(FOX NEWS) On New Year’s Eve 2015, Christopher Longo of Bethel, Conn. got a phone call that would forever change his life.
“I’ve got some bad news,” his mother-in-law explained. “I don’t know how to say this, but the baby is gone.”
Longo’s wife Lynne, 35, who was 22 weeks pregnant with the couple’s third child, was at the hospital for a scheduled ultrasound when doctors discovered that the baby had no heartbeat.
Once he arrived at the hospital, Longo, 38, immediately comforted Lynne and then asked for an ultrasound to confirm that the baby had passed away. Since Lynne had had a normal, healthy pregnancy up until that point, the baby’s death came as a huge shock to them.
“It was surreal to say the least,” Longo, the interim assistant principal at Schaghticoke Middle School in New Milford, Conn., said. “My feeling behind it was utter disbelief.”
The next day Lynne delivered their baby, a daughter they named Angelina. Shortly thereafter, Longo decided that despite their tragic loss, he was going to find a positive way to cope through his grief and maybe even inspire others along the way.
Although he was a full-scholarship athlete in college and ran in two consecutive NCAA Division 1 cross country championships, 12 years had gone by before Longo hit the pavement again last year to train for his first marathon in September.
Although he finished the race, the pain that started to set in around mile 22 seemed too hard.
“I said to myself, ‘I’ll never run a marathon again,’” he recalled
Yet as he thought more about Angelina, he realized there was no better way to honor her and find a source of strength than by running 22 marathons, one for each week of her life in utero.
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