Wednesday, July 18, 2012

In Honor of My Mother-in-Law | Her Children's Final Gift

As many of you know and have read about on FB and my blog, my husband spoke with his sister for the first time in 37 years, this past Friday.  What a whirlwind it has been, since then. 

A reunion 37 years in the making.  I spent the last 16 1/2 years looking for her and the rest of the family.  Many have asked how did my husband get separated from his family - that's a very long and personal story, that won't be shared online.  But more importantly, that is Past.  He can now piece together his childhood and receive the answers he has so longed for.

Everyday, we text or chat with his sister, my sister-in-law.  We are making plans to have a face to face reunion in November.

Through this reunion, we learned his mother passed away 20 years ago, due to Breast Cancer.  Two days ago, we learned she is buried in PA, in an umarked grave and her plot was donated.  For 20 years, their mother has been unidentified, except for the cemetery records.  No flowers and no visitors.

  Sharon Currier Ragsdale
Nov 9, 1943 - Feb 13, 1992

Their mom deserved better. 

I saw this as an opportunity they could come together and give their Mother a final gift.  Her rightful memorial at her final Resting Place.

We have been in contact with the cemetery to find out costs and we all knew it was going to take some time to save up the money for a marker/tombstone.  Even the most basic of marker is beyond our financial means.  Their choice was to focus on their face-to-face reunion and afterwards, we would work on buying a marker for Mom.

As I was looking at my racing schedule - I knew the all important St George Marathon was coming in October.  October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

My original thought was to run in Mom's Honor.  Not wearing Pink, but in Purple - that is her favorite color and I wanted to honor her Memory, not her disease.  The family loved the idea....and then the wheels started turning.

One thing led to another.... and this is our plan

  • I will wear a purple singlet customized with her memory, front and back
  • I will wear a red rose wrapped around my ponytail - as that was her favorite flower
  • I will wear my purple Kinvara's 

And...we will be asking people to pledge $1/mile = $26.20 (26.2 miles) to help us raise monies for

1.  Marker/Tombstone for Mom's grave site in PA
2.  After the Marker/Tombstone is in place - have a large Red Rose arrangement delivered to the cemetery
3.  All remaining monies to be donated to Breast Cancer Research in Mom's name

As I was talking to my husband last night about the idea I said, "although it breaks my heart that she is gone and you can never speak to her face to face, I am glad she doesn't have a marker.  This is your time to do something for your mom, from you and sis - something you have longed to do for 37 years.  It was meant to be this way."

As the time draws closer, we will set up a website and a paypal account for donations.  Ironically, we have already received 2 pledges = $52.40

For 26 miles I will give it my all on that course.  She deserves a rightful Memorial and my husband and his sister deserve this, also.  The last half of the course is the same course I ran in November last year...where I shattered my Half PR.  I remember running that Half thinking how peaceful it was.  Amazing canyons and landscape.  It is the right place to honor my Mother-in-Law.  Afterall, without her - I would of never met my best friend and the love of my life, my husband.

With Ladybug at my feet and Mom in my heart - it will be a great race event and a PR is the last thing on my mind.

Thank you to ALL who have joined us in this incredible and insightful journey.  We continue to learn something new every day and look forward to a bright future, as a family.  

(c) C. Ragsdale 2011-12
Run F.A.B.,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
RRCA Certified Running Coach, IFA Certified Sports Nutritionist & Public Speaker
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  1. Wow, what a wonderful tribute. I am going to be running the St. George Marathon this weekend as well. My Mom is fighting her battle with breast cancer right now and I am running my races this month not just in her honor, but all breast cancer fighters!

    I am going to be wearing my denim shorts, pink Nikes and other pink accessories while raising money for the Huntsman Cancer Institute. I will have to make sure I look out for you at the start or finish line!

    Good luck and as soon as I find a link, I will make sure to make a donation! Good luck and hopefully I'll run into you this weekend!

    Joshua Snow Hansen
    SFM Ambassador '13

    1. Hi Joshua - I hope to meet you and we can get a SF Ambassador picture. I will be at the START LINE sign at 6:30 with the Marathon Maniacs. I will be wearing the same singlet you see at my cover photo on this blog (RKMD letters). I will be looking for you, too!

      Good luck and if you want to make a donation, here is the info:

      and thank you!


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