Summer Smith 5k Addiction Awareness Memorial Run

Run The Race...Stop The Stigma

Summer's Story - The Broken Girl

Summer Leigh Smith was born on a beautiful summer day in San Diego, California on June 11, 1983.  Reflecting the season in which she was born, she was a bright and warm child.  She attended Lynwood Elementary School, Farnswood Middle School and Guilderland High School in Guilderland New York.  Tragically she was a victim of sexual abuse at a very young age.  As so many victims of childhood sexual abuse do, she sought to cover the confusion, shame and pain that she felt with the use of drugs and alcohol. 

After graduating high school, she soon became a young mother.  After the birth of her first child, her doctor prescribed her oxycodone for pain she was having.  Thus began the 12 year battle of addiction that she would face. 

Summer's fight was not an easy one, yet it was typical of one battling the disease of addiction. Many years of therapy, rehabilitations and a mental health diagnosis related to her early childhood abuse led her to the doorstep of Schenectady County Drug Court,  where she began the rigerous program that would lead her through one of the best years of her life.  Reunited with family, amends made, an active and loving mother of her three boys, Summer was in a wonderful place.  She was a resident of the Schenetady YWCA Women's Housing Program and had just completed her first 5 k race led by mentors of STEM (Strong Through Every Mile).  Crossing the finish line in December 2014 was a moment of empowerment for Summer and the women she ran with.  After a Christmas spent with family she settled into the New Year with hopes and aspirations for her future.

Tragically on January 9, 2015, Summer succumed to the disease of addiction, with a relapse her body could not sustain. Summer never wanted to be an "addict", she only wanted to be loved and to be a good mother. As she told her own mother, " I wish I had never picked up that first drug, I became addicted  before I even knew I was". Today Summer is survived by her 3 beautiful boys, ages 14, 6 and 5.  In her memory we establish this race to race awareness of the disease of addiction and to reduce the stigma surrounding addiction.                              With belief in a life lived in recovery,  Summer's Family
Summer's Story
Click below to watch the documentary regarding how the run came about
In a film created by the Upstate Independent Filmmaker's Association, Summer's Mom Kristin shares Summer's Story and how the run began.  Special thanks to Susie Griswold and Micheal Turner for their work on this project.
What recovery looked like for Summer, surrounded by her family, always smiling!