Out of the 130 people who read my blog yesterday, I’m sure that at least half of them have been affected by cancer in some way. In my family alone, 2 out of my 4 grandparents were diagnosed with cancer. One survived. Cancer scares me more than anything else in this world and I will do anything I can to keep others from feeling the pain that cancer caused my family.
Last year, when I decided to become a runner, I signed up for my first half marathon with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training (TNT). Five months later, I finished the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego half marathon with 3,100 other TNT participants and together we raised $9,000,000 for blood cancer treatment and research. Crossing that finish line was one of the greatest (and most painful) moments of my life.
Ever since that day, I’ve been trying to find a way to raise money for lung cancer treatment and research through a race. The thought of crossing a finish line in honor of my grandfather and possibly saving someone else’s is overwhelming. So overwhelming that since the day it became a possibility, I haven’t been able to get it off of my mind. It’s a bit early to announce it here, but I literally can’t hold it in.
God-willing, on November 4, 2012, I will run the ING New York City Marathon as a member of Fred’s Team, a fundraising program that raises money for the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) through various endurance events. (Read about Fred Lebow, the team’s inspiring namesake and co-founder of the New York City Marathon, here) My goal is to raise at least $5,000. I chose Fred’s Team for many reasons, but the main reason is that I can request that the money I raise be directed specifically to lung cancer research at MSKCC.
It may seem weird that I’m planning this a year in advance, but the NYC Marathon is one of the hardest races to get into and I want to be one of the first people on the list when the registration for Fred’s Team opens. (I’ve already pre-registered and will be notified as soon as the official registration opens in the Spring.) I’ll also need an entire year to prepare my body to run 26.2 miles. I’m extremely nervous, but I am beyond excited to run my first marathon in my favorite city. I’ll probably cry tears of sheer joy the entire way. It’s going to be amazing and I already can’t wait. I may have even booked my hotel room a year in advance. Don’t judge me.
Throughout the next year, I’ll be documenting the entire process: registration, fundraising, and training. I promise not to spare any details. I sincerely hope that by doing this I will not only make a difference in the lives of those treated at MSKCC, but that I would encourage my readers to do the same. Whether you’re a beginning runner and you’re looking for a race to get you started, or a seasoned runner looking for a new challenge, running a race for a charity is one of the best decisions you could make for your running, for your life and for your soul. I promise you that.