Runner Spotlight - Ashleigh Rivera

July 17, 2017

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Runner spotlight time! Meet Ashleigh Rivera from McDonough, Georgia. We are blessed to have Ashleigh as part of Team GP2C. "Ashleigh is a spitfire! She a strong and driven," shares Amei Prachthauser, GP2C Program Manager, "but she is a loving mom and wife that rocks #girlpower! She continues to make a difference... one step at a time!"

How did you get involved with GP2C?

I got involved with GP2C about 4 years ago because of Grace, my 12 year old daughter with Rett syndrome. I really liked the purple cards and the webpage we could set up for her and I just plugged in from there. Everyone was so friendly and loving at GP2C, and now they are all part of my family.

What inspired you to run?

Running for Grace “until she can” in the 2015 Disney PHM was absolutely the only thing that inspired me to run initially. It was my first race EVER, and the most amazing experience of my life. I also met a wonderful newer Rett mom Daleth, who helped me survive (and eased my fear of) the 13.1 miles. My husband Cesar (Grace’s step-dad) and I have been running for Grace ever since.  

What is your favorite part of running for Team GP2C?

My favorite part of running for Team GP2C is the loving, supporting spirit of everyone involved. The staff, volunteers and runners all are so encouraging to each other and that really helps you push through those miles for your girl (or boy). It is an amazing feeling to be among a group of people that face the same life obstacles that we do.  I LOVE Princess Weekend and being with my GP2C family sooooo much. 

What keeps you coming back?

Being crazy is probably what really keeps me coming back, but mostly I keep coming back because Grace deserves better treatments and a cure for Rett Syndrome. She shows up every day with a smile on her face, so shouldn’t I????

What would you tell other people that are thinking about joining Team GP2C?

To people who are thinking about joining Team GP2C: TRY IT ONCE! If you don’t like it, you don’t have to come back next year, but it is an amazing, meaningful life experience and I promise you will never forget it. 

Share a few lines of your favorite running song at the moment:

When I think about running for Grace I always think of “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten.…I will keep fighting as long as she does, that’s our deal. 

“This is my fight song,

take back my life song,

prove I’m alright song,

my powers turned on,

starting right now I’ll be strong,

I’ll play my fight song,

and I don’t really care if nobody else believes,

‘cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me!”

 

What would be a perfect afternoon for you?

A perfect afternoon for me right now would be going to the park for a walk and a picnic with my hubby Cesar and all of the kiddos (we have FIVE) AND everyone getting along and Grace being awake and happy.

Share one quote or saying that inspires you to keep going:

A saying I live by is, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” It also helps for me to remember that it could always be worse (and sometimes have been). 

What else is important in your journey, fight and experiences:

Taking “it" a day at a time is really important when it comes to running and Rett. Some runs are harder, some Rett days are harder. We just have to be strong like our kiddos are and know that we are doing our best. And, enjoy the “good stuff” about running and your Rett loved one. Enjoy running out in nature and improving your own health (so you can care for your Rett loved one better). Enjoy the smiles and giggles and snuggles and good days with your Rett child. Positivity is key, even though it sometimes isn’t easy.  

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GP2C is the most inspiring organization I've ever encountered! Not only does it provide funding but it provides support and LOVE!

— Rachel Dalton