Hi Friends & Family!
I've had the chance to share with some of you the reasons why I have committed to running the 2019 Marine Corps Marathon on October 27th in Washington, D.C.. For those of you I haven't spoken to personally, I will share my story here!
Running a full Marathon has never (ever) been a personal goal of mine, but, this changed a few months ago.
A friend of mine, Catherine (a pediatric brain cancer scientist at University of Florida) was asked if she would be a "sighted guide" during the 2019 Marine Corps Marathon, for an athlete named BethAnn Telford. BethAnn has brain cancer and was diagnosed 15 years ago. At the time of diagnosis, she was given only a few months to live. 15 years later, she is still fighting for her life, and for the life of others through advocacy and fundraising. SHE IS STILL RUNNING! BethAnn's story is truly inspiring (you can read about her here: http://www.triathloninspires.com/btelfordstory.html).
To be a "sighted guide" during a run, means you are tethered to the other person in some form (ropes around waist, holding at the arm or hand, holding a common object like a stick, etc.) The visually impaired runner is relying on the sighted guide to help minimize the risk of running into or tripping over obstacles during the run together. Due to BethAnn's cancer, and years of chemo and other treatments / surgeries, her vision has been compromised and she will rely on Catherine to guide her through the course.
BethAnn first discovered she had a brain tumor while she was running the 2004 Marine Crops Marathon, at mile 19. I find it most powerful that she finds the strength and bravery to revisit the very course where her life vastly changed 15 years ago.
My friend Catherine knew she could not say no to the request to be a sighted guide, as it is truly an honor. In an effort to support Catherine, I (and two other friends) have committed to running the Marathon with her. We are training together, supporting her commitment to being a sighted guide for BethAnn, and raising money for cancer research.
I am personally registered under the National Foundation for Cancer Research and raising monies for this incredible organization. The National Foundation for Cancer Research is a nonprofit organization that provides scientists the funding they need to make game-changing discoveries in cancer treatments, detection, prevention, and ultimately, A CURE.
We all have different causes that are important and touch each of us personally, and if this cause happens to be one you feel passionate in contributing, please know I will take each step in a concerted effort to get closer to a cure, in honor of ALL our loved ones affected by cancer (past, present, and future).
Thank you for taking the time to read this and your support!
Love, hope, and sincerity, Iris