Thursday, October 4, 2012

Running NYC for Alexandra

Yes, I am running another marathon.  And yes, I am once again running for Concern Foundation for cancer research.  So, why NYC?  Why two marathons in one year?  Why hound my family, friends and colleagues to support my marathon endeavor so soon after the last one?  Well, besides the obvious being that running the NYC Marathon is a dream for a runner, I’m doing this for a girl named Alexandra.

Alexandra smiling wide during treatment
I met Alexandra in 2010 at Concern’s annual Holiday Party for pediatric cancer patients at Paramount Studios.  In a room full of hundreds of pediatric cancer patients, Alexandra was the only one to expose her bald head as a result of the chemotherapy she was undergoing at the time.  16-years old, no hair, colorless skin, high-risk acute Lymphoblastic leukemia and this girl had more confidence than anyone in sight.  On top of this, she exuded love and positivity from the moment I approached her, acting nearly un-phased by her tough diagnoses and the illness and discomfort she was experiencing at that moment due to the treatment she had been receiving.  She completely blew me away.  

But here’s the kicker:  Her younger sister Lexi was diagnosed with the exact same cancer at 5 years old, too.  Alexandra watched her baby sister deal with the illness from the treatment, the discomfort, the idea of being “different” than her little friends…and then she, too, was diagnosed after Lexi went into remission.

Alexandra and her little sister Lexi, the day Lexi lost her hair 

Since 2010, Alexandra has been diagnosed with an unrelated secondary kind of cancer that is at Stage IV.  It’s a cancer of connective tissues that affects her muscles that are attached to her bones.  She has been treated non-stop since 2010 from California to Texas looking for a hopeful chance at remission. 

While I’ve been planning to run the NYC Marathon in Alexandra’s honor for months now, just this Monday I received a text message from her letting me know that the cancer has metastasized (spread throughout her body), and her doctors “have their work cut out for them”. 

Alexandra pre-diagnosis
There hasn’t been a much more motivating factor in my work with Concern than knowing Alexandra’s life is at risk.  She has affected me in every way; emotionally, personally, professionally. And while there may not be much we can do as individuals to save Alexandra’s chance at a long healthy life, we can all do our part to help make sure that there aren’t other Alexandra’s in the future.  To make sure that we are funding the right kind of research to develop preventative medicines, early detection methods and solid treatment options.  To give these patients, young or old, a dose of hope that they’ll be able to go on to live a healthy, happy and fulfilling life. 

Alexandra, Lexi and their third sister Lynsey in London on a Make-a-Wish Trip
As I write this, I'm about to leave the office to visit Alexandra.  She's having a blood transfusion tomorrow and who knows what that means in the long run.

So I’m asking you today if you’ll support me and Concern Foundation for Cancer Research, as I run 26.2 Miles through the 5 boroughs of New York City in honor of Alexandra, and every other adolescent that has battled this disease.  No amount is too little and every penny counts in our quest to “Conquer Cancer One Mile at a Time”.   Thank you for your support!

Alexandra and I at the 2012 Block Party

1 comment:

  1. This is incredible! Both you and Alexandra are such inspirations!