Bravery and Strength

I have invited Sunnee Kidd, a local cancer survivor, to blog about the upcoming Project Athena Racing Series, which will be held Saturday, Sept. 17 on the campus of Virginia Wesleyan College. Project Athena helps women that have had breast cancer or other medical or traumatic setbacks live out their athletic and adventure dreams, whether that dream be to complete their first 5K race or to climb Kilimanjaro. Project Athena provides all of the training and financial support required for the survivor to live out this dream. For more information about the race series, click HERE. See a cool video HERE. Good luck, Sunnee, and all the other brave, strong women!

Here's Sunnee's story:

Project Athena Racing Series is more than just a 10k run, 5k hike and 1k kids’ challenge.

It’s a membership into a family of survivors who understand, relate, encourage and embrace the person you are today.

While training to run my first marathon 8 years ago, I was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer.  Once I received the “all clear” from the medical community, I returned to the gym.  However, I soon realized I was holding back.  I was afraid to emotionally invest in my dreams; I didn’t know how.  I found that I harbored myriad negative emotions toward my body. I was angry at it for getting sick in the first place, fearful that it would let me down again and resentful that my life wasn’t the life I was once had.

Last November, my friend Marie encouraged me to register as a “Survivor” for the Project Athena 15k.  It was my first race. I had just started running 2 months prior, so I didn’t know what to expect. Survivors wore orange-colored tech shirts so everyone on the course would know who we were and could cheer us on! I received countless high-five’s and shouts of encouragement. What a fantastic experience!

That race started a chain reaction which has changed my life!  This past June, Project Athena awarded me an Athenaship.  This grant was an amazing opportunity to fulfill a life-long dream I had almost given up on.  I hiked the Grand Canyon from rim to rim to rim, 46 miles, in just two (2) days! In those 48 hours, I demanded a lot from my body. I dared it to fail on me and it almost did! Almost!

Project Athena celebrates not only our bravery and strength, but that of our family and friends who joined us on our bumpy and frightening ride. Setbacks, struggles and speed-bumps are inevitable; they’re a part of all of our lives. Project Athena has helped me find my mo-jo; that inner spark that drives us.  Proof? My story doesn’t end here. October 30, 2011, I will finally run my marathon!

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