Why We Run: 2022 Jack’s Marathon Team Chicago

March 28, 2022
jadmin

Why We Run …

Katherine (Cambridge, MA)

“I hope to raise awareness for melanoma and skin cancer in general, as well as help fund research of treatment and new drugs. I have heard many friends and peers brush off the value of sunscreen, claiming wrinkles won’t bother them when they are older, and that even skin cancer would be easily taken care of. I believe there are areas I can help start to fill in the lack of awareness surrounding the dangers of skin cancer. My dad was diagnosed with scalp melanoma in 2013, which rapidly progressed to stage 3b metastatic disease. The reason he is still with us today is that he was able to find and enroll in a clinical trial for the drug now known as Keytruda. He has been cancer free for almost 8 years now. It was a miracle that the timing of this trial was exactly what he needed, but I know there is still a long way to go for melanoma treatments. This drug worked for him, but for others in situations like his, where existing treatments had not been working, this drug still did not cure them all. With continued research and drug development I hope one day melanoma can be an entirely curable disease, but I also hope with increased awareness it can be prevented even more. After falling a bit out of routine with running during the pandemic, I’m excited to have such a meaningful cause to support and a drive to push through the training.” 

Melissa (Asheville, NC)

“It all started my second year of college; I met a friend, turned sorority sister whom I knew would be a lifelong friend. I fondly called her O, for Odise. We became roommates, shared many life events together, and traveled near and far to see one another. She was born in Holland, her parents living in Curaçao while we were in college, moving to England after college and on to Switzerland where she met the love of her life and created her home. One day we were getting ready to go tubing down the Tuck in college, when I saw a large scar on her stomach. I inquired and learned that she had melanoma when she was 15. She was resilient and not phased by hard, she rolled with any trial she faced. We would frequently check in weekly once distance separated us. She married, had 2 amazing children and owned her own bakery, baking and designing the most amazing cakes you’ve ever seen. In one of her updates she informed me, a few lymph nodes were found to be cancerous and being removed, again, not worried or phase. All was well for a few years until I received a check in that said they found a nodule on her lung. She would begin a clinical trial and “fight like hell” because that’s what she did. She fought hard! While having an immunotherapy treatment she had a seizure and a large mass was found in her brain. This led to emergency surgery, radiation and chemo, all while fighting alone in a hospital during the confines of covid. Her hubby and children would FaceTime while she remained in a hospital fighting for her life. She got better, got worse, got better, got worse until a family vacation where she was life flighted out of ski resort fighting for her life. This was the beginning of the end, in which she went home with end of life care to pass peacefully in her home with her family by her side. I was scheduled to visit her the June before she passed which didn’t happen because of covid. She was always a supporter of my running adventures and I know she would be honored to know I will run Chicago in her memory! Here’s to you sweet friend!”  Click HERE to to learn more about “O”.

Jordan, JMT Alumni (Cedar Rapids, IA)

“I have been running marathons since 2013. My first marathon was the Chicago Marathon. I got more involved with charities when my sister in law, Lindsay, got diagnosis with melanoma back in 2017. Unfortunately, she lost her battle to melanoma in 2018. Since then I have ran the Boston Marathon twice to raise funds and awareness for melanoma and have been a member of Jack’s team since 2019 too. It means the world to me to continue to raise awareness and funds to help others fight their fight against melanoma.”
Heath (Chesapeake, Virginia)
“When I was younger my mom was diagnosed with melanoma so seeing how it has affected her. It was a blessing when she was able to defeat cancer and is living a happy and healthy life. I run because I want to be able to say that I had a part in defeating cancer.”
Tara (Manhasset, NY)
“My husband was diagnosed with Melanoma in situ in 2013. I had been urging him for a few months to get in and have an abnormal mole on his back looked at. It just didn’t look right. At the time we had 8, 5 and 3 year old boys. We were busy with kids and work and we were putting our own health on the back burner. When he was diagnosed, the doctor couldn’t reiterate how lucky we were that the melanoma spread in diameter significantly, however remained in the epidermis. We consider ourselves lucky. Our children are closely screened. Out 16 year old needs a revision on s mole removed already because it was suspicious to the pathologist. Hoping for more research in this area to pave a healthier path for my children and all those affected by skin cancer. My grandmother is also a melanoma survivor.”
Meredith Chernesky (running with her dad Robert)
“My name is Meredith Chernesky. I grew up in Glen Ellyn, IL with the Marston family. I was in elementary school when Mr. Jack Marston passed away and remember being at the first This Run’s for Jack 5K in Glen Ellyn with my family. I have participated many years since then as a supporter of the Marston Family and their mission, and later on with and in honor of my dear friend, Lydia Carbonara. I met Lydia in 2015 when I began teaching at Medinah Intermediate School in Medinah, IL. Lydia was my mentor teacher and teammate, and she became a close friend quickly. In 2020, Lydia passed away after battling with melanoma. I was never very athletic or a runner. I always said that I couldn’t really run because I have asthma. But, in 2016 I decided I wanted to try running. I couldn’t run for more than a minute at a time. With my dad, we trained and ran our first ever 5K at the Morton Arboretum in Fall 2016. Since then we have participated in numerous 5Ks, 10Ks, and 4 Half Marathons. We’re ready to try a Full Marathon as it seems like the logical next step in our running career. I want to challenge myself to run 26.2 miles because it is something that has been on my bucket list, and I would be honored to run in honor of my friend and coworker, Lydia Carbonara, and to work with Jack’s Team.”

Click below to learn more about Jack’s Marathon Team (Chicago, New York and Berlin).