Sunday, August 7, 2011

In the "Spotlight" with Shangrila

Meet the passionate and beautiful Shangrila from Los Angeles California!

“At this very second, somewhere in the corner of this world, a child is being abused,“ a good friend of mine uttered these words to me as I shared with him my vision of raising funds for abused children.  Racing for a Cause, a non-profit organization that I founded this year, aims to bring awareness about the horrific silence that abused children go through and raises funds for Audrey Hepburn CARES Abuse Team of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Talk About Abuse to Liberate Kids (TAALK) non-profit organization chaptered in Orange County and San Diego.  Both of these entities work hard and are genuinely dedicated in giving the support and help that abused children need.  Mark your calendar!  Reserve October 8th and run or walk with us in Elysian Park (besides Dodger’s stadium) to raise funds for abused children.  As I have deep passion for running, I have designed the race to be fun, memorable and for children.  During and after the 5K race and kids’ fun run, we will have about 70 dancers performing drill step along the course, great talent trained by 2006 Billboard award winning music producer Andrew Lane, singing and dancing, a puppet show, live bands, literary and art booths, professional talk about abuse, special celebrity guests such as Karlie Redd, Cash Money recording artist and actress, and free food and beverages.  What else can you ask for?  Check out our website for more information,!

I’m an engineer, triathlete, ironman finisher, double century rider & ultra-marathon runner.  So, how did I come up about the idea of Racing for a Cause?  My innocence was shattered at a very early period of my childhood. I was sexually abused as a child from about 5 years old until 19 years old. During these years, I kept the abuse as a secret and acted like everything was okay. I was an ‘A’ student at school while at night I always cried and curled up in the corner of my dark room and had many sleepless nights due to images and acts of abuse. Before I came here to America (at the age of 17), I had suicidal thoughts. It was too much for me to take the number of men and frequency of the abuse that was happening at the time. I didn’t know how to fight and react with it except to just be silent. I’m really grateful that I didn’t end my life. I thought no one would violate my body anymore when I had become independent and “stronger” at age 19. I was wrong. At 25 years old, I was sexually abused by a parking attendant in Los Angeles on November, 2005. As painful as it was, I didn’t get any justice. I continuously did not believe in God or any form of higher being.  I lost my sense of spirituality, considered myself as a living dead and was hopeless until I got my first engineering job and finished my first marathon in Los Angeles last 2006. This was when I started seeing light in my future. I struggled with eating disorder for 10 years, was dependent on alcohol for 5 years and didn’t believe in God for more than 10 years. I was fortunate to receive help through eating disorder and alcohol outpatient programs, intensive and continued therapies and self-growth seminars. After 5 years of gradually healing myself, I am now stronger and grounded compared to many years ago. Though I am now better, many children are still in need. I don’t want to have another kid go through what I had gone through. I want to make a difference. As I am an athlete myself, a vision to organize racing events for a cause has emerged.  I founded Racing for a Cause.

I know that my past is very personal. However, the key word is that it is part of my “past.” Hence, it doesn’t define me anymore. Instead, I want to use my past as my strength and motivation for getting better. I disclosed my past to the public because I want my past to inspire the bigger population. Yes, I was a victim of abuse and sexual assault, had an eating disorder, was dependent to alcohol and spiritually lost.  That is not who I am now. Who I am is a strong, independent, good-hearted, God-believer and mature twenty-nine-year-old woman who strives to find her happiness and passion at all times. I am someone who wants to do something great and self-rewarding; something that makes a difference to children’s lives.  For the sake of children, together, we can help stop abuse.


  1. What a great story. To take a horrible, evil experience, turn it around and reflect back the exact opposite to the wonderful!

    More power to you, Shangrila!

  2. Thank you very much Paul! It is very rewarding experience to be able to inspire and show people that anyone can create new and positive possibilities even after all the things that he or she went through in the past.