Last year my aunt Michelle passed away at the age of 44 after a battle with breast cancer.
I've been sitting here at my computer for well over two hours trying to find the perfect words to write about Michelle and how full of life my she was and how she affected everyone's lives in such an amazing way and how there must be some greater purpose for why a young mother of six beautiful children was taken away from us.
But none of the words came out right. They seemed shallow and unable to really explain how special she was. So I scratched everything I had written and I will simply say that I loved her and that she will be missed by so many.
This weekend is the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, a community-based event meant to raise money and awareness in the fight against cancer. I'm sure many of you have heard of this or have even participated in your local event. For those of you who haven't heard of it, the general idea is that you put together a team so that at least one team member is walking or running around the track at all times for twenty four hours. This symbolizes the fact that those with cancer are battling the disease around the clock with no breaks.
I had never participated before, but this year I really wanted to do something. Over the course of the last month or so this idea grew into my 50 Miles for Michelle attempt. I guess I thought that walking around the track for an hour or two would be pretty easy for me because I'm in the best shape of my life. So I wanted to do something challenging to honor and celebrate Michelle's life and how she lived it.
The Pullman event is, for some reason, not actually twenty four hours. It's only seventeen. So I will have seventeen hours to complete fifty miles (200 laps) on a track. I won't be treating this as a race but more like a couple of long runs back-to-back, which means I'll be in no hurry and will try to take as much of the seventeen hours as I can. Lots of breaks and lots of walking.
Yes, this is coming a week before my first ever marathon. Will it affect my performance in Portland? Probably, but I'm okay with that. A slower Portland time will just mean that I'll have a better chance to break my PR during my second marathon, right?
Even though I'm calling this weekend 50 Miles for Michelle, it won't be only Michelle that I'll be thinking about out there on the track. Last year saw Jeanie's loving grandmother, Mary Ellen, pass away after a brief battle with cancer. Mary Ellen took me in like her own grandson and I loved her like a grandmother. We will miss her.
And to all those touched by this terrible disease.
Thank you Scott. Your thoughts and actions are appreciated by so many of us touched by Michelle's life. Michelle was always so proud of you. You were one of her favorites. That really is true. She will love what you are doing. She knows...ReplyDelete
I meant to tell you that Michelle had discovered the joys of running just a short time before she was first diagnosed with cancer. She was up to 6-10 miles a day. She was preparing for her first marathon. The toll the chemotherapy and cancer took on her was horrible. Yet she continued to run with the chemo-bag taped to her body. She never gave up her dreams. Even though she never ran that first marathon she cheered other on.ReplyDelete
That's a beautiful tribute, and I'm sure both your aunt and grandmother would appreciate your thoughtfulness and dedication.ReplyDelete
Very cool Scott. Have a great weekend, bro....ReplyDelete
My mom is a 20+ year survivor. I thank my lucky stars all the time (and run Komen in her honor) that I've not been deprived of a mom. I'm so sorry about Michelle.ReplyDelete
Something tells me that this affecting Portland is okay for more than just a chance at a PR on your 2nd marathon. Your priorities are right where they should be. This is an amazing gesture, to do all 50 and try to spend all the hours you can. You are quite a guy, Scott.
I think I commented on this before, but I lost my beloved Aunt Jean and my wonderful cousin Donna to breast cancer - Aunt Jean about 15 years ago, Donna just two years ago. Two women from the same family, and a third daughter who has battled it twice and won, and one more daughter who is so far cancer-free. This was devestating for our family. Every year my surviving cousins and several other family members (varies from year to year) run or walk Komen in their honor. I ran it once, and since then have supported them financially. I understand how you feel and what you are doing. Thank you.
You rock!! What a wonderful way to tribute your aunt and grandmother. This run will far surpass any PR in a marathon :-)ReplyDelete
When a person can take something that they love (running) and turn it in to something that can raise money for cancer research then have arrived at such a sweet place. You have purpose to what you are doing. Some never find that.ReplyDelete
As for your marathon, I would not worry about it. JFK is the bigger target and I know you will rock them both.
The fact that you struggle so much with the words tells me just how much she ment to you. Very cool to do something like the 50-miles in her memory. Good luck!ReplyDelete
thank you for sharing about your aunt. i love the photo of her...it says a lot. FULL OF LIFE.
go get 'em!
NP homie :-) I think this will be an awesome "race"ReplyDelete
Very nice Scott!ReplyDelete
Are you up for a dinner in Portland with a large, loud crowd of runners? I've got about 13 from our run group, plus Phyllis and Sarah and Olga...let me know!
What a beautiful post. You have a big heart. My mom is a breast cancer survivor and I have a post I am writing for when I do the Race for the Cure. I do believe that together we can all make a difference.ReplyDelete
All the best with your 50 miler. I'm sure it will prove to be an emotional event. You're an inspiration!ReplyDelete
Scott, you made a wonderful tribute to your aunt in that all you have done came so much from your heart...that takes a special person with a special love to be able to do that. You are the greatest and I know your aunt is smiling down upon you and all your eforts...and when you cross the finish line....be listening for I know above all others she will be cheering you to the finish...finish strong....be safe.....ReplyDelete
awe, what a sweetheart you are!ReplyDelete
That a great tribute to your Aunt Scott, hope the 50 miles went well. Good luck also for Portland.ReplyDelete
I hope it all went well this weekend. I look forward to the re-cap.ReplyDelete