When my friend Kristen discovered a lump in her breast, she wasn’t too concerned. As she told me, “Twenty year-olds don’t get breast cancer.”
Unfortunately, she was wrong.
She had surgeries—not one, but two. She had radiation and she had chemo. All of her hair fell out. She looked like a beautiful space alien, very thin with a long neck. Her friends shaved their heads to show solidarity. Lots of times I couldn’t even hug her because she was vulnerable to viruses.
Just remembering makes my cry. I’m crying now.
My experience is not unique. Breast cancer has affected many of our lives. Your mother, your sister or brother, your aunt -- or you – may have battled it, or be battling it still.
The 7th Annual 26.2 with Donna, Feb. 23, 2014, aims to do something about helping folks win that battle. It’s an event brimming with love, hope and support, a beach block party with a purpose. Its highlight is a marathon, held along the beaches, marshlands and coastal communities surrounding Jacksonville.
It's the only marathon in the world that donates 100 percent of its proceeds and raised funds to breast cancer research at Mayo Clinic and care through The Donna Foundation.
The event kicks off on Fri., Feb. 21 in Downtown Jacksonville at the two-day Health & Fitness Expo. It continues Saturday morning with the 5K & Family Fun Run presented by Black Knight. 5K finishers earn a new medal, and kids 10 and under run free.
And a whopping 10,000 runners are expected on Feb. 23, 2014 for the Marathon, Half Marathon and Marathon Relay.
Kristen would love it.
Her own story has a happy ending. She survived breast cancer, and now is an advocate for it. She got married, and it’s been long enough since the cancer that they’re even thinking about getting pregnant.
I love happy endings. Let’s all run to Jacksonville for the Donna and help make more of them.