DALLAS - Among the thousands of people who will run this year in the White Rock Marathon is a Marine Corps recruiter who wants to go the distance for a very special reason.

Shelby Sue Swanson was born three weeks early. She was named after her father's favorite car, the Shelby Cobra. Twelve days later, she came home.

It was like an early Christmas present to my entire family, said Staff Sgt. Ryan Swanson, a Marine recruiter. I have four other kids and they were very anxious to see their little sister because, while she was in the ICU, the children couldn't go back there and hold her or anything like that.

The next day, joy turned into grief.

The morning of December 23, we woke and she had passed away sometime during the night, he said.

Shelby died of SIDS, sudden infant death syndrome. Now almost one year later, her father will run the White Rock Marathon in her honor.

For me, I've already been through the hardest thing I'm ever going to go through mentally, he said. So, it's kind of a time for me to go back and reflect on it physically as well.

Like a proud U.S. Marine, Swanson is highly motivated and highly dedicated. And while he admits he's a little nervous, he's confident he'll go the distance.

I hope she helps me push those last few miles, he said. I really need her to help me out on this.


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