A Cancer-Ninja in the Making
Heartbreak Hil was created to help me share my experiences as a two-time cancer survivor, mom of three, full-time MBA student, cancer-fighting fund-raiser, marathon runner, and wife to a very understanding husband.
To clear things up… No, I am not a runner. But, in the name of cancer fighting, I am (slowly) becoming one. My motivation for running faster and further has little to do with other runners. Instead it stems from my personal battle with cancer. I run to prove that you can continue to kick ass after cancer and to raise money for innovative basic cancer research… to date, I’ve raised over $100K.
On January 6, 1996, I was diagnosed with pediatric AML and my life changed forever. After two aggressive courses of chemotherapy, my family and I learned that a bone marrow transplant was the only real chance for long-term survival. Fortunately, my only brother was a stem cell match and shortly thereafter, I received chemo, radiation, and my brother’s stem cells. Despite the challenges that would come with this process and there were many, it is responsible for 18 cancer-free years of life during which I graduated from Penn State, married my amazing husband, and gave birth to three babies no one thought I could conceive.
Following my 18 year cancer-free anniversary, I went to Dana-Farber for my usual check-up assessments thatare required due to the harsh leukemia treatment. After a battery of tests, I was diagnosed with a low-stage breast cancer. Unable to get any more radiation for fear that my heart would break, I ended up undergoing a bilateral mastectomy. In the fall of 2014. I’m happy to report that the one-year check-up revealed no cancer.
To celebrate life, specifically 21 extra years of life, I will be running in the 2017 Boston Marathon on the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team with the goal of raising $23,000 to destroy cancer ($23K = 21 years leukemia free + 2 years breast cancer free). I am excited to cross the finish line knowing that we’re all closer to a world without cancer.