A Virtual Story for a Virtual Run—How We Can Still Connect When We Are Apart

It seems like it was long ago, but in reality it’s only been a couple of months or so since things were “normal” for most of us. Schools were in session, most of us were actually “going” to work in person, and we were all waiting for spring to arrive.

And then everything got turned upside down. Event after event was either canceled, or postponed, or changed in some way to ensure the safety of all. We’ve all done what we needed to do.

And just like that much that was to be in-person became virtual, including the annual Jim Schoemehl 5K Run, being held this Saturday. The run will still be held—and you can still participate—but it will all be held virtually.

But that is only part of the story. Each year, the run is organized and run by students from Webster Groves High School, and benefits the ALS Association St. Louis Regional Chapter and a local family facing ALS. This year, it is supporting Stephanie Polston and her family. In “normal” times, the students would meet with the family and record videos telling their story. This year, however, that wasn’t possible. Still, the story was told. Stephanie, her family, and friends recorded videos of themselves answering questions about Stephanie. Socially distanced yes, but not emotionally distanced. You can see and hear their stories on the Jim Schoemehl Run Facebook page, and they are as inspirational and moving as you would expect.

Stephanie herself share some of her story:

Her words are a bit quiet, so if you missed any here they are:

Hi, I am Stephanie Polston. I grew up in St. Peters, MO and I graduated from Fort Zumwalt West High School and from UMSL. I did go to Webster University for a year, so I know Webster very well and I love it there. I met my husband in the 5th grade (laughter) but we did not start to date until we were 19 and we never broke up. We’ve been together for 12 years. My daughter is (dog barking, laughter) 21 months old and is very busy. Her name is Maggie. We have a nice little family in St. Louis, MO.

We encourage you to watch all the videos about Stephanie, and we encourage you to take part in the Jim Schoemehl virtual run this Saturday if you are able. Thank you to all involved for reminding us that even if we are forced to be apart, we all must still find a way to be connected with each other. Stay safe, everyone.

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