Most people who have a life changing event usually mark the milestone anniversaries in a special way. I know that cancer survivors especially feel they need to do something almost extreme to celebrate the life they have now. April 2018 will be the 10th anniversary of Heather’s cancer diagnosis and how I wish she were here to do something crazy on that day. Since she is not here, I felt like I have to do something to mark the coming of 10 years since cancer entered my world and changed my life forever.
Back in January, this year, I had a close close friend and his wife go to Walt Disney World to run a half marathon. I began following the RunDisney Facebook page and how the runners were doing. I found out that every February at WDW they hold a Princess Half Marathon and I wondered if I should run a 10K out there to honor my Princess Heather. As I looked further I learned if I ran the 1/2 marathon at WDW and one 1/2 marathon at Disneyland I could get a 3rd medal called a coast to coast.
I put the idea out of my head as the last time I ran a 10K in 2015 it took me months to recover from the biggest fiber flare I ever had. This was when I was officially diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I swore then I would never run again; famous last words. Fibro and long distance running do not really go hand in hand and I really did not want to hurt myself or not be able to function for months.
Shortly, after I learned about the Princess 1/2 marathon, I learned the the sponsor for the race is Children’s Miracle Network. I know this foundation does so much to help children with illnesses and cancer have some happy times during their hospital stays. While Heather was not able to be at a Children’s hospital, I know this would be something she would want to support as she loved children so much. I began to think again about could I possibly run 13.1 miles. I put on my workout shoes, ran mile and it didn’t hurt me. I would spend the next few weeks looking at running programs before deciding to begin the Jeff Galloway Method of run/walk training even though I had not decided to run yet. I had not mentioned any of this to my husband or family.
The final kicker was when I learned that February 2018 would be the 10th Anniversary of the Princess 1/2 Marathon. I then told Heather to quit pushing. I informed my family and had their support, even though they are concerned about my health. I was fitted professionally for running shoes and began to hit the road. I found the run/walk method to work very well for me and with a few weeks I was running 3-5 miles on a regular basis.
The sign up for the race had me extremely worried as I thought I might not be able to get in quick enough to sign up before it was sold out. Scott, my beloved non related brother, and his wife Shannon decided to sign up for the race to run with me and support me during this most special of events for me. I cannot tell you the emotions I have knowing the amount of love and support Scott, Shannon and my family have given me as I started this crazy challenge for me.
My motto is that if something comes to mind more than twice, I need to pursue, follow and see what happens. One of the best ways to ensure my entrance into the race was to sign up with CMN to be a Miracle maker and fund raise for them. I really began to toy with the idea, but I was scared I might not be able to raise the $1200 requirement needed. I talked to Bill, who was overseas, and told him my idea, but I had not signed up yet. He was supportive, but concerned about the fund raising. We decided to pay myself each month till I got my amount needed.
I took a deep breathe, filed out the commitment form for CMN to run the Princess 1/2 and then took a gulp as I hit the send button. I had done it and now to begin fundraising. Things happened so fast I could not keep up and the next time I talked to Bill who was in Germany, I told him I had some donations already. He told me that was great and how much did I have. I very proudly told him that in less than 48 hours I was a $850.
Running outside during the summer, in Phoenix, was not really going to be an option and it turns out I hurt my hip flexors in May at the Tinkerbell 10K and have been healing since. I plan to begin training again this next week as the weather cools down. I am excited about me challenging myself to limits beyond my comfort zone. I am also proud to say that I currently have just over $2000 raised for CMN.
I am not sure how I feel about racing towards the 10th anniversary of cancer, I do know that I have made some great new friends along my running journey. If you would like to help make miracles come true for sick children across the country please consider a donation towards my run in honor of my Heather. I promise you any gift of love will mean so much to a family fighting for their child.
Photo:Sherry meeting Jeff Galloway at the Tinkerbell Expo May, 2017