Despite the craziness of having newborn twins and a very active 3 year old, Donny has agreed to support me as I tackle training for the Boston Marathon and more importantly, fighting cancer, for the third consecutive year.
My Marathon History
On April 18, 2011, I ran my first marathon and successfully finished with a time of 4:58:00. Even though only 6 months prior I couldn’t run a mile, I wanted to do something noteworthy to celebrate the 15th anniversary of my bone marrow transplant. What’s more impressive and significantly more important to me was that my friends, my family, and even complete strangers helped me raise over $22,600 for cancer research.
Last year, I set a goal of finishing in under 4:30:00 and hoped to raised $16,000; that was, until I learned I was pregnant with twins. I’m not going lie, it was a little disappointing to have a great 14.5 mile run on one Saturday and then learn that the marathon was not a possibility only 4 days later with the flick of an ultrasound wand. I continued fundraising and was thrilled to have two more babies on the way (babies that we never thought were possible due to my cancer treatment); still, I missed not running on race day. That’s why I was upset at the idea of not running this year; however, who in their right mind decides to train and fund-raise for months with newborn twins and a 3 year-old? I played out the countless hours of training and fundraising in my head and didn’t see how there was time for my already plentiful commitments (i.e. taking care of all of the kiddos, coordinating cancer trials at Dana-Farber full-time, the usual long list of house to-dos, sleeping, etc).
Then I remembered WHY I run and I realized that I had no choice.
Why do I run? Well, the list is long and continues to grow so for now I’ll keep it simple. This year I am coming out of a 10-month running-retirement because…
1. Cancer tried to kill me. And almost 17 years later, I’m still battling the side effects.
2. Cancer also tried to kill my patient partner, Nicole. She was diagnosed with the worst kind of Hodgkin’s Disease, stage 4B. After some brutal treatment, she’s regaining her ability to move her legs again and hopes to tackle the last mile with me on race day!
3. Lung cancer ultimately took the life of my amazing grandmother this past Saturday and I know, without hesitation, that she wants me running.
4. No child should have to fight cancer.
5. Cancer has tried to kill so many other amazing individuals…
6. …and sometimes, sadly, the cancer prevails.
7. If 1 in 3 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, I’d like to do everything in my power to prevent all 3 of my children from experiencing cancer.
8. After years of working with cancer, it has become so apparent that most cancer treatments are antiquated. The side effects of chemo, radiation, and other cancer treatments are endless and can destroy a survivor’s quality of life.
8. Huge advances in cancer treatment are being made through this program. Obviously, I have the opportunity to raise money for any one of a hundred different cancer organizations but I choose this one. It’s NOT because I’m a runner and want to run a marathon (I’m a little nervous about my current ‘couch to 26.2 miles in 4 months’ program); I choose the DFMC program because this organization is making a difference in the fight- I see it first-hand, every single day.
9. I hate cancer.