In April I will have the honor of running the 123rd Boston Marathon representing One Summit, a nonprofit that helps pediatric cancer patients build resilience and courage by pairing them with a Navy SEAL mentor. My husband Hardy and I have been involved with One Summit since 2014, most recently participating in the Climb for Courage this past summer; Hardy as a mentor and myself as a team leader.
The Climb for Courage is One Summit’s experiential learning approach to building resilience in young cancer patients and their siblings. Through a 1:1 match with a Navy SEAL, the mentees work through a series of rock climbing challenges and a curriculum based on teamwork and overcoming adversity. The children learn how to overcome the fears of starting a new challenge, to set goals and work to achieve them, and to get back up after failing. Climb for Courage, coupled with the long-lasting relationships formed with their SEAL mentor, provides each child with the additional source of strength and encouragement they need in their battle against cancer. Being involved with the Climb has been an incredible experience, and I knew I wanted to do more to support this special cause.
Our obvious connection to One Summit is the Navy, but what is not so obvious is the impact that pediatric cancer has had on our family. In 1998 Hardy lost his best friend Marc to Ewing’s Sarcoma, something that he carries with him every day. In 2014 we had the pleasure of being introduced to Clarkie Carroll, who at the time was 11 years old and battling Ewing’s Sarcoma himself. Clarkie and Hardy immediately had a connection, and that connection was only made stronger when Clarkie’s last day of treatment was at the exact same moment Hardy found himself in a tough situation in Afghanistan. Thankfully, Clarkie has had clear scans since that treatment, Hardy came home safely, and the Carroll’s (all 6 of them!) have now become a part of our family.
The effects of cancer are not limited solely to the patient, as family and friends must join their loved ones in the fight against this terrible disease. One Summit is unique in that it supports pediatric cancer patients AND their families by helping them ALL develop the skills necessary to do this.
I am beyond grateful to be given the opportunity to run the Boston Marathon for such an inspiring organization and for such an incredible group of little warriors. Thank you for your support and I can’t wait to see you at the finish line in April!