This Sunday, Julie Burke is putting her body to the test in honor of her mom Rosemary McKee and other victims of domestic violence as she will run her first full marathon.

“I ran my first half marathon in Des Moines last October,” she said. “After I ran the race I thought it would be a good way to honor my mother. Something came into my spirit where I thought how could I help some other people? I reached out to DSAOC and asked them what they thought and if they could help me use my mothers story, and my story to let people know this is a reality of what can happen and does happen and that it doesn’t have to happen.”

Julie was two years old when her mother Rosemary McKee attempted to do one of the most difficult things a victim of domestic abuse can do, which is leave.

She packed up herself and her daughter and moved back in with her parents, leaving her husband, Julie’s father, behind.

Holding out hope that maybe he was going to change, Rosemary left her parents house to talk to her estranged husband.

“He was an alcoholic. The relationship was volatile,” Burke said. “He talked her out of the house, got her outside and then he shot her.”

To this day it is not easy for Julie Burke to talk about what happened to her mom, but she wants others to know they are not alone and that if they speak up, they will be heard.

“I don’t want anybody else to ever have to go through what my grandparents have gone through, what my aunt and uncle have had to go through, what I have had to go through, that it just doesn’t have to happen” Burke said. “There are so many people out there who care and will believe you if you speak up.”

Julie is raising money for the Domestic and Sexual Assault Outreach Center. She has wristbands people can purchase or you can donate directly to DSAOC.

If you are in a domestic or sexual abuse situation.. there is help. Contact DSAOC at 515-573-8000.

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