• Carina & Niki Young Run for TLLM

    By Marie McGrath | Posted Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

Sisters run the 2019 Boston Marathon to benefit TextLess Live More in honor of their friend Merritt

Niki Young shares experience with TextLess Live More, her bond with her sister Carina, and their journey training for Boston.

On July 3, 2013, Carina and I shared in the devastation of many when 18-year-old Merritt Levitan lost her life to a distracted driver. Merritt was one of Carina’s closest friends, and her sister, Hunter, is one of mine.

Merritt’s tragic passing was a wake-up call for me in many ways.

First and foremost, I was reminded how lucky I am to have a loving older sister who not only looks out for me but is also my best friend. It is far too easy to take family members for granted, and doing so is something I now strive to avoid at all costs. Second, Merritt’s passing made me aware of just how dangerous distracted driving can be.

Carina Young and Merritt Levitan in Spain, Spring 2012

The summer of 2013, I vowed never to text and drive. But my own change in behavior is not enough.

It truly blows my mind that legislation has not yet bound the entire nation to put their phones down while behind the wheel. Textless Live More’s work toward ending distracted driving, however, has begun to give me hope that change can occur. That is why I am running the 2019 Boston Marathon in support of TLLM and Merritt’s Way.

Ever since I was 5-years-old watching the crowds of racers run through Wellesley on Marathon Monday, it has always been my dream to compete Boston’s 26.2 myself. Though I have played competitive sports my entire life, I have never run a marathon before. In fact, the first time I’ve ever run more than 10 miles was during my preparation for Boston. Needless to say, the training has been very challenging. But, thinking about Merritt and TLLM’s mission coming to fruition has motivated me to persevere. Several weeks ago, I completed my longest training run—22 miles. It was certainly grueling, but the purpose behind my training allowed me to power through. As I begin to taper and prepare for the big day, I am focusing my efforts on hitting my fundraising goal, which also has not been an easy task. Textless Live More is such a promising organization because it enables students, the next generation of people behind the wheel, to inspire change themselves. Please consider supporting TLLM and our sister run to complete this feat in honor of Merritt!

To donate to Niki and Carina’s race, click here.