CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — When it comes to dealing with a major loss, having a strong support system is key. For Charleston resident Kevin Oakley, that support has come from an unlikely source. In October of 2017, Kevin’s wife Lori passed away unexpectedly at age 47. After 27 years of marriage, the loss came as a shock and filled Kevin with grief.
“It made it very difficult sometimes just to get up. You don’t even want to get out of bed. I really struggled through that for a little while.” says Kevin.
Despite the loss, Kevin did his best to be resilient. Shortly before Lori’s passing, Kevin had joined the Knucklehead Running Club which is a group of friends from his church who get together each morning and run. While Kevin continued to run after losing his wife, he found there were days when he simply couldn’t find the motivation. It was during these difficult days that his new friends helped him the most.
“I was canceling out and it was a Sunday morning run that I think I had committed to run and first thing Saturday morning canceled out. I was not getting out of bed, the dogs started going crazy and I got up and looked and these guys were at my front door knocking on the door, making sure I was OK. That means something.” says Kevin
Whether they are simply there to provide Kevin company or to discuss more serious topics, Kevin says he is grateful for his new friends. Now, as he prepares to run in his first marathon in April, he is glad for the tremendous amount of support he has received.