Have you seen it?!
June 29, 2016
UPDATE: Kelly and I ran 20 miles this past weekend. It wasn't easy, but we did it. Heather and Mary Helen came to support us on our run, and JJ cheered for us at several mile markers! We had Mike with us, each step of the way.
We are so grateful for all the love and support everyone has shown our family. And while we miss Mike terribly, he's showing us signs that he's still with us.
The countdown is officially on until race day!
MY STORY: It’s easy to get wrapped up in life, and I was doing just that when one text came that changed everything: “I’m with Mike in the ER. Don’t know anything yet. Will call you later.”
That was from my sister Heather, as she waited for multiple tests results to come back, trying to figure out what was wrong with my brother-in-law Mike. Little did we expect it to be cancer, let alone pancreatic cancer.
Mike was diagnosed 2 weeks before Christmas, diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer that has metastasized to the liver. It was a devastating blow to me – I can’t even imagine how Mike and Heather felt. Yet watching them, I am awed and inspired by their strength, love and determination.
After Mike’s diagnosis, our family has tried to learn as much as we can about pancreatic cancer. There's a lot of information out there, but here’s one fact: Pancreatic cancer is the 4th largest killer of all cancer killers and the least funded of the top 10 cancers.
And that is why I have decided to run the Chicago Marathon with Project Purple. Project Purple is 501(c)(3) not for profit organization with a mission of raising awareness and funds towards a cure for pancreatic cancer.
My sister, Heather, immediately launched into finding out as much about this disease as possible. Her research showed that pancreatic cancer has terrible statistics, and research funding is limited. Every dollar we raise will go towards scholarships for children of pancreatic cancer patients, financial aid support to patients, and, most importantly, research for early detection and a cure.
This is a deeply personal commitment and challenge for me. Mike is a big brother I never had – always willing to talk college hoops, tell me like it is, and share a good joke. Mike and Heather are amazing parents to my beautiful niece, Mary Helen. They love and support each other in every way possible, and then some more.
With each step I take, each mile I log, nothing will even come close to comparing to Mike’s challenge. If I can summon one second of the courage and strength he has shown through his hours, days, weeks and months of treatment to get me to the finish line, I will cross it in record time.
1. That's me and my sisters, running in a 5K for pancreatic research.
2. That's my BIL Mike, my sister Heather, and my lovely niece Mary Helen.
3. That's me and my sisters, crossing the finish line at our last 5K.
4. Here I am with my sisters again, this time with our little girls - all just 3 months apart. My sisters are my best friends, my favorite moms, and my running buddies. My sister Kelly (on the left) is running the marathon with me!
PROJECT PURPLE wrote -
Why Project Purple? Pancreatic cancer is the 4th leading cause of cancer related deaths and is projected to be the 2nd by 2020. In spite of these deadly statistics, however, it is the least funded of the top 10 cancer killers. We need to do more - we have lost one too many loved ones to this evil cancer!
Pancreatic cancer doesn't rest, so neither will we! Run with Project Purple, and help us raise awareness and funds towards a cure, early detection methods, and patient financial aid.