After unexpectedly losing their baby at a 22-week ultrasound appointment, a father decided to honor his child with 22 marathons.
On New Year’s Day, Dr. Christopher Longo and his family suffered a heartbreaking loss when their unborn child, Angelina, passed away at a 22-week ultrasound appointment.
About 1 percent of all pregnancies in the U.S. end in stillbirth, which is defined as a death after 20 weeks pregnancy, according to the CDC.
As an educator, who was also a full-scholarship athlete who rain in two NCAA Division 1 cross country championships, Longo decided to channel his grief into an exercise in resilience.
“My goal is 22 marathons before I die,” Longo told the Bethel Patch. “I have one done so far.”
An assistant principal, Longo explained the manner in which he intends to honor his daughter and impact his community.
“I build resilience through running,” he wrote on his blog. “In reflecting on our family’s misfortune, strength will come from it. During my marathon training in 2016, Angelina’s footprints will be hanging from my laces, with me every step I take. As a life goal, I intend to run 22 marathons to represent the 22 weeks of joy that our family experienced before saying goodbye to our baby girl.”
Resilience is a characteristic that Longo hopes to share with his community, especially through his role as a leader at Schaghticoke Middle School.
“As a visionary, instructional leader, it is my goal in 2016 to provide my middle school with a sense of resilience when confronted with challenges," he explained. "[...] It’s the support that leaders provide when difficult situations arise that strengthen the staff, the school, and most importantly, impact student learning.”
He hopes to inspire his family, friends and colleagues to persevere when confronted with life’s difficulties as well.
“No matter what adversity we face in our lives, we must develop the quality of resilience and the most important method to do so is to involve a group of people who support each other." Longo wrote. "Whether it be family and friends or a school overall, resilience carries us through.”