why I run

Nov 16, 2022 / Rheumatology

Why I Run: Coming Full Circle

Meet Laura, a patient who was seen by our team of Rheumatology experts. Learn more about her journey below.

Blog written by Laura.

As a former patient of Scottish Rite for Children, running in the BMW Marathon represents my life coming full circle.
When I was 2 years old, my mom noticed a baker's cyst on the back of my knee. She took me to see the doctors at Scottish Rite, where I was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. I was a Scottish Rite patient my entire childhood. As a child, I sometimes found it difficult to walk, especially in the mornings. As I got older, I would frequently and easily get sick. As a teenager, I tried to play basketball, but my knees gave me trouble and I remember feeling like I was the only person who had to wear knee braces. I wanted to be part of the team, but I felt like I was just holding the team back. My joints would often ache, and the arthritis impacted my right knee, left ankle, neck, and various fingers. 
That was part of my childhood, but so was Scottish Rite. Even though it is a hospital, Scottish Rite is a magical place in the eyes of a child. I remember walking through the doors and being greeted by the smell of popcorn. I looked forward to seeing the mobile in the atrium and I smiling faces always greeted me by name. These little things all helped to make long days less arduous. The nurse who would do my labs never had to stick me twice and I credit her for not making me scared of needles. She was flawless. The walls in her lab area were covered with pictures of her current and former patients and I remember thinking that I could not wait to be included on her wall.
During my 17 years as a patient, I worked with the development department on different activities. I spoke at a charity golf tournament, organized a volunteer effort with a group of my friends to visit the hospital dressed as clowns and organized a fundraiser to donate stuffed animals to inpatients. I also had the opportunity to attend Camp John Mark (link) for three years. Being able to attend camp helped me gain so much self-confidence and helped me realize that I never wanted to take my health for granted.
As an adult, I have earned my bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. I am a 5th grade US History Teacher. I have solo climbed the highest peak in Colorado as well as another 14,000 ft peak. I have run a half marathon plus a full marathon.  

I tell you all of this because when I ran my first half marathon, I felt that my life had come full circle. This race directly benefits the organization that allowed me to run without pain. I would love for my story to inspire and encourage other patients. I want people to know that the sky is the limit, and a diagnosis should never stop you from going after your dreams.

Since 1997, Scottish Rite for Children has been the primary beneficiary of the BMW Dallas Marathon. In December, spectators will line the streets and neighborhoods of Dallas to cheer on participants, including former patient Laura. Learn more about registering for the BMW Dallas Marathon and how to support runners like Laura.

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