Purple Community Blog

1 Nov 2019

At 2019 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, Team Hope member honors mother’s memory

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On Oct. 13, 45,000 runners filled the streets of the Windy City to run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Purple Community was lucky enough to have 23 amazing athletes run for Team Hope. Each of these determined runners had a reason for running — a story that kept them going throughout the 26.2 miles they had to complete. Rory Beth was one of these courageous runners who braved the rain in 40-degree weather. Here is her story:

January 2017 is when my relationship with Purple Community started, as a Road Warrior for the Fifth Third River Bank Run (now the Amway River Bank Run). I had just lost my Mom that August to pancreatic cancer. My mom worked for Lake Michigan Credit Union and she would volunteer her time at events.

Running is something my mom got me into after having my second child. She was always telling me how much fun it was, how it was time for myself and a how it’s a great way to stay healthy. She was right. Eventually it turned into something more; I truly enjoyed it, looked forward to it, missed it when I didn’t get it in and found it therapeutic. The River Bank Run is a run that I hold very near and dear to my heart. It was my first race and a race my mom and I did together.

After the River Bank Run was done in May 2017, my relationship grew even more with Van Andel Institute and Purple Community. I continued to raise money for them, attended events and eventually became an at-large Purple Community Executive Cabinet member. The scientists at VAI are doing amazing things, and right here in Grand Rapids!

In October 2018 I got the marathon bug! I committed to running the 2019 Chicago Marathon in memory of my mom, while fundraising for VAI. I am not going to sugarcoat this or lie: training for a marathon is very time-consuming and hard, especially with a family. Thankfully I have a very supportive husband and two amazing kids. They were understanding, supportive and encouraging. I didn’t always want to get in my cross training or runs, especially those long ones, but other days I couldn’t wait to get them in.

In the beginning of this process, I said several times that this is the only marathon I will ever run. Now, I can’t say that for sure, especially when I can fundraise for a charity so dear to me while training.

Rory Beth’s moving story shows how Purple Community gives hope to those who have been impacted by diseases like cancer. Inspirational stories like Rory Beth’s are part of the reason Purple Community loves doing what we do. We thank Rory Beth and all of the other fearless runners that ran to give hope to those affected by cancer and Parkinson’s.

If you are interested in running for Team Hope in 2020, we are taking applications for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon now. For more information, click HERE!