BENEFITING: FIRST DESCENTS
ORGANIZER: FIRST DESCENTS
EVENT DATE: Nov 06, 2016
Welcome to my fundraising page! I am fundraising for First Descents, a nonprofit that provides life-changing outdoor adventure programs for young adults impacted by cancer. In July 2015, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Synovial Sarcoma, a rare soft tissue cancer. I had dealt with pain in my right hamstring since I ran cross country in high school, so when the pain escalated during marathon training, I didn't think too much of it. I'd had an MRI years ago and had undergone various treatments that didn't help; however, when the pain became so severe I couldn't run, walk up steps or sit at my desk at work, I finally saw a chiropractor who specialized in soft tissue injury. I really wanted to run that marathon. The visit with the chiropractor was unbearably painful. He said that if I didn't have some relief by the next visit, the area might need further examination. At the second visit, I was in even more pain, so he probed deeper and discovered a mass that he said was probably benign. I mean, who has cancer of the hamstring? The thought never crossed my mind. The MRI revealed a mass sitting right on top of my sciatic nerve, hence the searing pain. The tissue looked suspicious, so it biopsied and sure enough, it was cancer, a rare, often aggressive soft tissue cancer that just happened to make its home in the exact same spot where I'd had pain for over 20 years. Awesome.
The whirlwind of doctor's appointments and treatment planning began. I seriously couldn't believe what was happening to me. Following five weeks of radiation and several cycles of chemotherapy, I had surgery to remove the tumor on December 2, 2015. My surgeon told my husband and I that he was sorry because he had to remove more of my buttocks than he'd hoped, but that he felt pretty strongly that they'd gotten all of the cancer. Um...I'll take that. He said that my hamstring was structurally sound and that I could run again in six weeks. In January, I ran for the first time in months upon months and IT FELT AWESOME. I had always used running to cope with stress and I ran because it made me feel strong and confident. When that was taken from me, I really struggled. It's amazing how powerful sport and fitness is. I am running this marathon not only because I love running, but also because for the first time in some time I CAN. I can run. I am in awe of what my body is capable of doing and am so grateful to be able to run again. During every run long, hot, humid run I take, when I want to stop and walk or when I'm just feeling too lazy to get out for a run, I remember exactly where I've come from and where I'm trying to go. And I run.
Please consider supporting my efforts by making a donation to First Descents. Your donation will benefit young adults whose lives have been forever changed by a cancer diagnosis. I know it changed mine. When I signed up to go whitewater kayaking on a First Descents trip with a bunch of strangers, I had no idea what to expect, but I knew the trip needed to happen for me. Prior to the trip, I had a really hard time talking about my cancer diagnosis and treatment without breaking into tears (sometimes still do!). Sometimes I didn't have the words to describe how I was feeling and sometimes I was just plain sick of talking about it, thinking about it. But mostly, I was just too angry, too fearful, and too sad to face what I needed to face and I knew that it wasn't healthy. The kayaking trip to Hood River, Oregon changed the way I think about myself. Cancer took away more than just a huge chunk of my thigh. It took away a lot of my physical strength, positivity and confidence. Going on the trip reminded me just how strong physically and emotionally I am. It challenged me to face fears and it provided me with an unparalled opportunity to connect with other young cancer survivors. I started to talk about how cancer affected me and about my fears about the future. I laughed harder than I'd laughed in months. Every. single. day. I took risks and got way outside my comfort zone. I now have support and friendship from others who know exactly what it's like to wait for the doctor's office to call to tell you if your cancer has returned after you've had your three month scans. The cancer club is one no one wants to join; however, I have never met more amazing and inspiring people. I'll gladly be a part of the club as long as they're in it too.
Please consider giving to this incredible organization. The process is fast, easy, and secure. I truly appreciate any support you can provide! Oh, and prayers, positive thoughts, and butt kicking energy are definitely welcome! I thank and future First Descents participants thank you for the life changing experience you will help support. Much love, Beth
Check out this awesome First Descents video and read more about FD below: https://youtu.be/FTWsU_AXSPM
ABOUT FIRST DESCENTS-
First Descents provides life-changing outdoor adventure programs for young adults impacted by cancer.
During the First Descents experience, young adult survivors and fighters are empowered through conquering legitimate outdoor challenges to push their limits and face their fears, and by doing so, they are able to regain the confidence and self-efficacy lost to cancer. The experience is designed to allow healing to happen naturally and organically – no forced conversations and no structured group sessions or therapy.
Each program is limited to 15 participants, ensuring individualized care, medical attention and an intimate experience with fellow survivors. First Descents programs are available to young adults with cancer regardless of their financial means. All meals, accommodations and program activities are provided free of charge, including travel scholarships, when needed.
In 2016, every single TCS New York City marathoner, supporter and volunteer can unite to contribute towards the goal of raising funds for charities across the world.
Historically, the marathon has raised a massive amount of money for charity, and our goal is to bring the entire running community come together to get involved. When you run 26.2 miles for a charity, you are not only crossing the finish line for yourself, but for so many that will be impacted by your hard work and contribution!