I started running to find an outlet from my grueling schedule that is the life of a music major in college. I spent many of my days practicing and to break up the monotony of the practice room hours I took to the paths around campus to hit the refresh button. During college, my father was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), a nervous system disease that causes weakness and inhibits movement. Running became a way to cope with the “loss” of my dad’s movement.

Fast forward a few years, and I had the harebrained idea to shoot for the moon and run a marathon and to add to that attempt a Boston Marathon qualification. The fact that my dad had been slowly losing his movement over the past few years had made me determined to never give up on my dreams and to dream big. As Olympic marathoner Shalane Flanagan says, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough.”

My dad had lost his ability to ride a bike within two years of his diagnosis. To any avid endurance athlete that’s our worst nightmare, losing our movement. In my running mission, I was determined to keep moving for him. Long story short my marathon dreams were dashed with an injury. While laid up injured, however, I found my place in the running community… with an organization called MS Run the US. This organization runs across the country as a relay team to raise money for MS research with each runner running 160-250 miles over 7-10 days—a little over a marathon a day. At the time, I didn’t know it but I had not only found my purpose in running but I found my family. I was determined to join this group.