In 2013, I was a healthy married mom of two beautiful daughters. I ran 3 ultramarathons that year, including a 100 mile race. Seven weeks after my final ultramarathon, I was diagnosed with Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma. I was very lucky in that I was eligible for surgery at the time of my diagnosis. On November 18, 2013, half of my pancreas and my spleen were removed in an open surgical procedure. Between January of 2014 and June of 2014, I received 18 rounds of chemotherapy.
Being diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer has had a profound impact on my life. Knowing that only 6% of people with my illness survive for 5 years has made me appreciate what I have more than ever. I will never forget the fear that our family felt when I received my diagnosis. I wondered if I would be around to watch my daughters grow up. I remember lying in bed looking at my sleeping husband thinking how I still wanted many more years by his side. No family should experience the fear that our endured.
I was a runner before my diagnosis. I ran through all of my treatments. Three months after finishing chemotherapy, I ran a 50 mile ultramarathon. Now, I will run for Project Purple to help others who face this disease. In 2015, I will be running two marathons (Lincoln and Denver Rock and Roll). I will also be running the Bryce Canyon 100 mile race in Utah in June. This high altitude ultramarathon will climb close to 19,000 feet in the mountains of Utah.
It is my goal in life to find ways to improve the survival odds for Pancreatic Cancer. Pancreatic Cancer is the fourth most deadly cancer and is projected to become the second most deadly by 2020.Pancreatic Cancer research receives very little money from the federal government, so it is up to the public to make up for the disparity in research funding. I have set a very grueling race schedule for myself this year. The training is going to be extremely demanding. I hope that by challenging myself in this way I can bring attention to this deadly disease and raise much-needed research dollars. Please consider making a donation. Your dollars can help save lives.
Update: As of 10/11/2015, I have completed the Lincoln Full Marathon, placing third in my Age Group. I finished the Bryce 100, finishing second female overall. I also completed the Bear Chase Trail Race 50 mile, finishing second female overall. I will be running the half-marathon in Denver, so that I can be at the finish line to support my team as they run to beat pancreatic cancer!
You can follow my journey and training here: