Angela Soco’s “Big Thank You”

It went a little something like this . . . .

My name is Angela and I want to start by saying that even though we haven’t met, you have deeply inspired me and touched my heart.

A few months ago, our mutual friend Phil Lewis and I were discussing running and thought what a great idea it would be if we trained together for the San Diego Rock-N-Roll Marathon in June of this year. We started off by simply running together on few occasions but there was something missing. I was not able to prepare myself for what I was about to do and >found myself overwhelmed in the whole training process. During the early course of our training, he briefly told me about a friend of his back in Texas. He went on to describe who I later found out was you. He told me that you had ALS, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Phil told me that he decided to run the marathon in your honor, and soon asked me if I would be interested in running it for you as well. I accepted his invitation without hesitation knowing I had nothing to lose . . . little did I know that I had so much to gain.

You see Justin, not only do I NOT know you, I don’t even know anyone with ALS. All I could think about was that you are only 29, just a year older than I, and are living with an incurable disease. I wanted to commemorate >my first marathon by doing something special and purposeful.

It’s been a few months now and lead by Phil and the ongoing effort of its members; we have founded Team Justin to show you people care. We want to make a difference. I admire your strength, courage, and determination. You inspire me to live life to the fullest by reminding me to be thankful for everything I have including my health, my family, and great friends. You have taught me a very important lesson that if we desire, ask, and believe, we receive.

Every day I think about you and how rapidly the disease has progressed in your body how ALS makes it difficult for you to do simple things such as eating, dressing, and now, even swallowing. I was happy to learn from Phil that you still find humor in the things you do day to day. He said you purchased a wheelchair and described how much he enjoyed watching you playfully run over people with it. In a few months, I have discovered that ALS does not discriminate anyone. And as I sit here talking with you with this idea swirling in my head. I can’t even imagine what life is like for you. Except that you continue to be brave and put a smile on your face. You make people proud to call you a husband, a son, and a friend.

Justin, you motivate me so much so that this past Sunday, a handful of Team Justin members and I did a 12-mile run…and for every ache, pain and soreness my body felt this week, I was sincerely grateful simply knowing that you don’t even have that choice. I don’t live near you and can’t help with your daily care. Our goal with Team Justin is to raise money to help pay for your medical expenses. As I run my first marathon, I will think of you as my inspiration to cross the finish line. You have made many friends here in San Diego and we are >all looking forward to meeting you.

Just One Of Your New Friends,

Angela