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According to the July 2011 issue of Runner’s World, that’s how much runners raised for cancer charities last year, and I am proud to be one of them. But I want to do more and after reading this month’s RW, I think everyone will be inspired to run for a cause.

The Outrunning Cancer special features 8 different covers and follows the stories of cancer survivors doing amazing things. Seven athlete-survivors are chronicled in-depth and their biographies will blow your mind. They are a true testament to the resilience of the human spirit. They include:

Jennifer Andress, 42 – Diagnosed with breast cancer at 35-years-old and 24 weeks pregnant; completed 2 marathons last year, a 3:43 and a 3:46 at the exclusive Boston Marathon

Amy Dodson, 48 – Lost her lower left leg to sarcoma at 19 and had a lung removed at 21; has a marathon best of 3:35, has completed 2 Ironmans, and is running the grueling Western States 100 this weekend (June 25-26)

Serena Burla, 28 – Ran a 2:37:06 at the NYC Marathon just 10 months after her diagnosis of sarcoma; after half her hamstring muscle was removed, some wondered if she’d ever walk again but she instead qualified for the Olympic Trials

These are just a sampling of the amazing stories that fill the pages of the July issue, and I believe runners and non-runners alike could benefit from reading them. For me, my desire to run for Roswell Park is stronger than ever, especially after receiving some positive news earlier this week regarding my mother-in-law’s treatments. This is why I have committed myself to 3 Team Cure Challenge events this year: the Tops 5K/10K Run/Family Walk in August, the Niagara Falls International Marathon in October, and the 116th Annual YMCA Turkey Trot 8K on Thanksgiving morning. Raising money to ensure that my mother-in-law–and all the brave patients at RPCI–receives the best care possible is the least I can do for a women who continues to give so much to so many.

When someone in your life is diagnosed with cancer, you can be left feeling so helpless. You can’t just bring them some chicken soup and a copy of US Weekly and a week later things are back to normal. There isn’t a quick-fix. Cancer treatment can be very successful but patients must endure weeks, months, even years of painful and evasive procedures. Chemotherapy is lethal to cancer but also toxic to the human body, causing extreme nausea, crippling fatigue, and hair loss. In his memoir, It’s Not About the Bike, 7-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong describes how chemotherapy left him so weakened that he literally had to crawl from his bed to the bathroom. The road ahead after a cancer diagnosis is indeed long, but one must never give up hope.

Miracles happen every day in medicine and the life-saving breakthroughs that places like Roswell Park Cancer Institute are making are vital to our future. According to RPCI, “One out of every three Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in their life time.” Considering the far-reaching effects this disease has, donating time and money to cancer charities is among the most selfless acts a person can do. Your generosity truly benefits so many.

Thank you for taking the time to follow my blog. I encourage you to pick up a copy of this month’s Runners World on newsstands right now. And please consider doing work for a cancer charity of your choice or donating to someone else’s. Even if you are not a runner or walker, there are endless volunteer and fundraising opportunities that exist. A simple Internet search could lead you to participating in a cause that may change your life forever. Let’s help our loved ones with cancer fight the good fight!

“Anything is possible. You can be told that you have a 90-percent chance or a 50-percent chance or a 1-percent chance, but you have to believe, and you have to fight.”     -Lance Armstrong

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