My Fundraising Page
Nov 11, 2009 by Dara Croci
On April 19th, 2010, I'll be running my second Boston Marathon in memory of my Dad. I wanted to share my story with you, once again, in the form of a letter to him. He lost his valiant battle with lymphoma on July 25, 2001. I hope you'll support me in reaching my goal of raising $11,278. This is $1 more than I raised last year...because it will only take $1 to cure cancer, and we need to find that dollar!
I've been thinking long and hard about what to write to you in this year's marathon letter. It was so rewarding to dedicate my time and energy towards completing the 2009 Boston Marathon and raise much needed funds for LLS. I threw my heart and soul into that race and I knew when I crossed that finish line, I wasn't done. I wasn't done with my personal journey and I wasn't done with my fight against cancer. I was afforded the opportunity to participate in this prestigious race, and I did it for you and for all of those who are battling cancer. I did it to save lives. What I didn't expect, was to receive a gift in return. A gift I've been waiting eight years for.
What is this gift you ask? It was experiencing a broken heart on the mend. It was the feeling of true content and peace. It was the realization that happiness is not a place that can be traveled to. You see, this was the first time in eight years that I felt my spirit and my heart working as one, effortlessly. This may seem like a lot to get out of one marathon, but let me explain. When you died, I lost a piece of myself. My heart was heavy, my soul shaken, and my foundation cracked. I carried the grief around with me like a security blanket, not wanting to lose you and not wanting to forget you. I followed your words by continuing to put one foot in front of the other and by moving forward with a smile on my face (which was sometimes forced). I graduated from college, went on to get my Master's Degree, traveled the country, worked hard, and accepted the many opportunities that were afforded to me. However, I never really did any of this with my whole heart. I thought I was, but looking back, I really wasn't. What I was doing was running - running from the past that hurt so much while feverishly trying to find that piece of me I lost when you died. I was tirelessly searching for the happiness that I felt was missing, and I searched for that in everything I did. For so long I thought that I couldn't be happy, and shouldn't be happy, because of my broken heart. I wanted so desperately to live life with the bright spirit I always had, and I was so determined to get to this "place" where I would find it. What I finally realized through all of this searching is that I wasn't wholeheartedly and truly enjoying the journey. I was rushing through each moment in my life, each experience, each interaction, each relationship..just to reach the destination of happiness. It is only now, through the years of soul searching, the months of running, and the hours of looking deep inside myself, do I understand that happiness isn't a place that can be traveled to. It's the moments of the here and now - the journey. It seems so elementary, that I can be happy if I allow myself to really "feel" each moment of life, instead of searching to find it. Go figure, what I was endlessly looking for was in my heart this whole time!
So there you have it, enjoying the journey is the key to happiness. Appreciating life's blessings and challenges, the good days and bad, and having the faith to learn and grow from each experience. I have to say that I feel like I figured out the key to life! Well, the key to my life, at least. Losing you was part of my journey. Of course I don't like it, and sure, the pain will always be there, but the loss has helped me to learn and grow into the person I've always wanted to be. Dad, you gave me my foundation of strength, character, and grace, and it is these qualities that have helped me through life thus far. I don't need to carry the sadness and pain around to keep you with me. You are with me, in everything that I do, and you always will be. I will enjoy every moment with love and grace, and it is only then that my heart will feel at peace and my spirit will burn brightly.
So you see Dad, I need this marathon. I need this training. This entire experience is my therapy, starting with this letter. I've been anxiously waiting since April to start training again. To me, it's a time I can "spend" with you and it makes me feel complete. My heart is in this race, Dad, and I know that when I step on that start line on April 19th, your heart will be there too.
I love you,
Thank you for your support and generosity!
If you'd like to donate by check, please make payable to LLS and send to:
915 Edgell Road, #81
Framingham, MA 01701