My Why: Erica Bazerkanian

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on October 13, 2020 # Team Reeve

The inaugural Reeve Run & Roll virtual 5K will take Team Reeve globetrotting for the first time on October 17, 2020. And this time around, participants can run, roll, handcycle, bike, roller skate, or walk it out on a treadmill. We reached out to our Team Reeve members to ask why they are participating in the Reeve Foundation first virtual 5K.

Erica Bazerkanian

What inspired you to join Team Reeve?Erica and her father

I joined Team Reeve in 2017 in honor of my father, Jeffrey Stone, who suffered a tragic spinal cord stroke in June 2016 that left him completely paralyzed and dependent on a ventilator to breathe. He suffered the most unbelievable nightmare, trapped in his own body for five months, but did so with the utmost patience, positivity, and grace that astounds all who spent time with him during his brave fight. He may not have been able to move, but he never lost his smile or sparkle in his eyes. If any chance for a cure were possible, he would have grabbed at it to continue living life to the fullest every day as he did each day he had. So, I created Team #IAMSTONE to raise money for Team Reeve to find a cure for others fighting similar tragedies and help make his dream of finding a cure a reality.

What has been the hardest challenge that you have overcome?Erica and members of Team Reeve

It goes without saying that 2020 is anything but normal. Due to the surreal environment surrounding our lives this year, it was all too easy for me to quit my training to run 26.2 miles to raise money for the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. My marathon was canceled like many events this year, so I fell off my training plan and figured I’d pass on 2020. But after a month of sitting around, it hit me that those living with paralysis don’t get to take a break from their battle or wait a year to see if things change. My brave dad didn’t rest a day during his fight, determined to live each day and try to move again, breathe on his own again, talk to his family at least one more time. So, while I’m definitely not trained, I committed to not just running the Reeve Run & Roll 5k, but to the entire Virtual NYC Marathon (26.2 miles). It will certainly not be my fastest, easiest, or best marathon, but perhaps it will be the most meaningful because there will be no crowds, no bands along the side, no official finish line as part of a big city marathon. But there will be heart and soul, running for those who are unable in the hopes that one day they can, alongside all my amazing friends and family who are coming out along the route to get me through.Erica and friends before race

What are you looking forward to on the day of the race?

I’m looking forward to the support of my community, my fellow Team #IAMSTONE members who have committed to running parts of my 26.2-mile route to help me get through it. My family – husband and four children – will be out there cheering me on. My son, a high school runner, will join me in the last 3 miles so we can cross the finish line together. I can’t think of a better way to honor my dad than by together raising awareness for spinal cord injury and funding a cure.

Explain why it’s important for you to take part in this virtual 5k this year.

Just before my dad lost his battle, I told him I had put a team together who would be running for the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. As we had to read his lips, it took me a few moments to discern that his smiling response was, “make sure everyone has good shoes.” He was always thinking of others, till his last breath. As long as I can run for others, I will. 2020 has not made it easy, which made it all the more important to see it through.

There is still time to register for the Reeve Run & Roll and join my team!

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.