Family, friends and maybe even some very kind strangers who have stumbled upon my donation page...
I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to visit and read about the towering challenge I’ve set for myself and exactly why I'm taking the plunge. As some of you know, I have joined Team Imerman Angels (IA) to run the 2020 Bank of America Chicago Marathon! While I know the training and preparation will be intense, I’m also honored to be part of Team IA to finish 26.2 #MilesForMyMom
Imerman Angels offers one-to-one support to cancer fighters, survivors and caregivers by matching them with a Mentor Angel - someone who has gone through the journey themselves - so no one has to face cancer alone.
I'm fortunate to have been introduced to IA, when I had no clue how to navigate my mom's cancer. IA matched me with Micheal: also too young to lose a parent with more milestones left to reach, who lived out of state from his Ma during her battle with lung cancer, and was a main caregiver. Micheal was an ear always ready to listen: I never felt like I was “too much”, because he understood me. Unless you've lost a parent to cancer, it's hard to explain. Micheal got it.
He has been an amazing resource to me; by raising money for IA, I will provide at least four more people who are struggling with cancer one way or another the same opportunity to meet their Micheal. Four more people who won’t have to face cancer alone.
Well, that’s wonderful, but why a marathon? You know that’s a lot of running, right?
My mom, Judy Self, was diagnosed with inoperable stage four lung cancer on August 17, 2019. It had already metastasized to her liver, lymph nodes, upper spine and a ventricle in her heart. Her left lung was completely collapsed and she had 25% function of her right. She was tethered to oxygen 24 hours a day.
You know what you need to run? Lungs. Which I've got.
My mom underwent five days of radiation in the beginning of September. She was too frail for chemo and she didn’t qualify for any of the advancements in immunotherapy. Mid-September, we received word there was a spot on her brain. When she met with her medical team, my family was told the worst: the radiation she received wasn’t working as it should. Additional radiation to her brain would have diminished her quality of life and prolonged the inevitable. My mom made quite literally the toughest decision of her life and opted out of more treatment. Rather, she entered hospice on September 17 and chose to live out her days in the comfort of her own home. We cared for her, we loved her, and we spent time with her which we knew was dwindling. The radiation wore off and she passed October 17, 2019.
Judy had a stubborn, Type A personality which meant she fought hard not to lose her wits, her routine, or her sharp mind. She fought and she asked that we fight with her. Me and my lungs are going to finish a marathon; it's something my mom couldn’t do. On her last day with us, she asked us yet again to keep fighting because she wasn’t ready to give up. I told her I always would.
In addition to raising critical funds for IA and supporting the mission so that no one faces cancer alone, THIS is why I’m running:
For my mom, who endured physical and mental pain and anguish that only one who’s dying can know
For my mom’s stubbornness and sass even on her bad days
For my mom’s traits passed on to me that remind me all the time that, “omg I sound like Judy!”
For my mom’s uncanny ability to read me by the tone of my voice, predict exactly what I’d say or do, and know every bump, bruise and scratch both inside and out
I hope you’ll consider donating to a wonderful organization and in honor of Judy. I pledge to dedicate my time to train and prepare myself to do the best I can, making her proud as she cheers me on.
12.4.2019 Update: I am overwhelmed by your generosity! In less than 24 hours, your donations far exceeded not only the marathon's $1,250 minimum, but my own of $1,400 by raising over $1,800! Thanks to you, I have now upped my goal to $2,500.
12.13.2019 Update: What! I blew by my new goal and have raised over $2,600! I have now upped my goal to $3,500. Let's go!