SPRINGFIELD, MO - After 5 months of being married, Stacie became a widow at the age of 25. Meeting her soon to be husband, Justin Baker, at Southwest Baptist University during her junior year on a mission trip to New Orleans.
"That’s just, kind of, where I saw the personality he had, the person he was, and the heart that he had," remembers Stacie. "He was very selfless and giving. It was kind of from there we were just drawn to each other.”
A runner, 27-year-old Justin ran competitively during his years at Kickapoo High School and than later on for SBU. Stacie says he was always striving to be better and even qualified for the Boston Marathon this year. And while training he collapsed, and went into cardiac arrest.
"What happened was when he was running his heart just stopped beating and someone saw him and pulled over and they called 911. They got their quickly but, unfortunately, there wasn’t much they could do," she says. "He went without oxygen for too long. He was, pretty much, brain dead when he came back to us.”
With no issues previously, Stacie says we may never know what caused him to go into cardiac arrest. And just a week after the accident she had to make the decision to let him go.
"You feel hopeless, you feel empty," explains Stacie. "You feel a lot of things at once.”
Shortly after his passing, Stacie wanted to reach others in hopes that she wasn’t going through this struggle alone. So she started writing a blog called Justin’s Race! And her honesty in her struggle has reached 28 other countries and six continents all with people who are dealing with similar issues.
"I, obviously, never expected this to happen. And so, as long as it’s reaching people and touching people that are going through the same thing i’m going to continue to do it."
Striving to invest in people and friendships and her faith Stacie has a new look when it comes to the future.
"With everything that’s happened I’ve learned not to plan for the future because we aren’t promised tomorrow," she says. "So, right now, I’m really just focused on living for today and doing what I can because Justin always said, ‘If you can reach one person its good enough. You’ve served your life’s purpose.’”
She hopes to have a 5k in Justin’s memory and use that money to provide scholarships for SBU students.