Holly Gifford
Fallston, MD

Running took on a whole new meaning for me when I lost my husband to addiction in August 2015. I was approaching 40 years old and had set a goal for myself to run a marathon before I turned 40! I set my sights on my hometown race- the Baltimore Marathon. At the same time that my training commenced, my husband was also completing his final (and last) attempt in rehab and about to enter recovery. Unfortunately, I lost him to an overdose 7 days later. Ironically enough, I had reached out to The Herren Project the night before he passed. PURPOSE! That is how my running changed. It provided me with purpose and offered a healthy outlet for healing.

I am committed to sharing his story and ending the social stigma surrounding mental illness and addiction.? I feel it’s important for me, and as I raise our 7-year-old twins, that they understand the importance of asking for help and giving back. While they may be too young to understand now, they will come to recognize and understand the importance and why Mom runs. In fact, it’s so important to me, that just two years later I’m training for the 2018 Boston Marathon even though it will test my resolve on many levels.

Since Matt’s passing almost three years ago, I am realizing that his story relates to many. I have met and had amazing conversations with people sharing their stories, struggles or triumphs.? I have found that it’s important to share. The more I share our story, the more people realize they are not alone with dealing with addiction and mental illness. It can impact anyone…even the most secure and loving families. I am learning that each time I share, I find myself at peace with everything. It doesn’t make losing Matt any easier, but it helps to not feel alone, and that my feelings are shared by many.

This is more than just running for me. I am committed to making a difference and helping to facilitate change.? Partnering with The Herren Project just makes sense.

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