Victoria’s friends and family continue her life’s volunteer work with underprivileged children, children with disabilities, and transitioning veterans. This April, Glenn Stowell will be running the Boston Marathon in honor of Victoria in order to raise funds for the FourBlock Foundation.
The Boston Marathon always loomed large for Victoria. As many of you know, she’d been seriously injured on Boylston St. in 2013 and grew very close to her Boston Strong community – the first responders that saved her, the survivors that recovered alongside her – for whom The Marathon is a recurring symbol of resilience and a celebration of their city.
Many of those friends had run the race since they returned to health, and she decided that 2017 was the year she was going to complete it. With that in mind, we started working toward that goal in February of 2016 – knowing we’d need to build up very slowly given her injuries – just jogging around the Fens, easing into the habit of running.
Less than a month later, Victoria was killed in a car accident. We all were stunned, and it took a long while for the feeling of suspended animation to subside. As time ticked by, though, it began to dawn on me that I needed to run this race and finish what Victoria started.
Sometime after the accident I was told that the only way to navigate through grief is to just take it day-by-day; and that if one day feels like too much to traverse, then to just take it hour-by-hour; and that moving forward is not about the speed with which you’re moving but about finding an increment you can handle, taking that increment head-on, and then keeping your momentum going.
I think those are lessons that’ve been reinforced for me by running. Whether it’s snowing or it’s sunny, whether you’re headed uphill or downhill, whether you’re running on air or running on fumes the way forward remains the same. You need to take a single step. Just one little stride. Then you repeat as necessary.
While this marathon is an opportunity for me to close a piece of business left open between Victoria and me, it’s also an opportunity for us to support Victoria’s legacy and to make sure that her work carries on.
She was a tremendously selfless person, always thinking of ways to give her time and talents away to those that could use them. Of the various groups she supported, Victoria had a special affinity for veterans, a connection that was forged through meeting wounded veterans in recovery programs and being struck by the similarity of their post-traumatic experiences and the mutual comfort that that commonality provided.
With all that being said, I’ll be raising money for FourBlock, a non-profit with which Victoria was involved that helps veterans transition from military service back into the civilian workforce. The primary focus of the organization is job readiness but they also emphasize community building, making sure that their cohorts feel connected while venturing into the civilian world. Please consider donating to keep that effort marching on.
One last note from me: thank you for your love, the constant support, and the occasional tailwinds. And please bear in mind that while this marathon has a finish line, our work doesn’t end there.
It won't be fast. It won't be pretty. But I'll see you on Boylston.