Running For My Extended Family at White Swan – Cancer Touches Everyone

I am blessed to be working for a company that cares so much for each other.  Even today when frozen wages and cost cutting has become the norm as we weather this economic storm, the office hasn’t changed the “family” atmosphere that cheers everyones good news and cries together in times of individual despair.

I made the decision to run this Sunday’s Chicago Marathon  for Team Determination and the American Cancer Society after getting to know one of our wonderful CSR’s (Heidi) and how Hodgkins took the life of her son Eric (earlier blog).

However, cancer has touched the lives of many more in our office.

Our VP of Marketing (Jim) lost his father Jerry (age 73) to cancer in 2000.  Jim eulogized his father saying “I hope my kids want to hang out with me as much I loved hanging out with him”.

Mary (Product Manager) lost both of her parents to cancer. On Mary’s 7th birthday, her mother (May) died at age 46 from breast cancer.  Her father (Francis) died at age 66 from lung cancer when Mary was 26 years old. Her sister Sylvia beat breast cancer 2 years ago.  Also, her best friend Jan passed away 5 years ago after a long, hard battle with breast cancer.  Mary has routinely supported the ACS throughout her adult life.

Lisa (SouthWest Sales Rep) will never forget her mom (Sandy) coming home and shocking her with the news that she had breast cancer and would be having a mastectomy immediately. Once she completed regular chemotherapy she volunteered with the American Cancer Society’s Reach to Recovery program – visiting with others that were going thru the same procedures and treatments. “My mom always gave back and was there to help others.”

Melissa (Product Development) lost her grandmother (Shirley) in 2008 to small cell lung cancer.  She was only 66 years old. “After a chemo treatment she rode with my aunt fromArizonatoIllinoisto attend my wedding.  She wasn’t going to miss it.  She passed away 6 months later”

Margot (Account Manager) had a genuine bond with her father-in-law (Hank) who passed away 13 years ago from bladder cancer. “Many cards from the funeral commented on how much he smiled and that he was always willing to put others first, and he always did”.

Denise (Customer Service) recently became aware of her cousin’s husband (Bob) being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. “He is only in his 40’s.. and isn’t responding well to the treatment and has a poor prognosis”

Angie (Credit) lost her mother (Gail) in 1999 after a 5 year battle with breast cancer.  She died only a month after turning 50 years old.

Ray (NorthEast Sales Rep) “For the last 2 years my wife (Mary) has been battling a rare form of Non-Hodgkins lymphoma. One chemotherapy treatment after another proved to be unsuccessful. In late April she underwent a stem cell transplant with cells donated by her youngest sister. One hundred days following the transplant a PET scan provided us with the good news that her cancer was in remission. When it comes to cancer doctors cannot give any long term guarantees but every day that my wife is cancer-free is a blessing”

Michelle (Customer Service Manager) – “My grandmother (June) has been battling Acute Myeloid Leukemia for nearly 5 years and that fight is nearing its end”

Debbie (Account Manager) – “My Aunt Rafaela passed away in April of 2010 from lung cancer.  In 2005, she was first diagnosed with breast cancer – it was detected early and the treatments seemed to be working.  A year and a half later, it was found in her lungs.  She was given only a few months to live.  She was a Mary Kay director and always looked her best no matter how bad she felt and fought it for 3 years staying active even until her final days.”

Bette (Account Manager) – “My mom (Georgia) developed breast cancer at age 83 and underwent a lumpectomy and 6 mammosite radiation treatments.  She is now 87 and still going strong.  I treasure our time together”

Toti (Sales Representative –Puerto Rico) – “I have a very dear friend named Lily who is fighting for her life with her body wrecked with cancer.  She is still in good spirits but very, very weak” 

All of these names will be on the back of my racing singlet this Sunday.  Also, many more names that have been given to me through my Determination website as friends have made donations to this cause. 

Each name will be written in large letters on a ribbon on the back of my ACS Determination racing singlet.  I personally know very few of these individuals who have fought the fight against this disease.  But for a few hours on Sunday morning in Chicago, they will all be united with me as we run the 26.2 miles around the Windy City and celebrate what the nearly $1 million that has been raised by the ACS/Determination for this race will bring for future generations.

To donate in memory or honor of the loved one in your life that has battled cancer please go to my Determination website


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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