OCTOBER 18, 2014
Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon With Ivy Funds
RUN ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL COURSES IN THE MIDWEST
5K HALF FULL RELAY KIDS
Running with Purpose
By LaRenn DiPede
Running might be the most basic of sports, but it can represent many different things to the runner. For KC Marathon runner Jennie Bryan, competing gives her a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment as well as helping her diminish stress.
However, this year’s Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon with Ivy Funds will have a deeper meaning for Bryan. She will be running on behalf of her father, Jimmy Schell, who was diagnosed with stage-three multiple Myeloma one year ago.
“When Dad sat us down and told us the test results, I was devastated,” said Bryan. “We knew that he was having medical issues when it took him longer to get over colds and he was losing energy.”
Bryan became flooded with emotions by the news of her father’s diagnosis. She immediately had flashbacks of the great memories she shared with her father and knew she couldn’t bear to be without him.
“To cope, I just took one day at a time and I didn’t allow myself to hold back,” said Bryan. “I would cry when I was sad, screamed when I was mad and remained silent when I didn’t want to talk. It helped me to go to the appointments with him so I could ask questions and understand exactly what the plan was for each visit and test. I was able to spend a lot of time with him, and despite everything he was going through, he was still positive.”
Despite dealing with her father’s diagnosis, Bryan fights back by giving her life meaning and fulfillment through running.
“Running gives me a sense of accomplishment,” said Bryan. “I feel like I am a little better than I was the day before. My time, stride, breathing - everything keeps improving. With the improvement comes the drive to be better and that carries over into my daily life. I have more energy, more focus and less stress. I feel like I am demonstrating to my kids the lessons my Dad taught me.”
Bryan, mother of two, Director of Operations at JCI Industries and coach for Liberty Parks and Rec., initially got involved with running marathons a couple years ago when her father asked her to run on his Brew to Brew team in 2010 for the YMCA, where he worked as a personal trainer. This past year Bryan was asked by a friend to run with her Brew to Brew team and was reminded how fun it is to train and participate in a marathon.
“I loved the game day jitters I felt on race day,” said Bryan. “Everyone in our car was talking about their next event and I made up my mind I was going to do Hospital Hill. While I was training I signed up for the KC Marathon and was planning to run a full, but due to an injury, I am only prepared to run a half.”
For Bryan, running marathons demonstrates the lessons that her father taught her in that if you want to be successful at anything, you have to set a goal; prepare and work hard to accomplish it - running embodies this theory.
“Running for my Dad also helps me remember that no matter where I am or what I am going through, he will always be with me, supporting me and believing in me,” said Bryan.
Many saw Jimmy as a very dedicated, reliable, hard worker. He naturally motivated people to perform their best and in turn, he got the best result.
Disease and heartache might come and go, but the strength and hope that Jennie embodies will shine through her father’s diagnosis. There’s nothing she can change about her family’s unfortunate situation - except their perspective. Jennie and her family will continue to treasure every moment and focus on the things they can do, instead of the things they can’t.