Today, My wife Jan, and my daughter Elizabeth and I ran the City of Hope 5k in Sugarhouse Park in Salt Lake City. It was a benefit race for the City of Hope which uses the race contributions to help in breast cancer research. We entered as Team Jan and raised almost $700.00 for the City of Hope, with contributions from family, friends and employers, all of which we greatly appreciate.
This was a very significant event for us as, Jan has been battling breast cancer since March of this year. She has endured a radical mastectomy, removal of ten lymph nodes and chemotherapy. She only started running after she started chemo, which is pretty amazing. She would run upstairs on a treadmill I bought for her. By the way, she has an injury to her lumbar vertebrae which makes the pounding effects of running harmful if taken beyond a certain level and has left her often in excruciating pain. She went through a very bad patch of pain just prior to this event. There was a lot of time spent with ice-packs on her back and fighting back the pain with loritab and ibuprofin and the occasional back rub from yours truly. She just had her last chemo treatment on Thursday. She was hell-bent on doing this run. In true Jan style, she dedicated it to her friends in chemo.
She was very worried and keyed up before we started. I know she had a lot of doubts about whether or not she could do it. I never had any doubt whatsoever, but a person has to work these things out in their own mind. Everything seemed to agitate her, and I had to try to remember that she's wasn't mad, she was scared.
The race started, and off we went. I ran along her side giving pointers and trying to assure her. I said something like," it's OK if you need to stop and walk", but she tersely informed me she was not going to stop...period. I truly admired the spirit of my lady.
We passed the ABC news van and personnel and I yelled out," She just finished chemo Thursday!", and they wanted us to stop and give an interview there, in the middle of a race...jeez. We formulated a plan where towards the end, I would race ahead and take her picture at the finish and try to grab the nearest news crew I could find.
Up the hills and down the hills she kept going. With about a mile to go, she settled in to a comfortable, easy rythym, and I could look at her face and read it like a book. I have seen that look on the faces of many, many of my fellow runners that silently says," I have this thing licked."
I raced ahead, and found the channel 12 news team,and told them about Jan. They immediately set up for her finish, and I set up for the shot which is the picture attached here. I gave her a huge hug and told her I was so proud of her, all while channel 12 taped it.
Look at the picture. It is the picture of someone who has battled pain, sickness, doubt, and yes, even death, and fought through it. I have never been more impressed or proud of another human being in my life. I have run many races, and yet this one was the most satisfying and fulfilling.
Here's to the real warrior.