My name is Rachel Landon and I am proud to be Fit Life’s October Athlete of the Month! I have always believed in the quote, “When you feel your worst, perform your best.” To others, it may just be an inspirational quote to help them through the day, but for me it is a quote that helped me put my life back together.
In July of 2015, the unimaginable happened. My husband Eric, an infantry man in the Army, took his life at the young age of 27, leaving behind myself and our two daughters (then 3 years old and 15 months old). Devastation is an understatement. There are no words for the pain my girls and I still feel today. Staying depressed and tucked away from the world wasn’t an option for me. I had to find something to distract me from this pain.
In December of 2015, a friend introduced me to the charity Stop Soldier Suicide (SSS). SSS is advocating for a Reverse Boot Camp Program. The military has a specific process that turns a new recruit into a soldier, but they lack a similar process to help transform that soldier back to civilian life. This leaves so many men and women without purpose or a place to turn after the military. We believe this void plays a part in suicidal thoughts and actions, and contributes significantly to the 22 Veterans who die by suicide each day. Together my friend and I would attend races to spread awareness of SSS and collect donations. We attended so many races that we decided to organize our own 5K. What started off as a distraction turned into my passion.
On July 30th 2016, we hosted The 1st SGT Eric Landon 5K Benefiting Stop Soldier Suicide. The race was a huge success with over 300 participants and we raised over $15,000 for Stop Soldier Suicide.
In the beginning, attending races was the start of my dedication to fitness. I began to enjoy being active and joined a gym. Since March I have made fitness a priority and have lost 15 pounds while also building muscle. I am proud of my progress! After two children I never thought I would be happy with my self image again, but now I am in the best shape of my life!! Disasters happen to everyone, but it is up to us to choose how we overcome it!
As Fit Life Athlete of the month, throughout the month of November, Fit Life will donate 10% of each online sale to Stop Soldier Suicide on behalf of the Landon Family.