Why do hard things happen? I believe, in part, because out of the rubble of hardship rise giants. This woman, Jody Medor-Chevalier, is one such giant. I first became acquainted with her because she was following Mitchell’s Journey and had reached out in love and compassion. Over time we have become friends and I have been humbled by her enduring love and empathy. 

When I first saw this photo a few months ago I was intrigued – but as I looked closer I found myself overcome with tears. On the top of her right shoulder was the name of my precious little boy, who I miss with all of my heart. This remarkable woman participated in Run for Our Sons, a fundraiser for Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy – the same group that reached out and tried to save our little Mitch. 

On both of her arms were the names of children who have either fallen, like Mitch, or are falling. You see, that’s the difficulty with DMD; you have either fallen or are falling. There is no remission, no medical get-out-of-jail cards … there is only one end to this disease and there are absolutely no exceptions. Even with Ebola, however deadly it is, patients at least have a shot at survival. That is not the case with DMD, it is 100% fatal. Jody knows this and has decided to rise up like a giant in honor of my little son, boys like Trevor Nielsen, Aiden McDonnell and so many other young kids who deserve life.

Jody has a Facebook page wherein she lists the many young children stricken with this muscle wasting disease and cites them as her source of inspiration and love. She will be running a 50K race in September and we stand in support of her monumental efforts.

So, why are hard things allowed to happen? Because people like Jody happen and God knew it. Or Pat Furlong who lost two sons to DMD and decided to start PPMD – now a global leader in the fight against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Then there are people like Brian Denger who lost his son around the same time we lost Mitch – and now spends much of his time and talents advocating and raising awareness. And there are so many more who have risen like giants. Just as heaven intended. 

I am persuaded the road of life isn't paved with ease and air-conditioning on purpose. It isn't a simple, flat path with clear directions - nor was it ever meant to be. Instead, life is a journey riddled with great difficulty and struggle – because in our struggle and sorrows we are made stronger – and heaven knows that, too. And, if we travel well, we can learn to rise like giants and make a difference, no matter the path we tarry. 

Thank you Jody, Pat, Brian and so many more who inspire me to rise above the rubble of hardship, to wipe away what seems an endless stream of tears and to press on.

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