To my family, friends and supporters,
I can not thank you all enough.
When I set my goals of competing in eight races, including the New York Marathon on Sunday, and raising $10,000 in support of the American Cancer Society’s DetermiNation team in late 2010 I wasn’t quite sure I’d make it. Times are tough but all of you have either donated, gave me words of encouragement or both. You’ve told me who you’d like me to run for….or who to run in honor of. I heard all of you as I ran alone during the hundreds of training miles.
I often get asked how can I run alone. What do you think about? Don’t you get tired?
Yes it’s far and yes I get tired but I never really feel alone. When it gets tough I think about the reasons why I ran.
I ran for my Father and my Father-in-Law who never had a chance to meet their daughter-in-law or son-in-law or hold any of our three beautiful little girls.
I ran for my Mother and my Mother-in-Law who took on cancer and kicked its ass.
I ran for my friend Marc who won’t be able to see his daughter Isabella grow up because cancer took her at the age of nine.
I ran for my friend Amy who has been fighting breast cancer for six years now and is one of the strongest, most determined people I know. Amy is 34.
I ran for Marcia. The sister of one of my best friends who was taken by breast cancer. Marsha’s only daughter will be in New York cheering on the runners. She will be holding the nine week old grandson Marcia never met.
I ran for the caregivers in the world who help, hug, administer drugs, cry with, listen to, feed, tell a joke to, hold hands with and clean the house for their loved ones who are fighting back.
I ran for the 3,400 people who will be told they have cancer today and hope that what we are doing as Team DetermiNation will help them find a cure and celebrate more birthdays.
Unfortunately this list could go on and on.
Your stories touched me. They often would make me cry while I ran. It’s hard to run when you’re crying. But it kept me going.
Some people believe there’s a reason for everything. Some things are harder to explain than others.
Last Friday afternoon, October 28th, I was accidentally hit in the face with a soccer ball while coaching my daughter’s U10 team.
Fortunately I was wearing a baseball hat which deflected the ball toward my nose but my eye did take a small hit. I am the proud owner of two bad eyes. I’ve had surgery to repair a detached retina and numerous other laser procedures for tears along the way. I am also a worrier, so you can only imagine how the next 72 hours played out.
I did get up the next morning to run the 8 miles I had on the schedule. I then ran the 3 miler I had on the schedule on Monday morning. No problems in either case. But I’m a worrier.
A call to my retina doctor led to a visit to the Northwestern Optometrist, which led to a consult with the staff retinal surgeon and ultimately laser surgery to repair the moderate tear in my right retina that they discovered afternoon.
“But I’m running the New York Marathon on Sunday”. The surgeon looked at me and said “No you’re not”.
“But I’m running for the American Cancer Society. I’m running for a lot of people”
“You’ll need four to six weeks to heal”, he said and walked out of the room.
My disappointment was immeasurable.
I had just had my final training run less than 7 hours earlier.
The marathon that I had trained for and raised so much money for was over.
I asked the remaining doctor if this was caused by the soccer ball. “Absolutely not” she said. There was no sign of that sort of trauma and the tear was in the deep lower right part of the eye. For this reason I never had any symptoms after the soccer ball incident.
Had I run the marathon my retina could’ve detached at mile 10 and I could’ve been blind in that eye by the finish.
So did the soccer ball to the face save my eye? Who knows…but it led me to make that call to my eye doctor.
Incidentally the girl who kicked the ball was my own daughter. Devine intervention? Again…who knows.
This has been a very difficult pill to swallow. I still can’t believe it happened. But I have a greater purpose in all of this.
I still plan on going to New York to support my amazing team of DetermiNation runners. Together we have raised over $1 million in the fight against cancer. I am so very proud to be a member of this team and can’t wait to see them all and congratulating them for finishing the marathon.
It will be a tough weekend for me but I’ll know my number one goal was to raise as much money as I could to fight this horrid disease. At this writing I am the number 4 fundraiser on a team of roughly 350. Mission accomplished…and this makes me very proud. And each of you should feel very proud to have collectively fought back.
I like to take my daughters to the local bakery for the occasional chocolate donut. We don’t tell Mom about these excursions. It’s our little secret. The other day at the bakery I looked across the table at each child and thought how can I explain to them why I ran. I would love to tell them one day that there’s no more cancer in the world…and one reason was because one year Daddy and his friends choose to make a difference.