Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Running To Fight Cancer

When we're kids, we feel like we're invincible. When we're teenagers, we feel beyond invincible. And when we're in college, we feel beyond beyond invincible! It takes us humans a bit of time to step back and realize that time is precious, our days are numbered, and our lives are gifts!

Perhaps my recent birthday (27!) has made me feel more and more connected with these concepts. I've come to realize even more how important it is to know that getting older is a privilege. It's easy to complain about how "old" we are getting just because we might not get carded at a bar anymore, or a few gray hairs are sprouting here and there.

But, we must remember that not everyone gets the opportunity to age and live to be old like our grandparents. For some people, like those afflicted with cancer, time is even more precious, the days are more clearly numbered, and life is the biggest gift under the tree.

That is why I love so dearly the message of the American Cancer Society, and their inspiring slogan "The Official Sponsor of Birthdays." It's simple yet moving. It's powerful and profound. I can not wrap my head around the startling statistics and heart wrenching stories we hear (and don't hear) of those whose lives have been changed because of a cancer diagnosis. Some survive, and some do not; but they all must fight in hopes to see more birthdays.

We all have the stories of those in our lives who have had to put up that encumbering and painstaking fight. My friend's father who passed away from colon cancer fought so strongly that he lived years after any doctor had ever expected. My friend's mother who passed away from skin cancer fought in such a way that her beauty and joy and amazing smile remained until her last days (and still lives on inside of us). Sadly, these stories can go on and on.

The American Cancer Society fights too. This organization raises millions of dollars a year for cancer research so that we can one day find a cure. And, since no one is immune from this terrible disease, ACS also looks to find ways to prevent cancer from happening more and more.

I am so happy to be running as a part of the American Cancer Society's DeterimiNation Team for the Capital City Half Marathon. I have raised nearly $1,300 so far and am so happy to know that every mile I run will go towards helping people celebrate more birthdays.

I have experienced "runner's knee" during my training, which I have been trying to cure with IT band stretches on a foam roller, more shoe support, glucosamine chondroitin, a knee brace, ice, heat, and rest. But the best way for me to overcome the pain in my knee is to think about all of those who suffered (and continue to suffer) far, far, far greater than me with cancer. Those I truly am humbled to have the ability to complete this race (even if I do have a knee that is acting up).

Not everyone has the ability to run a race, either because they are too ill, or no longer with us. I am running this race for my friend's mother, my other friend's father, and all of the countless people who have or have had cancer.

Please consider donating either to my race, or to the American Cancer Society in general in order to help others celebrate more birthdays.

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