Running with a reason

Organized by: Devin Smith

Devin's Photo
Devin's Photo
Devin's Photo


On Sunday November 2, I will be running the NYC Marathon for a cause that couldn't mean more to me. Over a year ago, my family was informed that my beautiful aunt Mondi was going to be battling breast cancer. Naturally, this was horribly heart breaking news for us. However, we knew that Mondi was a tough healthy woman, and our hopes remained high.

My aunt Mondi became part of our family after falling in love with my aunt Cheri thirty years ago this month. These two women have shared a beautiful life together and have truly broken all gay/lesbian stereotypes. When I came out they comforted me and assured me that who I am, and who I love, isn't wrong. Unknowingly to them their simple actions of spending time with me offered a sense of comfort that is unexplainable, and I will forever cherish those moments.

Aunt Mondi went through the typical surgical procedures to remove the cancer. Then she followed up with Chemo and radiation therapy. After everything was completed we thought she'd be fine. There, honestly, wasn't a moment that I personally thought that cancer had a chance with this woman. She'd always been one of the strongest people I've known. She was never a trouble maker, but she wasn't scared to stand up for that which she was passionate about. Unfortunately, we quickly learned that my aunt’s cancer spread rapidly throughout her body. The cancer immobilized her, but being a strong woman she kept up the fight. She underwent a series of medical treatments and study medications. For the last eight months our beautiful strong Mondi laid in her bed on her back in pain, but still fighting.

I went to visit her in early June not knowing what to expect. I was terrified. I wasn't sure if I could handle seeing someone that meant so much to me going through such a traumatic experience without being able to help. To my surprise, she looked amazing; all things considered. The only change that I noticed was her personality. She had a calm demeanor about her. A larger sense of concern for others rather than herself. I would assume after going through her recent experiences her outlook on life had changed. It was a very comforting experience for me.

On this trip they notified me that Mondi would be trying a new study medication; one that would target the cancerous area more specifically. Our hopes were replenished and just in time. She started the medication a few days after I left. Upon her first checkup she was told that the tumors were shrinking and the medication was working. The relief that we felt was short-lived. On June 8th my aunt was informed that the new drug wasn't working any longer, and she'd only have a few weeks left. Yesterday morning I received the message that my aunt had passed away.

This has been a horrible experience for my family, but most of all Mondi's surviving partner, my aunt Cheri. So this year I've decided to run for my aunt Cheri and in remembrance of my aunt Mondi. I've set up a donation page through the New City Road Runners website and would appreciate your financial support. Your donation will go towards outstanding medical bills and the related expenses that families shouldn't have to worry about when dealing with death.


Organized by

Devin Smith

This is a direct to organizer fundraiser.

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