Purple Community Blog

19 Oct 2018

Hope Runs for Miles

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It’s hard to believe the 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon has come and gone, but this marathon season isn’t over for Team Hope yet!

On October 7, 33 people from Purple Community Team Hope took to the streets of Chicago to take on 26.2 miles. They did so with passion, making their strides purposeful. Our runners competed with the common goal of supporting cancer, Parkinson’s and other disease research at Van Andel Institute.

The day before the race we had the honor of having Maranda join us in Grant Park to check in on a few runners! Some of our team members reflected on why the research occurring at Van Andel Institute hits home.

One of our team members, Alexis Hartman, had this to say about her experience:

“The marathon was just a whirlwind of emotions – I was anxious, excited, nervous, happy, worried, hopeful and even a little scared at times. But then I remembered why I was running – for my Grandpa Hartman and my cousin Audrey Lou.

My Grandpa Hartman passed away from cancer in 2004 when I was just in 4th grade. He was a simple yet profound man, who always made me laugh, feel loved and care about. He was a fighter until the very end and loved strongly until it was his time to leave us.

I think of him often when I see old cars, listen to certain music and watch NASCAR. I signed up for this marathon after my best friend, Hannah Acosta did it last year. Then I was just running for my Grandpa Hartman. However, my five-year-old cousin Audrey Lou passed away in January of this year and everything changed.

She was born with a Down syndrome and a congenital heart defect, but these were not things that defined her. Audrey was defined by her bright Red Glasses, her contagious smile, and her lack of inhibitions.

She went through life like a little bulldozer, pushing her way through every door possible to achieve her goals again and again. She had a way of loving indiscriminately and without restrictions. She was a shining example of love, kindness, and courage in this world.

We started the Red Glasses Movement as her living legacy- to live boldly, love big and pass it on- just as she did every day of her profound little life. So once she passed, I decided that my Grandpa Hartman, Audrey and I would run the marathon together- and I felt them both every step of the way.

I wore red glasses through all 26.2 miles and tried to smile as much as I could throughout the run. I wanted people to see that even in the most tragic of circumstances, there is always a chance to your life as bold as possible and to love loud and big!”

Although the 2018 Chicago Marathon is completed, we still have another group of 10 Team Hope runners getting ready to head to New York City for the TCS New York City Marathon on November 4.

We are so grateful to these runners who have dedicated countless hours of training and fundraising to spread our message of 100% HOPE.

Stay tuned for total fundraising amounts from the marathons, coming soon! Also, keep an eye out for 2019 Team Hope information in the coming months if you are interested in joining us for a marathon. Click HERE for more information on joining us for Chicago 2019!