Why We Run: Melissa (2017JMT-NYC)
Jack’s Marathon Team – NYC2017: Melissa Megias story … I’ve chosen Jack’s Fund for a very personal reason. In 2012, my journey with Melanoma began and my focus on staying healthy went into overdrive.
I’ve always been someone into being healthy and staying actively fit. I love yoga, running and CrossFit. I was diagnosed with stage II desmoplastic melanoma on my chin. Luckily, it was caught early, and all I had to do was undergo a MOHS procedure to remove all the cancerous tissue. A few weeks later I was cleared and began living my life again.
Then in March 2016, at the age of 31, I was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma, stage 4 cancer, in both my lungs, shoulder and abdominal area. That April, I began immunotherapy treatment. I was receiving two drugs through IV every three weeks.
During this treatment, I found comfort in running. I would put my headset on and just run. It was my way of getting alone time and eliminating the stress of what was happening in my life. Overtime, 1 mile turned into 3 miles and pretty soon I would be gone for hours just running around the neighborhood.
My husband was questioning what I was doing, and I’d just explain how I couldn’t stop, it was a relief to just be out there running.
It was my outlet and I started to enjoy that alone time. It made me feel a sense of normalcy. Treatment has changed my body physically and having the ability to run was giving me the sense that my body is still capable of things.
I began setting goals for myself. As I ran and that summer I decided I wanted to run the 2017 NYC marathon. I want to push myself and do it for a cause that can help others in a similar struggle I’m living with.
I am happy to announce that in February 2017, I was told that all my tumors were gone. I am cancer free!
They will not say I’m cured because there technically isn’t a cure for cancer, but I’m in full remission.
I’ve stopped immunotherapy treatments. I’m learning to live my life again.
The reality of having cancer and it being gone is a shock. I am extremely happy that my body responded to this treatment.
Unfortunately, many people do not have similar outcomes like mine. Not everyone responds to immunotherapy. Doctors and researchers are still looking for other ways to treat people.
Jack’s Fund is a great charity that supports research for these treatments. It’s important for me to help give back to a charity that has the same goals I have. We want to help people and families struggling with melanoma.
I’m running this marathon not only for myself, but for all those people struggling with melanoma.
There is hope out there, and we will get through it together!