This October, I will run my fifth consecutive Chicago Marathon. Each time I toe the start line I feel nervous and scared. One would think that each time I run the marathon distance, it gets easier. I am one who has a fear of the unknown, but a greater fear of the known. After running and completing my first 26.2 race, I was anxious heading into my second because I understood the pain and misery throughout the race. Having written those last few sentences, I will now state that the more I run marathons, the easier it also gets because I become more confident each time I can run that distance knowing I am in better shape than I was in my previous attempt at the distance. It is also easier due to the fact that I am running for others. each time I run a marathon I do it for a non profit. that helps give me the motivation during those difficult miles late in the race. I am running towards a personal goal. More important, I am running for someone else. The most emotional experience was my second marathon when I was motivated to run 26.2 miles to honor a friend's memory. She was a dear friend from college who had unfortunately lost her fight with cancer at a very young age. I was guided by the fabulous Kimberly Shah and Jen Pfaff for that event. I could not have asked for two more amazing, talented, beautiful professional elite women to guide me for such an emotional experience.
For several years, I have listened to my friend, Dan Bernstein, afternoon host on CBS Chicago radio's WSCR 670AM, discussing his involvement on the board of directors for Childrens Oncology. I have heard of the ways the organization and its volunteers have changed lives giving boys and girls fighting through cancer a chance to be boys and girls enjoying life. The constant struggles, treatment, medical bills, and all that comes with enduring cancer does not always afford boys and girls the opportunity to stop and smell the roses, enjoy the beauty of a sunset, or run around playing tag like everyone else their age. Childrens Oncology attempts to change that by raising funds and organizing events where these kids can be kids. They get to spend a week at camp fishing, swimming, and playing. they get to go on a ski trip. They can experience the nation's capital in Washington D.C. There are so many programs and activities in which they can take part. Of course, in order for these options to become reality, funds must be raised. I have wanted to do my small part, but I have not been in a position to do so until now. For years I have heard Dan discuss the impact Childrens Oncology has had on lives, but I was not able to wrap my head around it until I was able to put a couple faces to those names and stories when I learned that several friends and friends' relatives are former attendees of Childrens Oncology One Step Camp. Upon learning that I was even more inspired to do my part.
This year, I am joining Team One Step to run and raise funds for Childrens Oncology. I want to do what I can to send at least one boy or girl to camp. I want to be able to say I helped Childrens Oncology in its mission to enable kids to be kids. I am excited about this pending journey towards my fifth consecutive Chicago Marathon. If all plays out well this racing season, I will conclude the year in Grant Park having run my fifth consecutive Boston Marathon Qualifying time. If I do what is expected of me, I will deliver an experience of a lifetime for one lucky child who for a short period of time will not have to worry about cancer. He or she can focus on being a boy or girl.
Here is a link so that readers can learn more about Childrens Oncology and Team One Step.