Isadore Boni, San Carlos Apache, was diagnosed with HIV and hepatitis C in May 2002. After his disease escalated to AIDS in November 2004, he was cured of hepatitis C last year. Now he is an advocate for HIV prevention and HIV/AIDS treatment and care.

Apache AIDS Survivor Runs Fifth Half-Marathon

Isadore Boni
1/22/14

Isadore Boni, a San Carlos Apache member and AIDS survivor, shared his fifth half-marathon experience with Wellbound Storytellers.

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When the  days dwindled down to P.F. Chang half marathon Sunday, there were so many things that took a turn. I thought, “Why does this have to happen now?”

A week ago I began having so many doubts to do this run, and with good reason.  I still continued to prepare by sticking to my diet and doing something that is crucial—rest. I took my last hike up Camelback Mountain two days prior to the run; it was then that I was reminded why I am running.

More important, it reminded me of “who” gave me the strength to do all this. The morning of the race,  doubt still ran through my mind. I kept telling myself “if I can run at least half it would be okay.”

As I stood in line for our group to begin running, I told myself there is a reason why I am here. Then, something happened where I just started running, many times maneuvering around walkers, and by the seven mile post I knew I could do it.

Thoughts ran through my mind—the family losses in recent months, how much pain they must have endured prior to passing on—it gave me strength. I kept running.  I could hear the crowds and cheerleaders encouraging us, and when I got closer to the finish line I would run and literally extend my hand to all the people who supported us.

I saw the signs that my grandniece and nephew wrote, “Thank you Isadore for running for my baby sister Mariah Sage and for Team Legend.”

When I crossed the finish line at 2 hours and 18 minutes, I was stunned. I was given my 5th medal and this time I could not control my emotions.

In recent years I ran for friends who died of AIDS complications, but this time I ran for family. I cried when I put on my medal because I could not believe I was blessed.  I knew at that moment that my Higher Power guided me each step of the way, even at the most difficult times.

I kept going and never let doubt stop me from doing the impossible. I actually “thank” feelings of doubt because it made me work harder to cross the finish line.  All those hikes up Camelback Mountain and running paid off.  I did the leg work but someone inspired me to keep going. Someone in Heaven.

This blog was originally published by Wellbound Storytellers.

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