Childhood dreams realized, family members honored, hundreds of miles traveled (by plane and by foot) and more than a couple feats of physical and mental strength: this year’s CoverMyQuest winners set out to achieve personal goals, but they’ve inspired all of us at CoverMyMeds.
Of the more than 120 people who signed up for the 2018 CoverMyQuest, eight stood out in their commitment to living CoverMyMeds’ core values: Embracing challenges and doing the right thing, acting selflessly, focusing on results and, of course, being their awesome selves.
We asked each Quest winner to share an update in their own words. Here are four of those stories.
Diana Madarang | Hike Camino de Santiago in Portugal
Steps walked: over 484,000.
Miles walked: 188.66.
Humbling moments: countless.
Life lessons: infinite.
It all started as a dream, albeit a distant one. I had wanted to hike the Camino de Santiago for years, but life happened, and with a little child to care for, it became an impossibility. So, one can imagine the shock and disbelief that flowed through my veins when I was chosen as a CoverMyQuest winner.
I kept thinking to myself, “This can’t be happening. This has to be a dream.” In the months that followed, everything started to sink in, as I learned Portuguese, read up on the hike, hiked around Ohio with my friends and coworkers, and mentally prepared myself to set off on my first solo adventure in more than 10 years.
The whole trip was one of absolute gratitude and awe, even in the moments where I doubted my ability to finish the hike. Every single day, I hiked with joy knowing how fortunate I was to be there; seeing the progress of the miles I had hiked each day, meeting lovely people from all over the world, hearing other pilgrims’ stories and reasons why they were hiking, and eating my way through Portugal and Spain.
When I finally arrived to Santiago de Compostela, my eyes just poured out buckets of tears because I couldn’t believe what I had just accomplished: After days of physical discomfort (muscle aches and pains, blisters, sunburn, etc.), linguistic an intellectual challenges, and intense emotional growth, I had hiked more than 180 miles on foot.
And just like that, my impossible dream became reality. (Learn more about the trip at hikingwithhope.com.)
Jon Vaughn | Build a Miata with My Daughter
Since I was a child, I always dreamed of working on a project car with my dad. When he passed away last year, it was a stark reminder of how easy it is for our aspirations to pass us by. With the funds provided by CoverMyQuest, I was able to rekindle my dream and purchase an old Mazda Miata, beginning a life-long journey with my daughter.
The past year has been a journey of exploration, as we learned how to remove rust from old tools with citric acid and examined the workings of our Miata. It’s been a journey of mentorship and bonding, as I teach her what I know about working on cars and give her the opportunity to take ownership in our project.
Perhaps most of all, this past year has been a journey of self-discovery. This project has helped me remember parts of my relationship with my dad that I had forgotten entirely — and given me new insights into what it means to be a good father.
This experience has shown me how enjoyable it can be to work on a car when you have the proper tools, the time to do the job properly and companionship of the most wonderful person in the world.
Casey Karns | Run 12 Marathons Across the U.S.
It’s hard to believe that I already have five half marathons under my belt this year — and, as I write this, I am just days from No. six. When I started this journey, I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into; I knew I wanted to get healthier and prove that I’m able of such a physical and mental feat. When I pitched my idea, I had already completed two half marathons with minimal training, and I knew that if worse came to worst, I could at least finish.
This year has pushed me like no other and forced me to embrace all challenges that came my way. I have run all of these races with minimal training — by minimal, I mean essentially none. Life got in the way, I got lazy and I ate a lot of pizza.
In the end, I still showed up with my running shoes on and pounded pavement. I ran my heart out.
I even achieved a personal record in New Orleans, and I narrowly missed beating that record in Pittsburgh by just a few minutes.
I finally can say I put my blood, sweat and tears into something and feel proud of myself. This journey has taught me that I am stronger than I think, and I am capable of so much more. In October, I will be running my tenth half marathon of the year, and I hope to have a group of my coworkers running with me and cheering me on right here in Columbus.
Eddie Maspons | Journey to Quebec to Scatter My Father’s Ashes
My Quest was for my brother and I to spread my dad’s ashes. We had always taken winter vacations together as a family, so I felt it most appropriate to spread his ashes on top of one of the places we loved.
This idea is something that had been eating me up inside for years, but the timing was difficult, as we had just lost our grandfather on my father’s side a month prior to leaving for my Quest.
The trip I initially planned involved traveling entirely across Canada but, it turns out other companies don’t have a CoverMyQuest — and weren’t as sympathetic to the concept. So, my trip was shortened to a week and a half.
We landed in Vancouver with the plans of making it to Alberta but got snowed in the first few days. The snow got so intense that we woke to the sounds of explosions on the second day for avalanche control.
It took another three days for the weather to clear enough for us to reach the peak of Blackcomb, and it took us several hours to reach the peak as peak lifts were shut down due to weather. It was one of the most physically and emotionally demanding experiences of my life, and we reached the top just as the weather was starting to break.
We spread my dad’s ashes above a stunning area known as the rock garden, and together the three of us found peace.