Why We Run: 2019 Chicago Marathon Team
INTRODUCING Jack’s Marathon Team / Chi2019
Why We Run: “I run because I can … when I get tired, I remember those who can’t run. What they’d give to have this simples gift I take for granted, and I run harder for them. I know they would do the same for me.”
JMT New Runners
JACK’S MARATHON TEAM 2019
- Jillian Kirkpatrick (Hoschton, GA) – My 36 year old brother was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic melanoma in Oct 2017 and was gone in 3 short months on Jan 29.,2018. He fought with everything in him but the cancer just overcame him much too quickly. I miss my brother more now than I did when I told him my last goodbye. I want to run for him. I was want to run with purpose. I want to run to raise money for this disgusting and deadly cancer. The city of Chicago was my brother’s most favorite city in the world. That’s what makes this race that much more meaningful!
- Amy Rickheim (Milton, GA)
- Tracy Cockerham (Templeton, CA)- 6 years ago at this time I’d not have been able to imagine the horror that was about the hit our family. We were all going about life…doing all the day to day things that families do…not knowing that in just a few short weeks nothing would ever be the same again. My son, Connor Cockerham, was first diagnosed with melanoma at age 18. It was barely stage 1, was removed over two surgeries and he was declared “cancer free”. Eighteen months later, on November 1, 2013, we discovered that Connor’s melanoma had not only returned, but it had taken over his entire body. When he was rediagnosed it had already spread to every organ in his body except his lungs and brain. It had even spread into his bones and into his left eye. We immediately started treatment and Connor was showing signs of improvement after about 5 weeks. Unfortunately, while treatment was able to attack the melanoma in his body, it could not cross the brain barrier and protect his brain. On January 1, 2014 Connor had a seizure that would take hours to stabilize and it was determined on that day that treatment was no longer an option. Connor never opened his eyes again. One person dies from this devastating disease every hour of every day. My beautiful son, my only child, my Ginger kid, died in the hour between 2am and 3am on January 9, 2014. Saying that we miss him doesn’t begin to describe our loss.
- Jennifer Conner (Westfield, IN) – I have been a dermatology PA for over 13 years, so melanoma is something near and dear to my heart. In the past I have been an active volunteer for the Melanoma Research Foundation and would be honored to run for this cause.
- Taylor Esch (Morris, IL) – Alexa Crowe (Esposito) ran with your team last year and convinced me to join this year!
- Sharon Mexal (Tustin, CA) – I have a goal of running all of the Abbott World Majors to raise awareness and funds towards fighting Melanoma. I am an 8 year survivor and last year raised $2500 running Berlin and NYC marathons in 2018.
- Heather Freilich (Newburgh, NY) – In the summer of 2015 I was diagnosed with melanoma from a medium size freckle just below my right shoulder blade. The only reason why I went to the dermatologist was at the Walkway Marathon, my friend was taken to the medical tent and I went with him. The nurse on staff said to me “please have that freckle checked out on your back as soon as possible.” So the next day I made the appointment with a dermatologist. The results came in as a melanoma. I had surgery at Sloan-Kettering in August of 2015 done by Dr Daniel Coit and lucky for me it did not travel to my lymph nodes. I am forever in debt to the nurse who told me” PLEASE “get it checked!!! I think it very important for skin screening and what to look for. I am very fotunate! I would like to help others in prevention and early detection.
- Kathleen Mueller (Naperville, IL)- I was diagnosed with melanoma in February of 2017. I’ve had five surgeries on my face. I feel very fortunate that it did not spread. I would love to raise money for this cause to help spread awareness and understanding of melanoma and its treatment.
- Emilyanne Saldana Fitzgerald (Kingston, IL) – I am 31 years old, mom of 4 and ready to complete my first marathon. When I was 22 years old I was diagnosed with my first melanoma. I have had 11 surgeries but have been skin cancer free for a few years now. After having my youngest child I decided to run and prove to myself that I am strong once again. What started off as wanting to complete a local 5k has now developed into a love that will help me complete the Chicago marathon.
- Mike Scheer (Boston, MA) – My name is Mike Scheer. I’m a recent college graduate and I currently live in Boston, MA. As a sophomore in college, I decided to sign up and run the Chicago Marathon (back in my hometown of Chicago). I ran that year to check it off my bucketlist and prove that I could do it. Ever since, I’ve been itching to get back to Chicago and run it again. This year, I’m doing it and I want to be a part of something beyond just the running. My grandfather has melanoma. He’s ailed yearly by basal cell carcinomas and melanomas that need to be surgically removed. While he has lived a great long life, I know he wishes he was healthier. I run because I love it and it keeps me healthy, for which I am ever grateful. I know that the money I raise this year will go to a great effort.
- Linda Demaray (Gilbert, SC) – My husband passed a month ago of stage 4 melanoma cancer. I want to run in his honor as well as run in each state bringing awareness to the disease and prevention.
- Elaine Chollet (St. Louis, MO) – In 2010 an itchy spot on my back tested positive for malignant melanoma. After surgery and testing I found that the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes. I spent a year undergoing treatment and have since been healthy! Before my diagnosis I didn’t understand the risks of Melanoma and had never gotten regular skin checks, I only went to the doctor back in 2010 because I was having symptoms (the spot was very itchy). I also meet so many people who don’t understand the risks of melanoma. Often when I tell people my story they say, “well I’m glad it was just skin cancer and nothing serious.” It was serious! It is serious! And raising this awareness is now a passion of mine
- Jordan Schier (Cedar Rapids, IA) – I have been running for the past five years. The last year and a half my sister in law was diagnosis with melanoma. She currently has been given three to six months to live. I want to help raise awareness for melanoma and help raise funds to fight this terrible disease. I enjoy running and believe by doing it I can help make a difference in someone’s life. I saw your booth at the 2018 Chicago Marathon Expo.
- Mark Russell (Naples, FL) JMT-ALUM/NYC2010
I have run the NYC marathon with Jacks Team on two occasions. After two knee surgery’s I’m ready to get back to supporting a great cause. I will run to honor my grandmother who died from melanoma as well as all of my friends who fight cancer daily. I’m putting together a team which we will call “Leapfrog” and will submit the other runners info next.
- Yoshimi Moore (Naples, FL)
- Michael Moore (Naples FL)
- Chris Smith (Naples, FL)
- Jennifer Reedy (Naples FL)
- Matt Reedy (Naples FL)
- Laura Swanson (Naples FL)
- Steve Lutz (Glen Ellyn, IL) JMT-Alum circa 2005 and Team Captain
- Victoria Noland (Chicago, IL) JMT-Alum and scholarship recipient (circa 2008)
- David Noland (Crystal Lake, IL) JMT-Alum (circa 2009)
- Melissa Trupia (Naperville, IL) JMT-Alum2018, 2017
- Mark Kliethermes (Elmhurst, IL) JMT-Alum2018, 2017
- Scott Thomas (Chicago, IL) JMT-Alum2018
- Stacy Thomas (Glen Ellyn, IL) JMT-Alum2018
- Jackie Golison JMT-Alum (Calif) JMT-Alum NYC2008
- Amy Litterski (Chicago, IL) JMT-Alum2014My mom passed away from melanoma in 2014, and I am a melanoma survivor since 2013. There’s no better cause that could get me out to run!
- Laura Hanyzewski (Woodlands, TX) JMT-Alum2014I ran the 2014 Chicago Marathon (my 1st) with JMT in honor of my best friend Lindsay Rogers Datema. In 2009 I lost my best friend to melanoma. She was just 30 years old with 3 very young children. The 2019 Chicago Marathon will be held just 3 days before the 10 year anniversary of her passing.
- Terrence O’Connor (Morris, IL) JMT-Alum2007My first wife passed away in 2007 after a long, difficult battle with melanoma leaving our three daughters and me. Since then, strides have been made to treat the disease, thanks to organizations which raise money for research like Jack’s Team. I’m proud to run and raise money again in Mary Kay’s memory.
- Alexa Crowe Esposito (Boston, MA) JMT-Alum 2017In 2017, I ran with Jack’s team because I personally was affected by melanoma. Skin cancer is something I think people overlook – and it’s something everyone needs to be extremely cautious of. I love being able to draw attention to cancer research, and be able to fundraise for such a good cause, in the memory of someone loved by so many.
- Danny Riley (Glen Ellyn) JMT-Alum2018I have known many close people who have been affected by cancer. Through my involvement with charities and from my experiences in Glen Ellyn, I have seen the suffering it has caused many people. To represent a team fighting cancer and to push myself physically and mentally in honor of those who have had cancer in their families would be an honor. Growing up in Glen Ellyn, Jack’s Team has always been an amazing organization involving many inspiring people.