Each year we print “I run in honor of” cards which we call “Honor Cards.” These simple cards honor an SMA warrior or angel from all over the country and a few different countries. The cards are laid out at packet pickup day and runners choose one to pin to their shirt the day of the race. These cards are dear to our hearts as we know firsthand the fight these families endure.
One card was extra personal for us this year. Jadon insisted one of those cards be pinned to his shirt the day of the race.
Gwendolyn Strong, “Miss G,” became an angel between the last BUG RUN and this one.
It was a bitter task to type “Angel” under her name when making the cards. It still doesn’t seem possible. The devastation of SMA often doesn’t seem possible. It was emotional to see her beautiful face on Jadon’s shirt and know what her parents and so many others have gone through since the last time this event took place.
In years past we have honored the angels taken between The BUG RUN the prior year and the current year, with a balloon release, a balloon for each child. This year we did it differently.
Miss G was a butterfly in her own right and this year the appropriate number of butterfly stickers were attached to race bibs randomly within the crowd. Kristin asked those with butterflies to raise their hands. Each hand, 110 of them, represented a soul taken from this world by SMA since last year’s BUG RUN.
Miss G was Jadon’s California Girl. She was a bright sparkling girl who showed us that life with SMA does not have to be confined to a hospital bed. It was Gwendolyn’s example that often times got us out our front door and into the world. By showing us her “Never Give Up” spirit we learned how to “Dance in the Rain” of this SMA storm. We literally saw all that she was doing and were inspired to get out and do more with Jadon. Gwendolyn will always mean the world to us.
You could even say that she had a hand in The Jadon’s Hope Foundation as it was her parents who encouraged us and helped us get the foundation started. They encouraged us to move forward in all aspects of our SMA journey. The Strongs are good friends, inspirational advocates, and amazing parents. Our hearts ache for their loss. Our hearts ache for 110 families who have suffered this loss within one year. This is why we “Run to End SMA.”