That was her answer when I asked what made her run full out the last twenty or so yards. This young woman has been confined to a hospital bed and room for the last three months. Her run was more stumbling, bumbling, but she did it. She finished on her terms, not the doctors’, not her mother’s, and not mine. The day began early with a 0500 wakeup call. A departure time of 0600 followed. We arrived at London’s Run 20 degrees colder than what we left in Phoenix. Slowly, Team Breanna began to gather together. It was overwhelming to see all of the support as we stood on the trailer with the previous beneficiaries and London’s family.
I lost it as we started the 2 mile run. We ran down the opening/ home stretch and I saw all the very familiar faces cheering us on. Thank you all who showed up, physically and in spirit. We ran about a half mile and I picked a spot up ahead to slow down as my arms were already getting tired. As I neared the tree, I noticed a large poster with Brea’s cheerleading picture on it. I let out a bark (it’s a Marine thing.) It read, “Your pace, or mine.” So much for slowing down right there. I went just a little further. Along the trail other signs and pictures of our fellow beneficiaries and London reminded us of why we were there. At the last bend before the home stretch, London’s mother, Heather ran to us and hugged us. Down the home stretch, I chanted Lon-don as Brea clapped the beat. Unfortunately, I was so out of breath, that no one could understand me. Oh, well, London heard me.
Team Breanna jumped onto the course behind us and ran the last bit cheering Breanna on. When I got about twenty meters out, I pulled the wheelchair over to the side and helped Breanna up. The plan was for her to finish on her feet. I figured a walk or a slow jog. We turned and she ran for it. Her sister, Chelsea, on one side me on the other. Her legs wobbled and she zig-zagged toward the finish line, crossing to a loud applause and cheers, probably some tears.
That is when she began to feel like a celebrity with all the cameras going off. “Brea look this way.” “Can I get a picture with you.”
Unfortunately, all of the excitement and activities for the day caught up to her and we had to duck out early.
Again, thank you all for everything you have done and continue to do for my baby-girl. She makes me proud every single day.
~Rick Pena (Breanna’s Dad)