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Marilyn Reed, Mississippi

by Elizabeth W. on Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Marilyn Reed, Mississippi

This Mother's Day was my ninth “mother-less” one.  My mother passed away in 2004 after suffering from a fatal heart attack.  However, instead of visiting the cemetery and submitting a tribute to the local paper, I decided to run.  This run was not for me.  It was for my mother.  I ran to honor her memory and that of other black mothers who were gone too soon due to heart disease.

The Mississippi Department of Health says heart disease is the leading cause of death in Mississippi, accounting for over a third of all deaths in the state.  Mississippi’s cardiovascular mortality rate is the nation’s highest.  Because black women have a tendency to be more overweight and likely to be less physically active than our white counterparts—we are more prone to heart disease.

Heart disease is hereditary.  I am aware of my risk factors.  I cannot change my DNA, but I can change my habits.  I chose to re-program myself and re-write my family’s medical future.  Once sedentary, I now run three miles per day.  Changing my eating habits and drinking water is challenging but necessary.

Running is beneficial in many ways.  It is my therapy.  For the price of my new Asics, I can meditate, reflect, raise my self-esteem, analyze and work through my issues.  Running gives me power and confidence.  After my morning miles, I am no longer Lois Lane but Superwoman capable of leaping tall buildings in a single bound. 

Now, recent research says that regular jogging increases life expectancy for females by 5.6 years.  How great is that?  When I ran on Mother’s Day, I honored my mother’s life because I am saving my own.  Running is now my Mother’s Day tradition.  I believe this is beautiful tribute to my mother and it helps me remember that - 


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Comments (3)

  • This is beautiful! How wonderful is it to celebrate your mother's legacy by celebrating your LIFE?! I love it! Run on, Soror're inspiring us all!

  • This is beautiful! How wonderful is it to celebrate your mother's legacy by celebrating your LIFE?! I love it! Run on, Soror Marilyn...your inspiring us all!

  • What an inspirational story.  Marilyn, thank you for sharing!  

    — Carmen K.

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