In 2013, my sister, Elinor Scott, was unable to finish the Boston Marathon because of the terrorist bombing. In 2014, my sister was unable to start the Boston Marathon because she had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. While others spoke of chemo regimens, long-term prognosis, quality of life issues and advancing medical trials, Elinor stayed focused on one goal that kept her motivated in those first months following diagnosis: COMPLETE THE BOSTON MARATHON. A long-distance runner, Boston was everything to her. In 2013 she had run the first 25.4 miles only to be stopped when Boston Police officers escorted her and other runners off the course. Despite feeling like her health was failing, Elinor immediately re-qualified for the 2014 event. Tragically, she was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer on January 6th, 2014.
Crossing the finish line had been her dream. So with the help of family and friends, Elinor sought permission from the race organizers and the Boston Police Department to complete the Boston Marathon despite her diagnosis and deteriorating health. Having recently failed her first line of chemotherapy and undergone surgery to remove her ovaries, getting her to Boston was no small feat. With a carry on full of medications including injections to thin her blood, we ventured out to Boston. Getting to her “start line" of Deerfield and Commonwealth turned into an even greater achievement with all of the security. But she met the designated officers who were two of the kindest individuals. After hugs, words of admiration for my sister, and a photo op, they opened the gate to let my sister on the course. And the crowd--went--wild. Weighing in at maybe 100 pounds and bearing her head scarf and Project Purple hat, it was clear she was no ordinary runner. We sobbed tears of joy and amazement for at least a quarter of a mile as the crowd cheered her on shouting words of encouragement. She needed this. We needed this. For a day the roar of onlookers and well wishers allowed her to forget fears of her illness or doubts about her treatments. Her dampened spirits soared.
My sister passed away on September 12th, 2014, less than five months after crossing the finish line. As I recently ran on my cold windy trails it became clear to me that I needed to run the Boston Marathon for her. So, this year I have been given the incredible opportunity and honor to run the Boston Marathon in remembrance of my sister and in recognition of the thousands of people who are battling pancreatic cancer. I know I will become tearful every time I pass a Boston Police officer as I remember the kindness and love they showed my sister. I am sure I will cry as I reach the final mile of the course as I recall one of the proudest moments I was able to share with my sister in her final year. And I am confident that I will feel my sister’s spirit pushing me every step of the way to the finish line she had worked so incredibly hard to cross. Please help me raise money for Project Purple which funds pancreatic cancer research and supports patients and families dealing with pancreatic cancer, and for my opportunity to celebrate my sister’s spirit by running in the Boston Marathon.
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