BENEFITING: PROJECT PURPLE
ORGANIZER: PROJECT PURPLE
EVENT: 2015 Boston Marathon
EVENT DATE: Apr 20, 2015
Jenny Joseph began her famous poem….”When I am an old woman I shall wear purple…”
This poem epitomizes my cousin Susan Jaciow. She didn’t wait until she was old; she “practiced” her passions, and wore what she wore, and ate what she ate, and did what she did with no apologies. I loved that about her. I love the mismatched socks and bright scarves and purple sweaters that she wore so stylishly, and I envied her spirit and candor.
Thank God, because long before she was “old”, she was faced with a fight that even her brazen spirit could not conquer. Spirited, Smart, Proud, Capable, Confident, Caring, Loving, Generous, and sometimes Capricious. This was not enough to beat Pancreatic Cancer.
Our family and a core of close friends shared her fight, especially her siblings, husband, my sister, and the nieces and nephews she had helped “mother” so lovingly. From diagnosis, April 2011, when she was only a year and a half older than I am now, we all tried our best to lend support in whatever way we could. I never felt like I knew how to, or could actually help enough. My Godfather, Bob Boudreau, and a friend, Mary Forrest, had already lost their battles with Pancreatic Cancer; Susan remained optimistic. Years had passed, treatments were advancing, she wanted to beat the odds.
As anyone familiar with Pancreatic Cancer knows, the battle is like a rollercoaster. It is a series of glorious ups, like this picture from her “Victory Lap” at Relay for Life in 2012, to crushing, painful slides.
Often I use running as a time for processing and “praying”. During what turned out to be her final decline, there was a particular moment in a difficult race, where I thought “How can I even complain about these aches and pains when Susan suffers more than this most moments of the day?” I pushed on, hoping somehow I could take her pain with me.
Susan lost her battle shortly after on August 9, 2013.
One year later, I decided to run a full marathon- my first – and maybe only. It was part of what I learned from Susan, that there is no time like the present, and to use each moment to be your best. The Boston Marathon was an ultimate goal, and Project Purple makes it so much more meaningful. Project Purple raises funds for Pancreatic Cancer research, raises awareness of the disease, and helps patients and families who have been affected by the disease.
Running Boston, supporting the fight against Pancreatic Cancer, with the support of my family and friends is beyond amazing to me. I will wear Purple BEFORE I am old. I found a way to help, and I will do it in Susan’s memory. No matter how large or small your contribution, know that you are helping too. Thank you for joining me in our mission to run to beat Pancreatic Cancer.