Running the Chicago Marathon in Honor of My Mother – Cancer Survivor

This Sunday I will run the Chicago Marathon in memory and honor of so many family, friends and co-workers who have been affected by cancer.  My journey to this point actually began 25 years ago as for the first time in my life the word “cancer” took on an entire new meaning to my family.
It was a hot day in August of 1986.  I was preparing to return to Tuscaloosa for my junior year at the University of Alabama after finally declaring my major to Marketing.  Excited.  Determined. Confident.  And then the most unexpected news possible.  My mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer at age 49.  For the first time, the fact that she had lost 2 aunts to breast cancer suddenly wasn’t just a sad family story.  One of them had died at the young age of 48.  This could not be happening.
I remember the confusion.  She had the similar lumps for a few years.  The tests had always come back benign.  Actually, this appointment in Birmingham had initially brought the same result.  There were definitely tumors but again not cancerous.  Then the phone call came from the doctor.  Something wasn’t right and they needed to run more tests.  My mother travelled the 95 miles back to the hospital and then the worst of our fears were realized.  There were full blown cancer in one breast and pre-cancerous cells in the other.  

So many questions.  Could it be elsewhere in her body?  What did this mean?  I have 4 siblings and my younger brother Richard was only 15.  We were terrified.

The double-masectomy was performed a few months later in December.  The doctors were very optimistic immediately following the procedure.  Prayers were being lifted up.  Prayers were answered.

My mother, Jean Gann will be  75 years young later this month and has been cancer free for 25 years.  Praise God.  Along with my father, she has raised 5 children, has witnessed the birth of 12 grandchildren, and in 2012 will welcome her 7th great-grandchild. We are so blessed to have Jean Gann as the matriarch of our family.

I am honored to run for the American Cancer Society and Team Determination.  We are raising money to help educate families who have been diagnosed with cancer, funding critical research to find a cure, working with lawmakers to continue to regulate man-made cancer producers, and paving the way for more and more early detection so that future generations will have a stronger chance to defeat whatever cancer throws at them.

Please take a moment to visit my website listed below to support this great cause in honor or memory of someone that you love who has been affected by cancer.

Please visit my website at


About Running Dad of Five

I am a father of five who runs marathons and eats hills for breakfast. I am 46 years old, blessed with a wonderful wife of 21 years, four beautiful daughters and an infant son. On a mission to juggle family, work and my love of sports.
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4 Responses to Running the Chicago Marathon in Honor of My Mother – Cancer Survivor

  1. kianys says:

    Thank you for sharing this very personal story. My mother passed away when I was very young and I have always had a strong bond with the mother of my sister at heart. She was diagnosed with breast cancer 4 years ago and was succesfully treated with chemo-therapie. In the process her left breast was removed too. She is a great and beautiful lady and carries herself with dignity. I admire what you are doing and I can only imagine how hard this time for your family was. Thank you again for sharing this very intimate story. All the best, K.

  2. Heather says:

    Hi! please email me! I have a question about your blog! 🙂


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