While 11 years have passed, Ashley McLaughlin still takes time each day to remember her close friend Alexandra Miliotis.
“Alex is still such a strong influence on my life,” said McLaughlin. “She is always on my mind. I am still best friends were her twin sister (Arianna). Anytime I see her, I think of Alex.”
On March 15, 2002, 16-year-old Alexandra Miliotis passed away following a 10-month battle with leukemia.
Now more than a decade after her tragic passing, Miliotis’ legacy lives on in the hearts of McLaughlin and many that knew her from Andover.
McLaughlin will honor her friend’s memory on April 15, when she runs the Boston Marathon for “Alex’s Team,” the charity long ago set up for Miliotis.
“It’s really moving and inspirational for me and my entire family to see Ashley do this,” said Arianna Miliotis. “Ashley was very close with Alex and I from the time we were little kids. Ashley and I are still very close, and we find ways to remember my sister. Ashley has always been so dedicated, and I think her running the Marathon is the quintessential example of her dedication to her goals, her friends and her family. It’s very emotional.”
For McLaughlin, the Marathon was a perfect way to honor her friend, and fulfill a lifelong dream.
“I felt it would be a great way to keep her memory alive,” said McLaughlin, now a teacher at Waltham High. “I have always wanted to run the Boston Marathon, and to do it for Alex makes it all worthwhile. It’s important to remember her struggles and keep her spirit alive.”
The Marathon makes a fitting tribune to Alex, since sports has always played a major role in the bond between McLaughlin and the Miliotis sisters.
“We were about 6-years-old when we started playing soccer together,” said McLaughlin. “We were on separate teams. Then we started playing basketball together, all the way through freshman basketball. Alex was very athletic. She was always happy and smiling.