On March 8, 2020, I ran the Celebrate Life Half Marathon for the third time, just before the world came to a screeching halt. The day was sunny and brisk and the gatorade at the aid stations was slushy. I didn't run well, but I finished. As in previous years, it felt satisfying. I--we--raised over $3,600, far surpassing my goal of raising $2,020. I had no idea it would be the last race I ran in 2020. No idea that the world would turn upside down.
The Celebrate Life Half Marathon raises money for cancer patients undergoing treatment who cannot pay for the things that insurance won't cover: transportation to treatment, insurance copays, groceries, rent. The stress and burden of maintaining the everyday necessities make the stress and burden of fighting for one’s life that much harder. I can't begin to imagine what navigating cancer treatment has been like during this pandemic. How much harder every decision has been, how much scarier it must be.
Right now the race is planned as an in-person event, but barring miracles, I hold very little hope that I'll actually run this race in person. It is my very favorite race to run. The atmosphere is always so upbeat. People are so happy, even as we're grinding up the horrible hill in the first couple of miles. There are smiles, and high fives, and a rogue aid station that has Dunkin' Donuts Munchkins and wine. There is hope. But even if I can't travel, I will run it on my own, alone. If there's anything I've learned in the last year, it's that I can do many things alone, and that I have plenty about life to celebrate, not the least of which being the true embarrassment of riches I enjoy: I am healthy, I am safe, I am warm, I am fed, I am here.
As I do every year, I will run for Aunt Pat and Uncle George and Uncle Mike. And as I always do, I will run for whoever is in your heart, living or gone.
If you've read this far, thank you for taking the time. If you have the means to contribute this year, I know that it will mean more than ever to those who will receive it. The platform used for fundraising takes modest fees, and nothing goes to the small group of people who administer the grants. You can be sure your contributions will get to the people who need them most.