92 team members
$57,372 dollars raised of our $60,000 goal
We kicked off the Outrunning Cancer weekend with our annual team pasta dinner Friday night. In a surprise ceremony we presented the title of Honorary Outrunning Cancer Captain to Robin McNeill. Robin is a dedicated volunteer who helps in our office each week. She rarely comes empty handed and always has a with funny story to share. She has run over 20 marathons and is now facing the toughest race of her life – metastatic breast cancer. Even though she can’t currently run – we were able to present her with the very first medal of the 2017 Kentucky Derby Festival marathon. We honored our dear friend with stories from one of her long-time running friends, Hope Scarves and touching words from her parents. Tears all around. Together we promised each step would be for her and the thousands of others facing cancer. It brought this whole effort into perspective.
And, when I was struggling at mile 7… I thought of Robin. I heard her laughing and telling me a silly story. I thought how lucky I was to be running and feeling the pain and fatigue of running… instead of cancer treatment. Today, I was outrunning cancer.
My run wasn’t easy. After a 1½ hour rain delay we were so eager to start that our first 6 miles were much faster than my training pace. So, as runners say, I “blew up” around mile 7. I just didn’t have any energy. I couldn’t keep up with my running buddies and I slowly slipped behind the other neon shirts.
My friend Gretchen looked back with encouraging eyes as she nearly floated down the course. Like me, Gretchen also has metastatic breast cancer. I know the race carried the same significance for her as it does for me. A day when we are stronger than cancer. A day we push our bodies as we did when we were “healthy.” A day we win. Three days later Gretchen would have a scan to see how the cancer in her lungs is responding to treatment. But, on this day – her lungs were pounding with determination and strength. She amazes me.
As we ran through Churchill Downs and made our way back towards the city I could feel my legs getting heavier. My energy was zapped. My high school best friend Laura, who travels from Michigan each year, slowed her pace to stay with me. I was dragging.
I needed energy. I started high-fiving the spectators on the side of the road. I thanked a police officer directing traffic. I laughed at the goofy signs. “You’re running better than our federal government” “Run? I thought you said Rum” “Dig deeper than a kid looking for boogers…” I went out of my way to high five kids sitting on the curb. With each connection I felt a little pep in my step. It wasn’t that the miles became shorter but each step was a little easier after I made these connections. I could feel the energy from these interactions and their encouragement. Had I not slowed down I would have ran right past all these people.
This is really what it’s all about. This is what we are about at Hope Scarves. When you connect and share in a common experience you share your burden. The smile and cheers I received with each high five lightened my load– it was positive energy that I felt right down to my aching quads. This is the same for cancer patients. When we send a scarf and story we share our strength and encouragement. It doesn’t change the chemo side effects but this connection brings a little extra energy as they face the day. Each time they put their Hope Scarf on I hope they feel us cheering from the sidelines – encouraging them to take it one step at a time. We’d hold up signs like, “bald is beautiful” “you can do it” and “@#$% cancer” several of that last one.
I’m so thankful to have completed the 13.1 mile run, but more than that I am grateful for the connections that exist because of Hope Scarves. I’m honored Robin spends her Tuesdays with us and that we could honor her as our team captain. I love that Gretchen kicked my butt on the course and that she could feel this victory over cancer. I’m grateful that week after week people reach out to Hope Scarves for connection and support.
These personal connections are the true victory in the race of outrunning cancer.
Thank you to each of you who ran this race with us. I hope you felt this same sense of inspiration and connection. Thank you if you are one of our 565 donors who believe in our work and support us through your donation.
We are 95.6% toward our goal of $60,000. If you’d like to help us cross the finish line – please click here to make a donation.
Each donation supports our efforts to create connection by sharing scarves, stories and hope with people facing cancer and invest in metastatic breast cancer research.
Our connections are deeply rooted in our shared story.
Sometimes we just need to slow down to realize how much each connection brings to our life.
We are outrunning cancer!