Sparkle Spotlight: SparkleSister Endures “Silent” Chronic Illness to Continue Running
Imagine sharp pain shooting throughout your entire body, stiff joints, fibrous knotty and rope-like muscle tissue that burns, and chronic fatigue—but on the outside, you look perfectly normal. That’s SparkleSister Gerri Tokar-Hines daily struggle.
“Although I was officially diagnosed about 10 years ago, doctors believe I have been living with lingering symptoms of fibromyalgia since my late teens--a long time ago!” And a long time to endure the fatigue and intense invisible symptoms.
“Each day is a struggle simply to get out of bed.” Gerri perseveres because “doing nothing only makes the pain worse. I have a family, a great career, a love for running, and all things SPARKLE!” She said it's important to know your limits and push your boundaries to test yourself.
She discovered running/got into running in 2014; more than 50 races and she hasn’t looked back. Running and staying active with Orange Theory Fitness classes allows Gerri to stay physically fit, test her limits, and fight back.
“The symbols of the national fibromyalgia association are the purple ribbon and butterfly. Though we are fragile much like the butterfly, when we push ourselves it's amazing what we can do!”
Another thing that is amazing—Gerri’s Sparkle Collection. Though she was only introduced to SparkleSkirts three years ago by her best friend, she now has one of the largest known collections in the SparkleFamily—we won’t divulge how many—but if you know Gerri, you know…
“She told me about POCKETS...we know it's all about the pockets!” After that, she was hooked.
“There was one race I did sans-Sparkle. It was that moment I knew I couldn't race without one! I need the POCKETS and I have rituals of where everything goes. I know exactly how I like them and my perfect size.” Beyond the storage capacity, Gerri said the most important feature is the compression she gets from the shorts on her hips during a run or casual daily wear.
“As my disease moves deeper into my lower extremities, the compression helps take off some of the pressure I feel just standing up.”
In honor of this determined SparkleSister and the 20th Anniversary of National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, we are launching a brand-new awareness embellishment, FibroButterfly. Five dollars from every purchase of this embellishment will benefit the National Fibromyalgia Association.
“It’s fitting that Awareness Day is Friday, May 12! Just like Tink, this butterfly will spread her wings and FLY!”
We hope you’ll share Gerri’s story with your friends to help educate others about this silent illness. Find out more about fibromyalgia at www.fmaware.org. Thank you, Gerri, for inspiring us to push past obstacles and remain focused putting in the tough work to elevate our health and well-being.