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Local woman raises $8K, runs half-marathon for St. Jude

Teresa Lawler set a goal to raise $2,500 for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, in conjunction with running the half marathon in December.

With a couple of fundraising events and generous individual donations, she more than tripled that, raising more than $8,000.

This was Lawler’s first year to run the half marathon portion of the race, which attracted 21,500 runners to Memphis this year.

At the St. Jude Heroes Pasta Party the night before the race, Lawler received inspiration that she would use to help carry her through the 13-mile trek. The mother of a young boy who had been treated at St. Jude told her family’s story, including how it drove her personally to begin running for the cause.

“She said when she was training, if she got started up a hill, she would start counting to 150,” Lawler recounted. “Because her son had had 150 injections up to that point. And she said before she knew it, she had reached the top of the hill.”

It was a strategy Lawler also used during the half marathon, to honor the family’s fight, and Lawler said she got the chance to tell the mother about that following the race.

“I told her how inspirational that was to me,” Lawler said.

Lawler said she could not get over the number of people who came out to line the race route and cheer on the runners. But the people who inspired her the most were the parents and children lining the portion of the route through St. Jude’s campus.

“This one little girl was in a wheelchair, and I went over and took her hand and shook her hand,” Lawler said. “I kind of went to slower through there because that is what I do it to for.”

lawler said although the half marathon was physically challenging and exhausting, she was spurred on by sights along the way – like Bible verses on the backs of people’s T-shirts, or a group of women who were running for a child with the same name as Lawler’s daughter.

“Just when you thought you needed a little break, you would get behind somebody with a picture of a child they were running for on the back of their shirt,” Lawler said.

Lawler was also happy with her time – two hours and 23 minutes.

“I think I could have run it faster, but I don’t know – you just want to savor it,” Lawler said.

The special weekend was capped off with an Avett Brothers concert, hosted by St. Jude, where Lawler and her husband had fourth row VIP tickets.

Lawler’s next half marathon for St. Jude will be in April in Nashville. She said she is cautious of inundating friends and family with requests for donations, but she is hoping to raise at least $500 for this event.