For Lora to find inspiration, she doesn’t have to look far. Her daily motivator is her 10-year-old daughter Ava who has developmental special needs. “My daughter inspires me, because I see how many challenges she faces every day. Her learning disability affects every aspect of her life. Things that come naturally to other kids, she has to be taught how to do. But, she wakes up and goes to sleep every day with a smile on her face. Her attitude inspires me, and her determination,” said Lora.
After beginning her running career in her early 20s, Lora completed her first marathon at 25 years old and then a second marathon one year later. She kept running through her pregnancy until Ava turned 1, but at that time realized that Ava needed attention that required all of Lora’s focus. She let running fall by the wayside as she took Ava to therapy four days a week. As Ava grew, the intensity of her therapy decreased, so five years ago Lora started to run again and hasn’t looked back. “Last year I thought ‘I should do another marathon’,” Lora said. “I always wanted to do one for my 50th birthday, and I turned 50 this April! I’m in the best shape of my life right now, my running is better today than it was when I was 25. There’s no better time for me to take on the challenge of the TCS New York City Marathon.”
Her daughter might be Lora’s biggest inspiration, but her brother and her father are not too far behind when it comes to role models. “My brother John is the reason that I signed up for United Way of Long Island’s Team Mission United. He is so involved with United Way of Long Island through his company, Suffolk Transportation Services, Inc., and he inspired me to give back to the organization that he is very connected to on a number of levels,” explained Lora.
“We are very proud to be supporting Lora as she takes on this challenge,” said United Way of Long Island Board Member Teresa O’Halloran, Executive Director of HR, Safety & Risk Management at Suffolk Transportation Service, Inc. “Throughout the year, our company is involved with a number of initiatives through United Way of Long Island, but Team Mission United is a cause that is very close to our hearts. We will all be rooting for Lora over the coming months and especially on race day.”
“My dad served in the Army, and I donate to veteran causes regularly,” Lora continued. “Team Mission United is a perfect blend of all the things I care about – running, veterans and family. We all need to stop and appreciate what veterans have done for this country. They deserve our respect and attention. By running for Team Mission United, I’m doing my small part to raise awareness for their situation when they return home. If we all just chipped in and did something positive, maybe we could see real change in this world.”
Her father serving in the military isn’t the only reason that Lora is so proud of him. He taught her important lessons about giving back and being generous when you are successful. “My father made it clear that we were not going to sit back and value things that don’t matter. If you’re lucky enough to be a success, you give back,” she explained.
“Everyone should think about what they can do to make someone else’s life just a little bit better. It can be something small like donating $5 a month, or it could it be running a marathon!,” Lora said. With her family cheering her on, there’s no doubt that Lora will reach the finish line in November with a smile on her face.