We all have stuff we are passionate about. For me, those things include family, friends, running, and helping fight cancer through awareness and fundraising. For those who have read my previous blogs, you know I raise money to fight cancer for various organizations. I also run in Honor or Memory of Honored Heroes, typically children.
Six months ago, my daughter Carolan, niece Jen and good friend Casey decided to commit to their first half-marathon: the Cellcom Green Bay Half Marathon. My running buddy Carla and I have completed four halves together (Cellcom twice!!!) and knew we wanted to be part of their special journey. Besides all being family and friends, all of us had lost loved ones to cancer, changed forever by that horrible disease.
I wondered if having someone and something else to focus on might help make their journey easier, so I sought out some special Cancer Warriors to be our honored heroes for race day. I had heard of a young man named Bo who had lost his battle with leukemia last fall, and contacted his mother about running in his memory. She said, “But there are so many children. Can you run for them, too?” And she choose four more children for us to honor, all battling that horrible disease at such a young age. And so we trained for six long months, thinking about and praying for Chris, Mitch, Lulu & Carl, and talking to our special angel Bo, asking him to give us strength when we needed it.
Yesterday, the five of us set off on our running journey with love in our hearts and spring in our step, excited to be on the road together, running and honoring these children. Our coral shirts had the image of our heroes on the front and on the back read, “Whoever said winning isn’t everything obviously wasn’t fighting cancer.” Strangers commented on our shirts, asked about our heroes, and told us their own stories of love, loss, and cancer. We met survivors and people touched by cancer other ways. And they all touched us.
When people have asked me today, “How was the race?” I have said the same thing over and over. “Incredible.”
“Oh, did you PR?!” Is the next excited question.
Nope…not even close. But I ran 13.1 miles with my daughter, niece, and two of my best friends, and I honored five amazing children, and met people whose words changed me forever. There will be other races, that’s for certain, but I will never forget this one.