Running for a Reason

In theory, I should be focusing on my cycling this spring. Sure, I’d still be running and I’d definitely still do the occasional race here and there, but I’d be scheduling my runs around my rides. I’d be making sure I got my bike rides in and going for a run if I had time. That sort of thing.

I’m not, however, but it’s for a very important reason. I’ve decided to run the Seattle Rock & Roll Half Marathon to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

Generally, I’m not into these big fundraising things. I’m perfectly happy to just train and run and not worry about the additional commitment. This year is different, though. This year, the race isn’t about me.

It’s about my stepmother-in-law, who was diagnosed with Stage II lung cancer last year. Who, after an aggressive course of radiation and chemotherapy, had surgery that removed a third of her lung and a couple ribs. The good news? She’s been pronounced cancer-free. The bad news? She’ll spend most of this year fully recovering from the surgery.

It’s about Leslie, who I never had the pleasure of meeting, but whose husband I ran several races with when I lived in Chicago (including the always awesome Dances with Dirt). She was diagnosed with Stage IV endometrial cancer last year and went through several rounds of chemotherapy. Sadly, her outcome has not been as good as another tumor was discovered shortly after she finished chemo and she was recently admitted to hospice care. She and her husband have eloquently documented their experience over at Adventures in Cancerland, which I encourage you to go read.

It’s about Paula, another DWD runner that I was acquainted with. I only met her once or twice, but had friends who knew her much better. They all agreed on one thing: the world lost an amazing woman when she lost her battle with breast cancer last year.

It’s about Erin, a woman my age that successfully beat thyroid cancer last year, but who now gets to have yearly radioactive scans to make sure it hasn’t come back.

It’s about Amalah’s father, who never met his youngest grandson. About my friend’s mother, who passed away several years ago and never got to see her daughter get married. About my Uncle Jack, who died when his children were still in school and never got to see any of the graduations, weddings, or grandkids that have followed since then.

There are also happier stories, like my parents’ friend Denise, who beat breast cancer several years ago and is still around to tell the tale.

Photo of a family in which the father has cancer, by Flickr user okie9687

By Flickr user okie9867

At any rate, you get where this is going. Cancer has touched the lives of countless people and last year it hit just a little too close to home. I felt like I had to do something, but there really isn’t a whole lot I can do, you know? Then it hit me: I can run. I may do it slowly, but I can run distances that other people would describe as “stupidly long,” so that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

I’m going to run 13.1 miles in support, celebration and memory of everyone I’ve ever known who is fighting, has beaten or has lost their battle to cancer. But that’s not all I’m going to do. I’m going to run those miles for the American Cancer Society¬†and I am going to raise enough money to make a statement. To say that we are done with this crap. We are going to put are money behind the organization that is helping fund research for better tests and better treatments. An organization that is committed to finding cancer earlier and treating it better. An organization that simply wants one thing: Less Cancer. More Birthdays.

I’d absolutely love it if you’d support me in this with a donation. It doesn’t have to be much – just $1 or $5 – but if the whole internet can get together on this with just $5 each, it’ll add up to something big. Something awesome. Something that has the power to make a difference in someone’s life.

Like I said before, this race isn’t about me. It’s about everyone who’s ever dealt with the bad news or lived under its shadow for even a second. I’ll do the hard part, all you need to do is make a donation to say that you’re ready to kick cancer to the curb, too.

2 Responses to Running for a Reason

  1. Jenny says:

    My mom is a stage 4 uteran survivor. Cancer CAN be beat. Such a great cause, Dawn, and a great organization to support. You rock and you’re going to kick the shit out of that marathon!

  2. Suzanne says:

    Beautifully written post Dawn! This is a cause that is very special to our family as well. It seems much more rare to find someone not touched by cancer. All the best of luck to you in raising money for a great cause!
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