I run for the truth
For all that is real
I run for your mother, your sister, your wife
I run for you and me, my friend
I run for life ... ("I Run for Life" by Melissa Etheridge)
At 21, Kristin Mitchell had her entire life ahead of her.
She had a brand new college degree from Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia. A family bursting with pride, with love. A wonderful job lined up with General Mills.
And she had a boyfriend who killed her - three weeks after this photo was taken.
Her entire life.
Kristin was in the process of ending the relationship when her boyfriend came to her Conshohocken, Pa. apartment. He had some possessive tendencies, judging from a text message of Kristin's, a text that her father later retrieved from her cell phone.
Kristin didn't know trying to leave him would leave him so violent, so enraged that he would stab her more than 50 times in her kitchen. She didn't know what domestic violence experts know, that statistics show that the leaving is the most dangerous time in a relationship.
She didn't know that she was, at 21, a victim of domestic abuse.
It is because of the efforts of her friends and family, who established The Kristin Mitchell Foundation in her memory, that many more people now know what Kristin and her friends tragically did not. That dating violence is real. That it is prevalent. That there are warning signs.
That it can and does happen on idyllic college campuses to 21 year old students whose whole lives are ahead of them.
And it is on the idyllic campus of Saint Joseph's University where we will be bright and early this Sunday morning, October 4, for the 3rd Annual Kristin's Krusade. It's a 5K Run/Walk that raises funds and, more importantly, awareness. If you're in the area or feel compelled to support the event and Kristin's foundation, you can find more information here.
The Kristin Mitchell Foundation supports educational efforts that raise awareness among college students about the potential dangers of unhealthy dating relationships. In 2009, KMF provided funding for four workshops on dating violence at two Philadelphia-area universities, as well as a 12-hour Women's Anti-Violence Education Training at Saint Joseph’s University, Kristin's alma mater.
Since Kristin's death, her parents Bill and Michele have worked successfully to pass Maryland House Bill 845, allowing for tween and teen dating violence education curriculums in Maryland schools for grades 7-12.
Kristin didn't know what lurked on the other side of her apartment door on June 3, 2005, three weeks after she stepped off Saint Joseph's campus as a new college graduate, a happy day that would be the very last one that her family would ever see her alive.
All Kristin Mitchell wanted was to walk through the door to her new life that was waiting for her. To run life her way.
Because of her, others now can.
And someday if they tell you about it
If the darkness knocks on your door
Remember her, remember me
We will be running as we have before
Running for answers
Running for more.