My dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at age 60, in August of 2009. He was very fortunate to have had an endoscopy which revealed the tumor in its earliest stages. He had the Whipple procedure and is currently doing very well! Once he made it to the one year anniversary of his diagnosis, I felt this unwavering urge to DO SOMETHING!
I read about the opportunity to run the Los Angeles Marathon with the Hirshberg Training Team, while training virtually at home on the East Coast. In the back of my mind, I’ve always considered the challenge of running a marathon. Having the opportunity to run and raise funds for such a great cause was something I couldn’t pass up. I registered for the team and began looking forward to traveling to sunny L.A.
I trained during the worst winter in New England in decades. It was really tough. I often had people stop me, in their warm cars, and ask if I wanted a ride home. They probably were wondering why the heck I would willingly subject myself to this crazy weather. The answer was easy – my dad’s diagnosis. His experience truly kept me going during my training and again on race day. I just kept picturing him lying in his hospital bed. I remember thinking, “Cancer did this to him.” I was ready to go after it.
When I crossed the finish line, ironically during one of the worst rainstorms in Los Angeles, I was soaked to the core and so proud of what I had just done. I knew how lucky my dad was to be diagnosed early, and how surgery ultimately gave him back his quality of life. I want MORE people to be given the options that we were. What the Hirshberg Foundation is doing – in creating awareness and funding research – is so important to people like my dad, and to those yet to be diagnosed.
If you have the urge to DO SOMETHING like I did, consider joining the Hirshberg Training Team. If I can do it, so can you. I promise you’ll have better weather than I did.