Brea brings it

Cancer survivor Brea has always had a special place in her heart for St. Jude. Find out what motivated her to become a St. Jude Hero and run her first half marathon. 

When Brea was diagnosed with cancer in 2015, she was thankful for the outpouring of support she and her family received.  But more than that, she was motivated to pay it forward and raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital by running her first half marathon as a St. Jude Hero.

Brea, a native of Memphis, Tennessee, where St. Jude is located, grew up learning about the hospital that is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Following her high school graduation, she worked for a few months in the call center of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude.  Over the years, the connection continued when Brea's sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., partnered with St. Jude in February 2013.

 
 

Over the past three years, the work of St. Jude hit home. Doctors discovered a tumor in Brea’s left leg in 2014, but it wasn’t until two months after the birth of her first child in 2015 that she received a diagnosis of myxoid liposarcoma, a rare cancer of the connective tissues. The cancer diagnosis led to five weeks of radiation, surgery and months of physical therapy to regain her strength. Throughout treatment, she relied on her family, friends, coworkers and moms’ groups for encouragement. After her recovery and once she was cleared to begin running again, Brea found out she could fundraise as a St. Jude Hero during the 2017 Rock-N-Roll Half Marathon in Washington, where she now resides.

She then put that desire to help St. Jude into action. “I wanted to give a portion of that support to parents and their children with cancer that have to temporarily relocate to Memphis so the child can receive world-renowned treatment at St. Jude,” Brea said. The training months leading up to the March race were a chilly new experience, but Brea remained motivated by reading St. Jude training materials and consulting with friends who are a part of Black Girls RUN!, an organization that was created in an effort to tackle obesity in the African-American community and provide encouragement and resources to runners. By combining cycling classes and strength training, she felt totally prepared on race day.

Brea and family

Brea with her family after the 2017 Rock-N-Roll Half-Marathon in Washington.

Recalling her first half-marathon as an amazing experience, Brea says she was excited to raise $1,400 for St. Jude and plans to continue running as a St. Jude Hero.

 

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