They’re back!

alex little lefty

Team Little Lefty’s “backs”

I am participating for the run to support a close friend whose cousin passed away from blood cancer.  We will be running for Team Little LeftyI am so blessed to be able to run in the Gibbon’s 5k because 3 years ago, almost exactly to the date of the event, I was declared cancer-free.

I was diagnosed with Stage-4 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in November of 2012, and at the time of diagnosis, I was unable to walk because the cancer was taking over my left femur. Before my diagnosis, I was not very physically active (to put it lightly).  I treated my body very poorly and took my health for granted.  After having all of those horrible (but lifesaving) chemicals forced into my body, taking dozens of medications, and exposing myself to potentially harmful radiation, I started to see myself as a warrior, and my body as my armor.  I won a battle that so many are unable to, and was given a second chance at life.

I am living my life so much differently now, as a survivor, than I was before my diagnosis because I know there are so many who don’t even get the chance.  I have been an avid runner for almost 3 years.  After being in so much pain simply from walking, I viewed exercise as a luxury just out of my reach.  Something that I hated to do turned into something that I longed for.  I started small, just a mile here and there. Over time, they turned into 5k runs; 5Ks turned into half marathons. This year, I will be running the Chicago Marathon supporting Alex’s Lemonade Stand.

Although I personally did not know Nicholas, whose honor my team is participating in, I can relate to the hardships faced head-on by his family and friends that fought his battle beside him.  His life is celebrated through this event, and that is a beautiful thing. Cancer is terrifying and isolating, but the organizations that support patients, caretakers, survivors, and our families and friends create a community that reminds us that we are never alone in this fight.

-Alex S.