When I started running the goal was to work my way up to 3 miles. I chose this distance because it is the standard for the USMC physical fitness test and in my mind I will always be a Marine. Besides, why in the world would anybody need, or want, to run any farther? That just seemed silly to me. After a few months, I decided to run a 5k (yes, I know it's a little more than 3 miles) and subsequently placed in my age group. The trophy they awarded me might as well have been made out of crack because I was hooked. The journey eventually led to marathons and then beyond, taking me from the roadways to the trails of the ultra-world.
"Cancer happens to other people and really has no impact on my life or family." This was something that I actually did think. At least it was something that I thought before my Dad was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in December of 2009. I was confused and angry as he was rushed into surgery the very next day. "How in the world could something like this happen to somebody that I love?" and "WHY is this happening?" were questions that I asked during my therapy sessions. These therapy sessions took place on the roads and trails as I was running. It was during this time that I started to look for a way to make a difference and find a meaningful way to help in the fight against the monster that is cancer.
Of course, like all of life's journeys, there was a speed bump in the road. Within the first two months of 2010 my Mom was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Surgery and treatments followed. Again I struggled with the questions of how and why this happened. It just didn't seem fair. BOTH of my parents? Within just a FEW MONTHS of each other? What the???? So it was back to my therapy sessions and back to looking for a way to fight back, a way to do my share, a way to make a difference.
My love of running and hate for this beast led me to discover the Relay for Life and all the wonderful people associated with this organization. Through fundraising efforts over the past few years, I have made many friends involved in the fight and I have changed. I have evolved from a very insecure person into a dude that doesn't mind to wear a pink tutu in front of large crowds. I have learned that sometimes you have to be in the spotlight in order to make a difference no matter how uncomfortable it makes you. I have learned that WE ALL hate cancer and dream of world where our children can live without the monster looming over.
On February 2nd, I am going to run 100 miles. For the fourth time. All at once and under 24 hours. Maybe even under 20 hours. There will probably be times when the miles get tough and I will think, "Please let me finish this one mile. Please. Please. Pretty please......" just like I did that cold January day seven years ago. What I won't think is that cancer is somebody else's problem, that it won't affect me or my family, that it is just a word. Never again will I dismiss this beast as inconsequential. Just as I struggle to the finish line, I will continue to do everything I can to help make a difference in this fight. One day we will win.....
This is the part where I ask, again, for your help. Please consider donating $10, or merely one shiny dime per mile, to the American Cancer Society through my Relay for Life page. I really don't have anything to offer in return other than the promise to do my best during the race and to continue fighting, with all my heart and every fiber in my body, to secure a future where cancer is just a word and not a relevant disease.
You can donate online by clicking on this link---> Relay for Life Page
Or via paypal:
OR.... By mail
212 Murphy Lane
Wasola, MO 65773
Make checks payable to the American Cancer Society. Contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions or to send names. Remember to ask your employer about matching contributions. Tell your friends at the local watering hole and see if they will help. Share this blog with others and spread the word. TOGETHER we can make it happen. One day we will win.....