When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2014, I was 39 years old and running eight to ten miles most Saturdays with a group of close women friends. (You can read more of my story here.) Though I was able to maintain a base level of running throughout my intensive cancer treatment (six months of chemotherapy followed by a left mastectomy and six weeks of radiation), I wasn’t able to eke out more than three miles at a time; plus, my pace slowed dramatically. My goal from the beginning of treatment has been to get back to those long weekend runs.
Toward that end, my running (and dear) friends have been endlessly cheering me on, slowing their own pace to keep me company as I build my strength and stamina; as well as planning a getaway weekend run for us to do together to celebrate my healing. Initially we looked into already established races, but it isn’t easy to find a ten-miler, which is my particular goal. So, for the weekend of May 7, I am traveling to Nantucket with five other families for a customized, ten mile, comeback run—now officially named “Bender’s Mender” after my last name!
I’ve always known that I wanted my comeback run to be not just about celebrating my recovery, but about giving back. And so, I am running to raise money for two organizations: The Cancer Connection, a local organization that has offered invaluable support to me and hundreds of others touched by cancer; and MET UP, a national organization “committed to changing the landscape of metastatic cancer through direct action.”
I am running for the one in eight women in the United States who will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime; and for the more than 40,000 women who die in this country each year because of metastatic breast cancer. I am running because we are ALL survivors, for as long as we live, and I am lucky enough to be living still.
If you would like to cheer me on to the Bender’s Mender finish line; if you would like to support others with cancer; if you would like to help find a cure for metastatic disease, please consider making a contribution of any amount here.
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