WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Wichita man is defeating depression one step at a time.
“I am going to run until I can’t run anymore,” said Rolando Romero.
Romero, 39, has a passion for running, but it has nothing to do with medals or trophies.
“I was just looking for a way to kind of get a little stress relief and grieve my own way,” he explained.
In 2018, the Wichita native’s life was on the up and up. He and his wife had just bought a new home in Haysville. He had settled into a new job and was preparing to celebrate his 10-year wedding anniversary when his grandfather died.
About three months later, Romero’s mom lost her battle with cancer. He said the heartbreaks kept on coming.
“We had a whole string of eight people, mother in law, to both my aunts to other family members,” Romero said.
Romero said all eight of his loved ones died within about a year of one another.
The husband and father of three said he searched for a way to pick himself up. That’s when he remembered how much his mother wanted him to get healthy.
“She was all big about honoring people, but she was also always on me about my health,” Romero said. “At the time, I was a smoker and I was probably about 65 pounds heavier than I was now. I saw a local race in town and I said, ‘alright mom if you want me to do this, we are going to do this’ and I signed up for my first 5K. That’s how things started.”
Within about six months, Romero completed nine races. He dedicated each one of them to someone he lost.
“Watching all of these people suffer through cancer and go through everything that they did, they coudln’t walk, they were going through the chemotherapy and stuff like that. I figured, hey, it’s only 3 miles. How hard can it be? I mean, they went through a harder time I will ever go through in my life so let’s push through,” he said.
Romero’s running journey is far from over. He has created a blog detailing his training efforts and race accomplishments.
His goal is to inspire others to get moving and bring awareness to causes close to his heart.
“Let people know that there’s other ways to get through grief and hard times. Have faith knowing God is going to take care of things. Just take that first step and go,” he said.