Race #32 – Running for Hope, Help, Suicide Prevention

Forward is forward, no matter the pace

Race #32: Run for It 5K

The Cause: The nonprofit To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA)

Today, my friend Linda & I ran (together in spirit) for those struggling with self-injury, depression & suicide. We ran to turn pain into peace, addiction into sobriety, regret into freedom. The nationwide, virtual “Run for It 5K” raised about $90,000 for the nonprofit To Write Love On Her Arms. Their mission?

You were created to love and be loved.
People need other people.
Your story is important.
Better days are ahead.
Hope and help are real.

TWLOHA Mission Statement

Originally, Linda & I planned on gathering a group of Harrisburg River Runners together for a big group run from City Island. I don’t want to harp on COVID-19 wreaking havoc in our lives. But Linda & I forged ahead with our plans to run together, virtually.

In addition to running, Linda and I have a LOT in common. We are both writers, communicators, grammar nazis who message each other with crazy unbelievable typos we’ve found, and we both believe firmly in balanced, unbiased TRUTH from reputable news sources.

So it was only natural that Linda had the great idea for us to literally “write on our arms” for our virtual race photo. As I ran, I reflected on the words on my arm, “Your story is important.” It’s one of TWLOHA’s key messages. Every life matters. As a writer, I wholeheartedly believe that every story matters. And this was an especially poignant message for me to focus upon as I ran, because my life has been touched and affected by those who were suicidal and those who ultimately chose the route of suicide.

United in running & writing… Karen & Linda

I’m so grateful to friends like Linda for suggesting great races and great causes! And I’m not going to lie–we were both “in” as soon as we saw the race shirt design! Linda summarizes what this race meant to her, so beautifully:

“I’ve known about the organization To Write Love on Her Arms since its beginning because some of my students told me about it. And when I saw another friend post about this virtual 5k, I knew I had to do it. For the record, I don’t typically ‘do’ virtual runs but this one was different. Okay, I’ll be honest–it was the shirt that first attracted me. But, I also knew the cause was an important one because I know multiple young women who have cut themselves and now cover the scars although I know some are still healing inside.”

Linda continues, “This morning, I woke up with bad allergies around 8:40–ten minutes after my planned run time of 8:30. I then set 11 am as my new start time. Not feeling much better, I thought about just skipping it. After all, my virtual run really didn’t matter. I had donated to the organization and, in turn, got the shirt I wanted. But, then I started thinking about the organization itself and what it represents. And I began to wonder–how many times does a person who cuts feel like just giving up?”

“I began to realize that I had an opportunity to push through and to really think about what it must be like to be someone in that much pain. So, I finally got myself together and finished my 3.1 non-virtual miles in honor and support of this organization whose mission it is to remind people they are loved. In short, this meant I ‘moved for something that mattters.’ As their vision statement says, ‘We live in a difficult world, a broken world. We believe everyone can relate to pain, all of us live with questions, and all of us get stuck in moments. You need to know you’re not alone in the places you feel stuck.'”

For anyone who is feeling alone, broken or stuck, TWLOHA can help. And for anyone who has the means, we encourage you to share a little love back with them at https://twloha.com/.

Running Inspired Miles in Mechanicsburg, PA

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