Do it because you can. Do it for Dante.

Finding the motivation and desire to workout can seem difficult at times.  The excuses to skip a visit to the gym or walk around the neighborhood are always within reach.

I don’t have time.  I’m too tired. I’ll do it tomorrow.  

In the moment, we convince ourselves that these are valid excuses.  However we can find ourselves repeatedly reaching into the safety net of I’ll do it tomorrow.

What if that safety net slipped right from underneath you?  What if working out was no longer an option?  What if your ability to run, jump, walk or even pedal a bike vanished in an instant?

What if it vanished over time because of a rare disease?

Meet my friend Dante Herrera.

This 12-year-old boy from Virginia Beach has the biggest smile, brightest spirit and most contagious laugh I’ve ever heard.

Dante loved running, until a rare disease slowly took away his ability to do so.  He has Batten Disease, a rare and fatal genetic disorder that essentially means his brain is shrinking.  Over time, he has lost the ability to do most things kids his age may take for granted.  His sight, hearing and motor skills continue to decline.

Running again would mean the world to Dante.  I’m sure there wouldn’t be an excuse big enough to keep him from putting one foot in front of the other on the pavement.  Since I met him, he has become one of my biggest inspirations.  On days when I glance at the endless list of excuses to get in at least for workouts a week, I think of Dante.

Think of everyone like him who would give anything to be in the position to have a choice…

If you’re ever having a tough time getting off that couch and getting that workout in for the day, do it for Dante.

Do it because you can.

You can even dedicate some of your workouts to those who can no longer run, walk or stand on their own.  Dante’s mom recently told me about http://www.whoirun4.com/.  I just signed up to run for Dante, and definitely thought of him when I pushed through the Newport News One City Marathon 8K this weekend.

Love you all, and may God bless you on your journey!

Jessica

(Originally published March 2015)