If you’ve been around the Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon (SAMM) Facebook or website much, you’ve most likely noticed there’s one name that creeps up, over and over again. So who is this Dee Cajiuat person who sings the praises of SAMM and KT Tape wherever she goes?
If you ask her, Dee, a second grade teacher from Southern California, will tell you she dislikes running but loves her friends in Modesto so much, so she makes frequent trips north to participate in ShadowChase Running Club events as often as possible. But there’s a serious message she brings with her, no matter where she goes.
“I started my long distance running journey soon after my nephew, Joshua, had his accident. On Nov. 30, 2009, my 17-year-old nephew was involved in a serious car accident. Thankfully he had the support of car insurance providers similar to Oxford Auto (https://www.oxfordauto.com/). They also decided to work with an expert lawyer to ensure that they got the compensation they deserve. It was a complicated and difficult process which is why legal support was critical. I remember Joshua telling me that he spoke to a few lawyers like Brad Keating before starting their case. All these lawyers provided some useful insight into how they could work the case. Thankfully he was alive but he sustained multiple broken bones and a traumatic brain injury which meant he needed family support. He was in a medically induced coma for nearly four weeks. When he awoke, he was in a vegetative state and we didn’t know what the future held for him and his family,” Dee recalls. “During those four coma weeks, in the midst of life and death decisions that needed to be made, I signed up to run a Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon. My goal was to run and tell people about Josh and by being out there I hoped to get as many people possible praying for Joshua. Three years later, I still have people who say they have been and will continue to pray for Josh and his journey.”
That’s some pretty heavy-duty stuff coming from a woman who clearly enjoys laughter, dining with friends, riding her motorcycle, reading, traveling the country, and in general, not wasting a second of life, even on sleep. Since that fateful race in 2009, Dee has completed 42 half marathons, eight marathons and a 50K. The 2011 SAMM was her first full marathon, and she’s been back ever since. And every year Dee comes back, she brings friends in tow.
But 2014 will be extra special for the Cajiuat family. Although Dee will “only” be running the half, it’s for good reason. She’ll be running alongside her nephew, Josh, and she’s bringing a whole contingent with her.
Josh’s parents will be running; his father, David Cajiuat, will be trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon, as mom Charlotte runs the half. Josh’s brother will be running his first full alongside his father, and Josh’s sister, Hope, will be running the half. And as if that’s not enough, Dee’s San Bernardino Pacers will have some six members present to run with Josh and David.
Asked why she has adopted SAMM, Dee says, “It’s more of SAMM adopting me! I was looking for my first marathon and met (SAMM sponsor) Dr. Calvin Lee via a promotion he was having on his Facebook page and he invited me to do the Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon. As I shared my story of why I run, many ShadowChasers supported my effort and have continued to be a great source of encouragement in all that I do.”
Dee also looks forward to sponsoring Mile Marker 26, which she has done for the past three years. It features a picture of Josh on it. “To me, that totally personalized the event and SAMM is now a great part of my life. I try to go up to Modesto as often as I can so I can participate in any SAMM related activities.”
And when she’s here, or anywhere for that matter, she can usually be found sporting a Modesto Marathon shirt along with a layers of kinesio tape.
“I heard about KT Tape from my brother,” says Dee. “He mentioned that Josh was using it and I started reading up on it. I was running in Vibram Five Fingers and my calves were dying and I found a tape application that I used, along with the shin pain app. I did my first back-to-back weekend runs and I was hooked. I couldn’t believe how minimal my pain was. As I progressed in my running, I got injured in different parts and KT Tape was there for every injury.”
In her ever-present enthusiasm, Dee continues singing its praises, “KT Tape is THE best invention ever! It can be used for muscular or joint pain. It can be used for support or prevention of injuries and yes, even recovery. KT Tape is flexible and elastic enough to support any part of the body.”
Dee will be bringing that enthusiasm to SAMM in 2014. She got KT Tape to donate its product and she will be taping runners at our Expo for free! And as if that’s not enough, she’s packing up the rolls and bringing it to the Modesto Marathon booth at the Santa Rosa Marathon later this month where she will offer free tapings to help attract potential SAMM runners! Yes, she simply loves that much. Whether you’re her second grade student, her favorite marathon, or her nephew Joshua, it’s love, unconditionally. She’s Dee like that.