Why would anyone want to run 26.2 miles? Why would anyone want to do it four different times?!
The answer to these questions can be complicated. We run because the roads and trails are there. We run because we need an outlet. We run to enjoy nature and the outdoors. We run to be with friends and family. We run to stay healthy and fit. We run for others.
When I completed my first marathon, New York, in 1998, I was young and full of enthusiasm (and free time). When my friend asked me to run Boston some 15 years later, getting motivated was a lot more difficult. But, we found the extra incentive we needed by running for Dana Farber, a Boston hospital that specializes in cancer research. This was to be a bonding experience to remember and a jaunt that would raise both money and awareness for cancer. Unfortunately, during the many months of preparation we discovered my mother had colon cancer. Now our efforts were redoubled for the cause, and while we knew giving to cancer research was always important, it hit especially home now.
The 2013 Boston Marathon was supposed to be my last marathon, a run for those fighting cancer. My family waited at the finish line for me. When I passed mile 25.8, two bombs went off. My friend and I, as well as thousands of other runners, were stopped on the course. We were so close to our goal, but instantaneously a marathon finish disappeared and concern for our families and others filled our minds. What we fight for and what is important was crystallized in that moment.
So what do marathoners and cancer patients have in common? We are fighters. There was no way we were not going to try and finish the race. So that meant back to training through another frigid New York winter in preparation for another Boston Marathon. We completed our goal of finishing the following year.
And that was supposed to be the end of the story. No more running, more time with family and friends, more attainable goals to fit in with a busy lifestyle. Enter the Cancer Support Community. I have been involved with the CSC for many years, starting with my efforts on the Young Leadership Council at Gilda’s Club over 10 years ago. Everyone is affected by cancer in some way. As I get older I find that those connections grow more personal and hit even closer to home. There is always a need to provide social and emotional support to those dealing with cancer. And if running 26.2 miles gets others on board, then it’s time to tie those laces and get out there and run. And that’s what my friend and I did this October, running on a beautiful day in the windy city and raising money and awareness for CSC. We support all of the people who are dealing with cancer in any way and are pushed, step by step, not to let them down.
You don’t have to run a marathon to support CSC this holiday season. Learn more about how you can make a difference in the lives of people touched by cancer here. And remember that from now until December 31 your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $100,000.