Monday, December 17, 2012

A mom and wife

This is Leigh Wallace and her husband Chris.  They have both been friend’s of Hubby’s since college.  I remember meeting Leigh when Hubby and I first started dating (Fall of ‘92).  I remember sitting in their cute little house, and her retelling her about the evening back in 1989 when she was abducted, brutally attacked and raped, and how she escaped.  I remember thinking  - DAMN – you are the strongest woman I think I’ll ever meet.  She was a young mom back then – and she had decided that the attack would not become who she was, but simply a part of who she had become. 

A strong, loving, caring wife and mom and from what everyone is saying, an incredible role model for those who were blessed to be a part of her life.

Leigh died early this morning in a hospital in TN.  Right now, there is not too much information other than “unidentified infection.”

Below is the picture and article that was on the WATAGUA DEMOCRAT (the local paper in Boone, NC)

My heart aches for her family.  And once again, we are reminded that there are no guarantees on the time that we have.  And reminded that we need to hug those we love when we can.

Leigh Cooper Wallace, a Watauga High School teacher, a coach and a dedicated athlete, died Monday at Johnson City Medical Center, several sources have confirmed.

Wallace, 43, of Todd was diagnosed last week with pneumonia and was airlifted to the Tennessee hospital on Sunday as her breathing became labored, according to Facebook updates from family members. Low oxygen levels required her to be placed on a ventilator.

She is survived by her husband, Chris Wallace, and two children, Jake and Haleigh.

Wallace graduated from Appalachian State University, where she ran cross-country and track. She was a talented runner well-known in Watauga County for her athletic endeavors.

For years, Wallace helped coach the Watauga High School cross country teams, often outpacing the young men on the team. She also coached track and women’s lacrosse.

She was inducted into the Watauga Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.

“When you stay physically fit, it empowers you,” she told the Watauga Democrat in 2011. “That's part of the reason I teach.”

Wallace also became a symbol of strength and courage after she survived a kidnapping and sexual assault in 1989, when she was a junior at Appalachian State University. The man who attacked her killed another young woman, Jeni Gray, shortly before approaching Wallace.

She shared her experiences for years at ASU's Walk For Awareness, which encouraged the community to be aware of safety risks and to stand against violence.

Her story also was shared on several television programs, including an episode of Investigation Discovery's "Sins and Secrets" that aired in October.

“I think the message I hope to give people is, ‘This is what I went through, and I still live my life to the fullest,'” she said in 2011. “It doesn't have to ruin your life. It's a part of your history. It's a part of you. But it doesn't have to consume and destroy your life.”


Ife Ali said...

Just saw the show you mentioned. What an amazing, crazy, sad but impowering story. She was an amazing woman.

Anonymous said...

I am absolutely shocked that this courageous woman is now dead. I saw her on Sins and Secrets and was so curious about her after hearing her story of abduction, rape, and then escape. When I learned that she is now deceased, I dropped tears for this total stranger. RIP Leigh Cooper Wallace, and may your family be comforted by your memories.

Cora Shaw said...

Just watched the episode and cried when I realized she had passed away. My heart goes out to the family, even if it's 4 years later.

Jason said...

I was in a class of hers years ago. I was telling my fiance about a health teacher I had who was sexually assaulted when she was younger, and how the story had stuck with me (she told the story in class once) I decided to google her to see if she's still teaching in the class and found out she died a few years ago. I remember she was a really good teacher, sad she's gone