BENEFITING: PROJECT PURPLE
ORGANIZER: PROJECT PURPLE
EVENT: 2017 Boston Marathon
EVENT DATE: Apr 17, 2017
"What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us." It has been almost 16 months since I lost my beautiful mother, Annie Lessing, to pancreatic cancer and still not an hour of a single day goes by that I don't think about her. My emotions range from frustrated, to sad, to wishful, to angry, but then usually eventually back to happy when I remember the wonderful moments we shared together. I was lucky enough to enjoy 27 amazing years with my mother and she is the reason I am who I am today, but still, losing someone to cancer is hard to process and leaves a lot of us confused and feeling sorry for ourselves. And that's kind of where I was for a while; stuck wondering how it all happened so quickly and how our family seemlingly got so unlucky.
But after I got passed that and began to refocus a bit, I remembered one of the last things my Mom said to me. In her final days she told me, "Whatever happens, don't stop living your life. Continue to go do the amazing things you've always set out to do and continue to love life every day." My mother had such an incredible passion for life, even despite being dealt such an unfair hand, and she never ever sat around feeling sorry for herself; not after her diagnosis, not after 50+ sessions of chemo, and not after countless failed attempts at clinical trials. She lived deep, loved everyone around her, brought joy to those she touched, and took advantage of every single day she had with us rather than dwelling on how/why this was happening to her. It is for that reason that I decided 3-4 months ago that I wanted to channel my frustrations towards something more positive. I wanted to get up and live every day like my Mom wanted me to. I wanted to actually begin to do something to hopefully help better the results of others who get diagnosed with this disease. "You can't control the circumstances that come into your life, but what you can control is how you react." And as such, I decided I wanted to run the Boston Marathon for Project Purple.
My mother was an extremely avid runner and actually the only reason that I initially put the sneakers on to see how far I could go a few years ago. I had never run more than 3 miles at once and HATED running, but in 2013 she convinced me that the 10 mile Philadelphia Broad Street Run was something "a lot of beginner runners love." To me 10 miles seemed impossible, and hardly something I would love, but my Mom signed me up with her and the rest was history. I ran Broad Steet and surprisingly enjoyed it! We proceeded to go on countless jogs together over the next couple months/years with our favorite running partner, our dog Riggins! We discussed books and traveling and work and the trials/tribulations of growing up, amongst many other things, and I really began to love running and that time we spent together. Over time I slowly progessed onto half marathons and triathlons, and eventually hit my milestone by running the NYC Marathon back to back years. A marathon was always something my Mom had her sights set on, but was never able to compete in one because of her cancer diagnosis. Nowadays and always, she is the person I run for. She is the reason I started running, and every jog I go for, whether it's a 3 miler on a hungover Sunday or a 17 mile serious training run, she lies heavy on my heart and mind. I miss her every day and I know that she would want me to keep running until there is a cure for this terrible fucking disease, and that's what I plan to do. If you have read this far, please find it in your heart and mind to contribute whatever you can so that hopefully down the road, other people can have a better chance at beating this kind of cancer, and fighting onward in their lives!
PROJECT PURPLE wrote -
Project Purple's mission: to beat pancreatic cancer. Our Method: participating in the best road races in the world. For the past four years, Project Purple has been a proud charity partner of the John Hancock Program. We're excited to once again participate in the Boston Marathon - one of the most challenging and inspiring running events in the world! We are the only pancreatic cancer charity running in Boston in 2017. Each of our runners has been touched by this terrible disease, and will be running and fundraising to support our main programs: funding research and providing aid to patients battling pancreatic cancer.