A Running Hero
It was never too cold, too early, or too far…
Throughout our lives we have the opportunity to meet many different
people. Some pass through our lives for a few seconds, while others
stay longer and touch us in a special way that change and influence
who we are forever.
I would like to introduce you to a very special friend of mine,
Deddie Swaney, who is someone that touched my life, as well as
the lives of many others throughout her life. She is a woman of
courage, determination, and kindness, and with 47 marathons under
her belt, recently loss her fight against cancer at the age of
I first met Deddie almost nine years ago at work and was drawn
to her kindness and compassion that resonated from her beautiful
and friendly smile. Deddie was an avid runner and was known around
the office for her enthusiasm of the sport. Deddie’s love
for running was contagious and she soon inspired me to join her
by first training for a relay, later followed by a marathon. Throughout
the years, she bridged many close friendships and coached many
of us to our first marathons.
I will never forget Deddie’s strength as she pulled me through
some very long and difficult runs. It didn’t matter how
cold or how early it was, she would always make time for a run
and the opportunity to spend time with her friends.
It was Deddie’s goal, along with her twin sister, Debbie,
to run a marathon in all 50 states. She proudly finished 39 states
and 11 remain unfinished. Her sister Debbie would comment that
throughout her marathons, Deddie would stop to help other runners
along the way who were struggling and oftentimes compromised her
own finish time. For Deddie, it wasn’t about the time she
finished the race in, but the journey and the accomplishment of
completing her marathon goal. Deddie enjoyed meeting other runners
throughout her journey and helped coach many of them to the finish
Deddie was first diagnosed with cancer almost five months ago.
Although the true source of her cancer is undetermined, the doctor’s
know that it started in her bile duct or liver, and that it is
a very rare form of cancer for someone of her young age. With
great determination and her 47 marathon medals beside her, Deddie
never lost her courage, hope, and most importantly her faith was
During one my most recent visits to see her at the hospital, I
sadly watched her walk down the hall in a much weakened state
struggling to make it back to her room. I reflected back at all
the times I ran next to Deddie and admired her strength as she
would run countless miles and never seemed to tire.
Deddie lost her fight against cancer on July 8, 2007. Deddie was
more than runner; she was also a mentor and inspiration to many
and will be sorely missed by all those that she touched in her
“The woods are dark and lovely, but I have promises to keep
and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep….”
Although my friend Deddie didn’t have the chance to finish
her other 11 states, her husband John and twin sister Debbie,
have committed to finish her remaining miles for her so that she
may now sleep.
Thanks Lori for sharing your article.
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