We all exercise for a variety of reasons: improved overall health/fitness, to lose weight, to manage stress, to heal. I exercise for all of these reasons.
This past Sunday, 3/3/13, I exercised to celebrate the life of a close friend and to heal.
I met Kristi Appenzeller through the MOMS Club of Pflugerville several years ago. We instantly clicked. She was the kind of person anybody would want to know and who could make you feel at ease with who you were. Kristi was a wonderful wife and mother to her two young boys and was very involved with her community, family and friends.
Kristi was a “Fighter” and when she was diagnosed the first time with breast cancer she met the challenge and kicked the sucker to the curb. Then, she was diagnosed again with a rarer type of breast cancer, Inflammatory Breast Cancer, and went through a lot of treatment in a very short time.
I have a Microbiology degree with an emphasis in tumor biology, experience in cancer research and have educated cancer patients and their families. During our numerous calls and texts, Kristi and I would talk about her treatment plan, drugs, nutrition, etc. After a difficult battle and fight, Kristi succumbed to the insidious disease on August 15, 2012. I lost my friend.
But, Kristi still had a community who loved her and a family who had the enormous task of paying off the medical bills. So, on 3/3/13 the MOMS Club of Pflugerville, TX organized a 5K run/walk to celebrate Kristi’s life and honor her memory. All proceeds from the event went to pay Kristi’s residual medical expenses.
The turnout was amazing!!! I chose to walk the race with my friend, Sarah, over at play2learnwithsarah who was also a close friend of Kristi’s. I normally would run 5K’s but walking provided me the opportunity to reflect on my time with Kristi and feel her spirit with me every step I took. As we neared the finish line, Sarah’s husband told me that people don’t slow down at a finish line they speed up. I didn’t want to lose the connection I was experiencing with Kristi. By the time my foot passed over that line, I was at peace.
One of the most touching moments of the event was the tree dedication and Bruce Smith singing “The Fighter (Kristi)”. The song was written for Kristi and the tree was placed behind a bench at Lake Pflugerville so that any time we came to the lake you could sit, reflect and feel Kristi’s presence.
I am honored to have known Kristi and feel my life has been forever changed by her. I love you, Kristi! Thank you for being with me every day and in every thing I do.