Why We Run: 2022 Jack’s Marathon Team Chicago
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)