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Putting Your All Into It

Molly and her twin brother Jesse after the 2010 NYC Marathon

Molly and her twin brother Jesse after the 2010 NYC Marathon

By: Christine Fanning

Name: Molly Ruben
Age: 25
Hometown: Chapel Hill, NC
Event: 2011 ING NYC Marathon

Molly Ruben, 25, learned from watching her twin brother, Jesse, that running a marathon takes time and dedication. As she waits to start graduate school this fall at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, she's dedicating her time towards training for the 2011 ING New York City Marathon for Team Reeve in November.

Ruben's twin brother, Jesse, and his best friend, Zack Weinstein, helped her realize she wants to have a part in making a difference for the spinal cord injury community.

A distant inspiration
Ruben says she gets inspiration from her brother's best friend, Zack Weinstein, who was injured while he was a camp counselor in Maine. Zack broke his neck, shattering his C4 through C6 vertebrae. He is now living with paralysis from the upper chest down with no use of his hands.

After Zack's accident, Jesse became involved with the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and ran the 2010 ING NYC Marathon for Team Reeve. "Seeing how much it impacted him [Jesse] and how much it meant to him, it was like ‘I want to do that too,'" Ruben says. Zack's accident not only affected Jesse, but everyone around him.

Read more about Jesse Ruben's story

As soon as her brother made the commitment to run the marathon, his whole lifestyle changed. Ruben explains that the change, along with dedication and commitment he displayed, were the reasons why she wanted to join him in the 2011 marathon.

"I know how much his [Jesse's] relationship with Zack means to him and how much it impacted him," Ruben says. "He gets up and does it because he thinks of Zack, because Zack can't."

The small victories that lead to change
Ruben's motivation to keep going is knowing that she has a support system through it all. "I know we're going to be there together. We're going to do it together," Ruben says. "I'm just trying to do it one day at a time."

"Every day I get up and finish the miles I'm supposed to do that day," Ruben explains. "And if nothing hurts, and I don't have a bad blister, then I consider that a success. There's no turning back at this point. I'm just throwing myself fully into it, mentally and physically. It helps to know that Jesse is doing it, too."

Ruben says although training for the marathon has been tough, it has changed the way she views her life. "I'm just going to know myself as someone who can accomplish things that six-months before, I really didn't think were possible," she explains.

Finding new communities
Being involved with Team Reeve has given Ruben a sense of excitement. "I'm happy to be able to do this for an organization that means a lot to my brother and impacts so many families."

Zack's accident has introduced her into new communities that she's now glad to be a part of. "I just wanted to jump on board and support the organization that means so much to so many people," Ruben says. "If you're not in that community, you may not think of it."

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Continue Christopher Reeve's LegacyPhoto by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders