Sarah Coleman: Run Jenny Run
Steamboat Springs — Today, I write in honor of a brave woman who is running from New Mexico to Wyoming. Last time I checked, that’s a really long way — more than 500 miles of trails, dirt, concrete and mountains. She is strong and fearless; she is dedicated and inspiring.
She pushes on when others would quit. She smiles. She cries. She runs with epilepsy.
On Sept. 19, Jenny LaBaw set out on the 500-mile run across the Colorado Rockies to raise awareness and funds for epilepsy research.
LaBaw is a hero in many ways. At the age of 8, she was diagnosed with epilepsy. Enduring the physical, mental and emotional challenges — along with the side-effects of medication and the ever-present fear of being “different — LaBaw’s ability to overcome these challenges has helped shaped who she is today. She is a leader, a CrossFit athlete, a daughter, a sister and a true mountain girl.
LaBaw was born in Rifle, not far from here and the outdoor lifestyle in which many Steamboat residents partake. She likes to hike, bike and fish. She also likes ice cream and avocados. Yet, Jenny does all of this with a condition that frightens her every day. And that anxiety is what keeps her heart pumping and her dream alive. She is one of the most passionate women out there.
Epilepsy is a chronic disorder, the hallmark of which is recurrent, unprovoked seizures. Many people with epilepsy have more than one type of seizure and may have other neurological symptoms, as well. Sixty-five million people around the world have epilepsy. Nearly 3 million people in the United States have epilepsy, and about one in 26 people in the United States will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime.
Look around you. Someone you know may suffer in silence. LaBaw runs so others don’t have to be afraid anymore. She runs so that others can run with her. She runs to raise awareness for epilepsy.
And LaBaw is moving mountains.
“At some point in life, we are all faced with obstacles that seem like mountains too tall to climb, like the world is against us, like we are trapped,” LaBaw wrote on her blog. “The magnitude at which these affect us is greatly dependent on the attitude with which we approach the situations. Labawlife (LaBaw’s website) is a place where I hope people can come for inspiration, education and support to help discover direction on how to Move Mountains.”
LaBaw’s beliefs and goals are aligned with the core mission of the Epilepsy Foundation and the message of its Athletes vs Epilepsy initiative, a nationwide program for athletes, coaches, volunteers and fans. Athletes vs Epilepsy’s goal is to raise awareness, build participation and help fund the Epilepsy Foundation’s mission.
Want to run with LaBaw? This Saturday, Oct. 17, she will run the last leg of her journey, leaving the CrossFit Steamboat gym at 8 a.m. Come run, bike, make a sign and cheer her on. Everyone is welcome, even the kids.
This girl deserves a big ol’ cheering section. And if that doesn’t fire you up, come meet LaBaw at 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19, at CrossFit Steamboat for live music, light snacks and beer.
Keep moving mountains Jenny. You inspire us.
For more on LaBaw or to donate to epilepsy awareness, visit labawlife.com.
Sarah Coleman brings years of personal health and fitness knowledge to the table. Currently she is health and wellness director at The Foundry, a personal trainer, “CrossFitter,” coach, outdoor enthusiast, managing partner with Inspired Live Network and owner of A weight Lifted Fitness Camp. She provides flawless technique and a positive attitude. Taking fitness to new levels, she uses the outdoor environment, your living room or work space, as well as the gym, to influence and push her clientele. Funky knee socks and outrageous colors make Sarah unique, which transfers into her training and brings a smile to everyone’s face.
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