In 2021, Runnerisms took part in a monthly challenge in response to a request from a runner in our running community. Jackie’s challenge was simple: run 4 miles on the 7th of every month in honor of your spiritual running partner. We took the challenge and now we’d love to share her story with you.
Jackie was first introduced to Giovana through her sister, who is a 4th grade teacher and taught her older brother, and soon became very close to Giovana and her family. When Giovana was only a few months old she was diagnosed with a rare pediatric cancer called, Rhabdomyosarcoma. She endured chemo and radiation treatments, surgeries, and so much more in her cancer fight.
On March 7, 2021, Giovana went to heaven. Jackie says “throughout the 4 years of her little life, she brought an amazing smile and sense of humor to the world. I call her my “running partner” and have dedicated marathon miles and many runs to her and her strength. She loved this little title. As the world fought over politics and divided itself, she was fighting for her life - enduring challenges that made everything else look and feel petty or pointless. I never needed a reason to run as I’ve loved it all my life. But Giovana has been (and always will be) my spiritual running partner and reason to look at the miles or hills ahead of me with gratitude to still have the opportunity to take them on.”
Why 4 miles on the 7th? Jackie chose 4 miles (one for every year of Giovana’s life) and the 7th of every month because of the day they lost her. She now encourages runners to also run 4 miles in honor of their spiritual running partners. These are the questions she asks them, “Who do you take with you on your runs or walks? Who do you talk to when you need strength?" Those, to her, are our spiritual running partners.
Jackie says “For every marathon, I write 26 names on my arms. One mile for each name - a mile full of thoughts, prayers, and strength for each person or family member enduring challenges far more difficult than my race. The .2 has my name to remind me of my own perseverance. Giovana's name is always on my 20th mile; the famous mile that is known to many marathoners as "the wall". Her strength helps me get through this wall. Running for those who can't allows me to finish every mile with nothing but gratitude for being able to do what I love.”
The Let It Be Foundation supported Giovana and her family during her fight. For more information or to read about how you can support, please follow the link below.