Hero Next Door: Karen Moers

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It was the call Karen Moers had been waiting for – the news that she had been selected to run in the Boston Marathon.

"As soon as I saw the number pop up I said this is it. They're telling me I got it and sure enough they said congratulations," said Karen Moers. "I was in public and I started tearing up a little bit."

Moers, who is a licensed Massage Therapist at Massage Envy Spa in Jacksonville Beach, beat hundreds applicants within the company.

Running in marathons -- running period -- just recently became one of Moers' passions. It was sparked from a near tragic motorcycle accident involving her father in October of 2009.

"He was on his way home for dinner," she said when speaking about his crash.

"It's not something you want to see. He had tubes everywhere, blood coming out of his nose and his ears," Moers said when recounting his condition at the hospital. "To see your father lying there helpless, you can't do anything about it. It was a little bit of anger because I wish you had worn a helmet because we told him, numerous times."

The crash left Moers father with severe brain damage, needing around the clock care, and left her looking for someone or something to lean on.

"You don't won't to realize this is really happening. I mean that's when I kind of started running. You can't sit around, school work wasn't working. You need something physical and I hated running."

The one thing she hated most has helped her to cope. Running has also helped her repair a once strained relationship with her older sister.

"We were never really friends growing up but when something like that happens, you start to lean on those you never thought you would," said Moers. "I would never use that ever but it's pretty cool. I'm just another girl next door. Go to school to go work and help others."

Moers was chosen from among massage therapists at the more than 900 Massage Envy locations nationwide to run in the Boston Marathon.

She will receive an all-expense paid trip-- to help raise funds and awareness for the Massage Envy Foundation, which provides massages to hospice patients, disabled orphans, people living with HIV, seniors and others.


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