweet reminder.
So the Nike event consists of running, but in addition to the fun race, over 118 million dollars have been donated for leukemia research. Hopefully one day they’ll find a cure. And, one day we can cheer Aiden and Ashley on if they ever decide to run a marathon. In the meantime, they are both thriving, and ultimately, that’s far more important than any running event.