Two years ago today, I woke up and went for a run in Johnson City, TN and my life changed forever. I was completely unaware on my run that I was being targeted and followed by a paroled rapist. Later that night, I was attacked in my home by a serial rapist who broke in through a bathroom window and grabbed me while I laid on the couch reading a book.
I am blessed to be here today and that I wasn’t raped that night. I am even more fortunate that through the love and friendship of the people in my life we have been able to turn that horrible night into something that helps others. Thank you to everyone who has supported Rising Strength and encouraged me along the way.
One week after the attack, I ran a 1/2 marathon in Asheville, NC. While I was running the race I was overcome with feelings of relief and gratitude. I had the same feelings of gratitude and triumph last year when I put together a team to take on the 2014 Blue Ridge Relay to raise awareness for the violence that occurs against women and promote self-defense. We had such a great experience that we decided to do it again!
Last week we took on 208 miles of constant running and some seriously daunting hills to raise awareness for message of Rising Strength. Thank you so much Beth, Teigen, Erik, Ashley, Jamie, Brett, Holly, Melissa and Rett for being on the Rising Strength Blue Ridge Relay team and making it such an incredible experience! Thank you to our sponsors Interstate Container, Evco, Team Kattouf, OralID, Appalachian Federal Community Credit Union, Tri-Cities Nisan and Broyles Florist .
In the days leading up to the relay, I had the opportunity to speak to the female athletes at Tusculum College in Greeneville, TN and to a high school class at Happy Valley High School in Elizabethton, TN. I was blown away with how attentive the students were at both schools and the great questions that they had for me. There is so much negativity constantly portrayed in our media about the general apathy and indifference of our generation. It was refreshing to be around young students who prove those negative sentiments false. Thank you to the student athletes at Tusculum College and Happy Valley High School for your attention, kindness and thought provoking questions it was a joy to spend time with you and share my story.
Thank you Jenna Handshoe for setting up the talk at Tusculum College. Your athletes along with the other teams that were present are wonderful and it was an honor to spend time with them.
Thank you Adam Copeland for setting up the talk with your students. I enjoyed speaking with your students and was so impressed with their questions and contributions to the talk. Your students are very lucky to have a teacher who cares not only about their education but their safety. Thank you for having me!