When the starter's gun goes off in Hopkinton next April, look for me in the crowd of runners! Better yet, look for me at Boston College or Kenmore Square - I think I'll need your cheers more by then.
Why am I running 26.2 miles? Two reasons. One, I’m crazy. Two, in honor of my best friends who lost their lives to cancer.
Julia Rowe, my younger cousin, battled leukemia for 5 years. She passed away at the age of 8. Julia and I were so close, despite the 700 miles that separated us. We called each other “sisters”. I would visit her during my school vacations, and accompany her to hospital visits, Carolina Hurricanes games, and even Make-a-Wish trips to Disney World.
Julia and I often played “Doctor” (as if we didn't spend enough time at the hospital already!). She was the doctor, and I was the nurse. One day, she looked at me and said, "You know, when we grow up, we'll work together. I'm going to be the doctor and you'll be my nurse". Although Julia never got to live out her career, I fulfilled my promise to her being a nurse. And I would not want to do anything else.
Julia was kind, free-spirited, and humorous. Most importantly, she was “relentless” - which was the Carolina Hurricanes Stanley Cup playoff motto in 2004. It is also a tattoo that I wear proudly in her honor.
My grandfather, William Sullivan, fought 30+ years against non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, as well as many other issues. He had 2 heart attacks, a brain aneurysm, multiple bouts with pneumonia, a critical tumor at the base of his spine, lung cancer, skin cancer, just to name a few. The list truly goes on.... but Massachusetts General kept him alive much longer than we all thought.
Through his constant battles with illnesses, his only wish was to see me graduate college. He passed away exactly one month later. I could not attend his funeral because I was taking the NCLEX on the same day. But both my family and I know that he would say, "The test was more important".
On August 6th, 2018, I started my nursing orientation at Johns Hopkins. It would have been my Grampy's 80th birthday.
I think in this day in age, it's safe to say we all know someone who's battling cancer. We all know that the fight against cancer is its’ own kind of marathon. By running 26.2 miles, the Pediatric Cancer team is helping advance research, increase the number of studies to improve cure rates, and provide the best treatment possible to pediatric patients.
Thank you for supporting me in this journey of a lifetime!