My marathon story began June 5, 2011—the day I learned my Dad had lung cancer. A man nearly 80, who played tennis every morning, and enjoyed life to the fullest was now diagnosed with a deadly disease—I could not believe it then, and still to this day, have a difficult time accepting the reality of his devastating disease. My Dad fought hard—in fact at one point he put the disease at bay, but just when we thought he was gaining on his fight, the disease took over with a vengeance.
We lost my Dad nearly one year later to the day he was diagnosed—May 8, 2012. During his fight, I felt helpless—almost to the extent of feeling angry, that I could do nothing within my power to save him. After the funeral, I became even more devastated that I did nothing to save him—frustration and anger at times was overwhelming.
My sister and nephew had been training for the Chicago Marathon—Dad always said he would be there to watch them run—he was really looking forward to it. In thinking about what I could do for Dad, and so many other wonderful friends who had lost their lives to cancer, I decided fundraising for an organization that fought the disease would be one way to fight back. So I signed up to run the Chicago Marathon, and turned it in to my mission for Dad and friends who lost their lives to cancer. I began training in June. Unfortunately, during a trip to Korea, I was on a training run and tripped over an obstacle in the road, falling quite hard on my left side, on a concrete roadway. My left leg doubled in size and sported a large hematoma – I was three weeks away from the marathon. Upon returning home, my doctor and physical therapists suggested it would not be possible to run. A week away from the race and I was still limping along with a fairly substantial hematoma still present. I decided to go to Chicago regardless, and at least support my sister and nephew, who were planning on running. Once in Chicago, something inside me light up again—I decided I would at least start the race, and if I had to quit I would.
Well race day came—months of preparation had to go somewhere, my anger at cancer and what impact it had on our family and Mom, had to go somewhere…so I lined up with so many others running for a cause. It was overwhelming—the start brought forward many emotions, but front and center was that those in “E corral” were running for someone, some being (animals and humans), that needed help—so off we went. The support on the streets through Chicago was wonderful, and the sun, breeze and cool fall temperatures made for a perfect marathon day.
As I ran, my injury seemed to take a back seat to all of the other aches and pains associated most likely with no activity over previous weeks…but once I realized the pain was not emanating from my injured leg, I felt I needed to keep going, to keep going for Dad. And pretty soon the miles past, and I was half way there. It was not easy, and I certainly was not breaking any records, but I did keep on running—reaching deeper and deeper inside to find the strength to keep going, despite the pain, this one was for Dad. Being a part of the Determination Team, something much larger than an individual effort helped me run—running for a cause, a cause that was now personal, helped me run; loving my Dad and missing my Dad, helped me run—and knowing friends and family supported me in this endeavor with their contributions to fight this disease—got me across the finish line.
In the end, whether it was Dad sending me a message that “I could do it”-my memory of him, what he fought, or the energy of the event itself, it really does not matter—in the end what matters is a group of collective souls ran to raise money for cancer and the energy and outcome will keep the good fight against cancer strong. It was a good day to stand up to cancer, and to run for my Dad. I love you Dad. We all miss you very much. We will continue the good fight…
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