Happy Wednesday friends, we are halfway there (thank goodness, because this has been one heck of a week). I wanted to take some time to shine a light on someone who is very near and dear to my heart: my cousin, Jordan! She is one of the best, most selfless people that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing! She is smart, funny, compassionate, kind of ditzy (Paula Notes…I’ll explain in a future post!) and every bit of amazing! She moved to Memphis almost 4 years ago and immediately started working towards her PhD in Anatomy & Neurobiology -aka- Neuroscience (I told you she was bright); she embraced her new city like nothing I’ve ever seen. In the past four years she’s made friends, joined a wine club, been published, become a nanny, explored her city, eaten amazing food, received a NIH grant (read more about that here), become a dog sitter, tried gardening (didn’t work out – lol), mentored high school students, picked up running, presented research at various conferences, and run the St. Jude Half Marathon; she’s a very busy girl, I can barely keep up! Despite her gosh awful (her words) gardening skills (would they even be called skills?), she has hit everything else out of the park!
While I am extremely proud of all of her scholastic achievements, I am even more enamored with her desire and passion to be a St. Jude Hero. In 2015, after winning free entry into one of the biggest party races in Memphis, her love affair with running began! Unfortunately, a variety of injuries kept her out of her running shoes for the next 8 months. Despite those injuries, her spirit for wanting to be a part of something so much bigger than herself never wavered. She remembers a time in 2015 while living downtown during race weekend when she had to make a grocery run; she said that she was driving (slowly of course) through the streets and saw thousands of people running, even more people lining the streets cheering them on, and a plethora of people wearing shirts honoring current or past St. Jude patients. She explained that in that moment, she was overcome by the feeling of wanting to be a part of something so special and was willing to give everything she had to contribute to such an extraordinary cause! Fast forward to May of 2016 and Jordan hit the ground running! She decided she was healthy enough to give this whole half-marathon thing a shot and went on her way to train for the biggest race of her life. She decided to pledge the minimum monetary requirement of $500 dollars last year and easily surpassed her goal (how amazing). She was diligent in her training and on December 3rd, 2016 she ran her first ever half marathon. She describes the experience as nothing short of amazing and said the atmosphere was the most insane (in the best way) thing she’s ever seen. She said the local businesses all come together and get bands to play outside of their respective locations along the race route; people string lights and make food, and there are plenty of folks handing out water, tissues, and anything else you could think of. She recounts the feeling of running through St. Jude with 30,000+ people and remembers high-fiving hundreds of people on her way to the finish line; that experience, she says, simply cannot be beat!
Jordan always refers to running the St. Jude Half Marathon as the must fun she’s ever had running in her life and I am happy to report that she has decided to take the plunge (again) and put on her running shoes once more for an incredible cause. This year she has stepped out on faith and pledged a fundraising commitment of $1500 dollars and I have no doubt that she will reach her goal! If you are at all touched by Jordan’s previous experience and what St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital does for so many families, then I would encourage you to check out her fundraising page and learn more about her story and how you can help her reach her goal of becoming a St. Jude Hero once again! Along with monetary donations, which I know aren’t feasible for everyone, prayers and positive vibes as she begins her training journey are encouraged and greatly appreciated!
I’m so lucky to call this incredible human my cousin and my very best friend! Please help me in supporting her dream as she embarks on her half marathon journey once again! Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post, I will talk to you guys soon!