Running for a Great Cause and So Much More

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Article and Photo submitted by Karen Walker Fuselier 

When asked by an old high school friend (Natalie Smith Walker) to join her in running a half marathon together, not knowing what to expect, I jumped right in! How hard could it be? 13.1 miles in a car seems like nothing, but on foot it is a different story, trust me! I knew that this run would benefit others greatly because our main goal was to raise money to help find a cure for blood cancers. With the help of family, friends and complete strangers I was able to raise over $1900.00. This money made me feel like I really had helped someone out, maybe even saved a life or two.

            In order to compete in a Half Marathon you must be extremely dedicated to your training. If you miss your runs you will quickly fall behind. It is only because of my dear friend Natalie and my angel Kelsey Rae that I was able to keep myself motivated! I decided at the beginning of this experience, I wanted to help raise money for cancer, but equally I wanted to run in honor of Central’s angel, Kelsey Rae. When the name Kelsey Rae is spoken everyone knows exactly who it is referring to. Kelsey Rae is someone that touched our community in ways that no one else ever has.

            On the days that I thought I could no longer run any farther, I just pictured her cheering me along from heaven, or I would catch a sole glimpse of pink in the sky and I knew it was from her. About a month and a half out from the race a runner’s worst nightmare came true for me. I began to feel a severe pain in my hip so I headed to the doctor just to be safe. I found out that I had a fractured pelvis caused by a fall that occurred along one of my nightly runs. This diagnosis was heartbreaking. I wanted so badly to run in Kelsey’s honor. I told myself, “Karen you have come to far” so my bicycle became my best friend and I was able to keep up with my mileage! I rode my bicycle until I was cleared by my doctor to run the race.

            On October 1st my mother, father and I drove the long trip to Orlando, Fla. in order for me to compete in my first half marathon. After resting up in our hotel before I knew it, it was the day of the race. As I started getting ready for the race, I realized, tonight is not about me, “Tonight is for Kelsey” my nerves were instantly settled and I felt the sweetest peace upon me possible. That night was amazing, I remember thinking what an honor it was to run for such an amazing person and then looking up at sky seeing a single star looking down on me, I just smiled and knew it was our “Special K”.

            Even though Kelsey is no longer walking this earth, she is still very much alive. In Kelsey’s 18 years she accomplished more than most accomplish in 80! People often ask “Why do bad things happen to good people?” In this case Kelsey was the true meaning of Good and she obviously was way too good for this earth. She is someone that will continue to inspire me each day.  Even though she may have been small in size her heart was so big. Running this race to help find a cure for cancer is an inspiration in itself, however running In Honor of Kelsey Rae was just the icing on the cake!


  1. Denise Giles

    October 22, 2010 at 11:29 am

    Karen, CONGRATULATIONS! And thank you for sharing this. What a tribute to Kelsey!! Athough I didn’t know this child, I feel as though I did through all of the people who knew her and the stories they’ve shared. It also touched home as our daughter, Robin and I are walking in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure, 60 miles in 3 days, in Tampa Bay next weekend. I have been struggling these past couple of weeks with tiredness and aching muscles (we understand about the training!!) but your story has inspired me to continue with our journey!! Again, congratulations and God bless you! I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

  2. Heather Blaylock

    October 22, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Karen & Natalie!

    Congrats on your first marathon! Bless you for running for such a good cause. Please keep me in the loop on future races you do.


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