On February 25th, 2011, I lost my mom to lung cancer. She was 68 years old. Although my heart ached, I knew she was no longer suffering and at peace. In a blink of an eye, I can still picture my last moments with her; holding her hand, rubbing her arm and repeating, “I’m here momma, I love you.”
On my visit months earlier, the doctor simply stated, “You have Stage IV Lung Cancer, and it is inoperable. We can either discuss treatment options or we can try to keep you comfortable”, as the air was quietly sucked from the room. She chose chemo “for her kids”. But the cancer spread so quickly and one chemo treatment proved to be too much.
A few weeks before her passing, I signed up to run the Rock N Roll Savannah Inaugural Marathon with DetermiNation in her honor. Now, it would be in her memory. Training helped me mourn her passing. I finished many long training runs having ugly cried for most of the miles. However, I was able to celebrate her life on race day with a 27-minute PR.
Through the tears I found her strength. Through the miles I continued to celebrate her spirit.
My passion is simple; I want to continue to DO something, I want to continue to fight in her memory. I do not want any other family to ever have to sit through a meeting with their oncologist plainly stating that there is no hope. To me, there IS hope that we can find a cure for cancer. That’s why I have again joined forces with DetermiNation, but this year I’m coaching the DetermiNation-Charlotte team.
We have walk stars, run/walkers and runners that have one common goal. We want to put an end to cancer. We went into this season with one thought; what if it is the dollars they raise that finds the cure. I’m continually amazed and inspired by the team’s fundraising, training and enthusiasm every single week. Having once been an athlete on a virtual team, and now actually having like-minded individuals meeting every Saturday for training, I continue to be inspired & more passionate about this cause.
In one of my weekly emails to the team, I included this sentence:
You WILL NOT regret any of the early mornings, muscle aches and pains that go into endurance training when you are standing in that starting corral with the names of your loved ones on your singlet.
I remind them to stay focused. I remind them that we are stronger as a group. I remind them that they’ve endured 16+ weeks of training, fundraising and stepping outside their comfort zone. They’ve earned their spot in the starting corral for Marine Corp Marathon and RnR Savannah Half and Full Marathon. It’s their chance to enjoy their moment, celebrate their loved ones still fighting and continue to fight in the memory of their parent, spouse, aunt, uncle, sister, brother and friend. The fight goes on, because I know my mom wouldn’t have it any other way.
Cancer picked the fight, we just answered the call.
To support Tom and his wife in their fight against cancer, visit their DetermiNation page.