Running is hard. Living with cancer is harder, especially when that cancer ismesothelioma.
Saturday, I ran in the second Alton Miles for Meso 5K race, sponsored by the firm. I was privileged to run it alongside our client Julie Gundlach who is a mesothelioma survivor. This year we both decided to challenge ourselves and run the course instead of cheering from the sidelines like last year.
Alton, while historically beautiful, is basically one big hill with the Mississippi River at the bottom. It is a tough course. Some of the corporate runners who came from Kansas City told our race director that even they were impressed with
its degree of difficulty.
Before the race started, Julie gave a short speech about living with a mesothelioma diagnosis and thanked everyone for coming. As she finished, she joked about being a slow runner. She got a laugh before saying, “I hate running, but I look at it as, ‘I get to do this.’ My husband and daughter were running and they’re faster than me. But to have them run with me is awesome.”
One of our local newspapers, The Alton Telegraph, ran a story about the race featuring Julie later that afternoon. Reading it you learn she’s a 49-month survivor and that she has mesothelioma in her abdomen, as opposed to the lungs. She has undergone numerous surgeries and extensive chemotherapy.
As Julie crossed the finish line, about 40 minutes after we started, people cheered.
Working with people and families impacted by this terminal cancer every day, I want to also remember those who couldn’t be there. Looking out over the crowd Saturday, I saw too many familiar faces belonging to family members who lost their loved ones to this terrible disease. Those are the people who inspire me.
Running is hard, but it’s worth it because we’re running toward a cure.