In order for you to understand the significance of today in my life, I need to share how it was significant in Dad’s life.

On May 17, 1984, the day started like most every weekday. I was in the 7th grade (13 years old) and my brother was in the 5th grade (11 years old). I had (again) hit my snooze button enough times that I heard “Jorene!” come down the hall in Dad’s authoritative voice (which I only remember hearing for that reason). He would take me to school most days since the junior high was on his way to the school district administration office.

On this day, though, Dad’s normal 3-mile trip home for lunch wasn’t “normal” at all. He wasn’t feeling well and got sick on the steps outside the back door. Mom wasn’t home, and this was well before cell phones. And we lived a good 20 minutes from the nearest hospital. Dad knew that he was not okay, and he also knew that calling 911 and waiting for an ambulance could mean that Mom would find him unconscious or worse. So he drove to the hospital. And not to the first hospital. He passed by Memorial and drove another 5 or so minutes to St. Elizabeth’s, which had a heart center.

I did not find out about Dad’s heart attack until after my track meet when I asked Mom why Dad wasn’t there. He was ALWAYS there for our home meets. Even though I often finished last, he was there and told me how proud of me he was.

Dad received a life-saving angioplasty that afternoon. By the only (or one of a very few) doctor in Yakima who could perform the procedure. The doctor who was NOT scheduled to be at the hospital that day, but was. The doctor who Mom insisted be a pallbearer at Dad’s funeral last year…

Dad was overweight with high cholesterol. He had a family history of heart disease. He had occasionally smoked a pipe during my younger years. He had a massive heart attack that “should have” taken him from us. He was 4 days away from turning 48 years old.

Today, I am 4 days away from turning 48 years old. If Dad was still alive today, I’d be sharing with him the 8 mile run that I did this morning. A run that demonstrates the ability of someone to combat a family history of heart disease. Notice that I didn’t say “beat” a family history or “eliminated” a family history. I am simply doing what I need to do to combat the family history I have on both sides of my family. I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy a nice big bowl of ice cream, because I absolutely do. My husband and I pay close attention to the foods we eat, the volume of food we eat, the balance of protein to carbs, sugar, etc, and we exercise.

I have run 6 full marathons and too many half marathons to count since 2008. The Dopey Challenge that I am currently training for ( is serving 2 very important purposes that are significant to my family history.

I am training for and running the 48.6 miles over the course of 4 days to continue to combat heart disease. This is in honor of Dad’s 33 years of survival after his heart attack. AND, I am running to raise money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, a foundation that funds research to cure childhood cancer. This is in memory of my niece, who passed away at the age of 11 in 2015.

Your support of my training and participation in the Dopey Challenge January 9-12, 2019 will honor both my Dad and my niece. Any amount will add you to the list of my supporters.

48…I’m coming for you!

One year…. Dear Dad,

Dad –
It’s been one year since you passed away. When I got the call from Mike that morning, I didn’t know how I would be able to make it through. And here I am a year later wishing I could turn back time a decade or so.

There are days when the year feels like it has gone by quickly and as many days that feel like they move slowly. Significant days seem to take longer to get through, like Father’s Day, your wedding anniversary, my birthday, Christmas…. And yet here I am, writing to you a full year after all of the firsts.

I ran today for the first time since my surgery on April 18th. Yes, I shed some tears as I ran by the exact spot when I received the call from Mike on my Thursday morning run. Oh how I wish I could talk to you about my eye surgery and about how well the Mariners are doing this season. To hear you say the phrase “of course” as you share about your day…

I know that I didn’t leave anything unsaid to you while you were here on earth. But I sure wish I could continue to share life with you. I know you are watching over us, and especially over Mom, who misses you terribly. We all miss you terribly. Mom has had a tough week this week, yet those around her are making her feel loved.

I love you.