Disclaimer:  I received Run to the Light by Laura King Edwards (affiliate link) for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own…

 

 

Through the World of Blogging

I first met Laura King Edwards in the summer of 2013. Making online friends is one of the amazing and pleasing things about the world of blogging which provides the opportunity to meet people with whom you would never otherwise interact. Laura and I share a love of running, hiking in the Grand Tetons, and exploring the vast desserts of Southern Utah. I’m sure if we ever meet in person, we’d head out on a run and chat as if we’ve been longtime buddies.

Yet with Laura, it wasn’t our shared love of running or America’s beautiful National Parks that drew us together – it was her little sister Taylor. After reading about Taylor and her fight with Batten disease, I couldn’t get her out of my mind. I took Laura up on her challenge and ran for Taylor, using my other senses to explore a 6.2-mile section of our local trail as I thought about Taylor running in races after Batten disease had robbed her of her vision. I also thought about Laura, whose love for her sister inspired her to bring attention to Batten disease by training to run in the Thunder Road Half Marathon, blindfolded.

When Laura reached out to me last summer to let me know she had a book in the works, I immediately knew that I wanted to add it to my reading list. When Laura generously offered to give me a book in exchange for a review on my blog, I jumped at the chance.

 

Run to the Light

Run to the Light is a story of unending – unfailing – love written by Laura, a big sister who turns her little sister Taylor’s devastating Batten Disease diagnosis into a fight to find a cure for Taylor and other children suffering from the disease. Batten disease is a rare childhood disease that robs children of their vision while causing seizures and declines in cognitive and motor skills. Currently, there is no cure for this fatal disease.

Laura’s memoir begins in 2006 shortly before Taylor’s eight birthday when she was diagnosed with Batten disease. Taylor’s family doesn’t take the devastating news sitting down and sets out to find a cure for a disease, that until a few weeks prior, was not even something they had ever heard about. What starts as a steering committee in a friend’s family room evolves into Taylor’s Tale, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing funding for researchers working toward finding a cure for Batten disease.

The story continues as Laura and her mom interview researchers and attend conferences, finding themselves more comfortable meeting with doctors and scientists than hanging out with other Batten disease families. In the process, both learn more about the science behind the cause of the disease than they ever imagined, and as a result, can speak about the disease as well as many doctors.

In the final chapter of Run to the Light, Laura runs the race of her life, a half marathon while blindfolded, while paying the ultimate tribute to her little sister who ran two 5K’s after Batten disease took her vision. Laura pulls from the courage of her little sister Taylor to get her across the finish line.

You’ll cheer for this close-knit family who didn’t ask to become Batten advocates, but were thrust into the limelight doing only what they knew to do, fight for their precious Taylor. From finding moments of joy during Taylor’s unexpected private ride with Aladdin and Jasmine on their magic carpets in Disney World, to the concern and fear experienced with the anticipation and waiting through a dangerous experimental stem cell transplant at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Oregon, you will ride the rollercoaster of emotions with Taylor’s family. Most of all, reading this heartwarming memoir will leave you hugging your family a little tighter.

 

A Followup Note

Sadly, at 20 years old, Taylor lost her battle with Batten disease this past summer while the book was being published. The story doesn’t end there, though, Laura and her family continue to fight to find a cure for other children like Taylor through their efforts with Taylor’s Tale.

 

Win Your Own Copy of Run to the Light

To help Laura share Taylor’s story, I will purchase a copy of Run to the Light for one lucky reader. Simply make a comment below and I will use random generator to pick a number, match it to the comments, and have amazon ship a copy of the book (or Kindle version) to that person. The contest will close at midnight EST Saturday and the winner will be announced in Sunday’s blog post.

 

Happy Running! ~ Deb