Faces of St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend

 

Daniel learned to walk as a patient at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital when he was an infant battling stage IV neuroblastoma.

At the 2017 St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend, Daniel will celebrate 25 years since he completed treatment, in a fitting way – running his first marathon, each stride taking him back to his days at the hospital where “I took my first steps.”

“I think it’s going to be a pretty impactful and emotional race for me,” says Daniel, a New Yorker who works in finance.

“Training has taken me back to my moments as a patient and reminds me of how difficult it can be for a lot of the families. This race is an opportunity to give back to all of the patients undergoing treatment right now.”

Daniel, former St. Jude patient

 

More faces of the marathon

Melissa

Melissa’s 5-year-old daughter Julie is being treated at St. Jude for optic glioma. “Our doctor at St. Jude said treatment isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon,” Melissa says. The metaphor is notable during race weekend in Memphis, as Melissa plans to raise $70,000 for the hospital by the end of 2017 as a St. Jude Hero running the marathon. And she’s in it for the long haul – Melissa hopes to complete 100 marathons for St. Jude, with the 2017 St. Jude Memphis Marathon being No. 13.

Chandler

Chandler, 17, is a passionate runner. He competed in cross country before being diagnosed with medulloblastoma, the most common type of pediatric malignant primary brain tumor.

Now Chandler plans to run the half marathon, putting another 13.1 miles between himself and his cancer, for which he completed treatment in early 2017.

 

Dean, father of Sydney

Dean and Tasha’s daughter Sydney was a St. Jude patient in 2008 and passed away in 2009. They’re now bereaved-parent mentors at the hospital, and founding members of the St. Jude Bereaved Parent Steering Council.

“This was a precious life and a light that has shone,” Tasha says of Sydney, “and we have to keep that light shining.”

At the 2017 St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend, Dean will run the marathon in honor of Sydney.

Josh

Josh, 16, completed treatment for stage IV Hodgkin lymphoma in early 2017 at St. Jude.

“When my doctor told me what the game plan would be, her confidence made me confident that I would be OK,” says Josh, for whom sports analogies come naturally. He’s an avid golfer and hockey player, and he will participate in the 5K in the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend.

 

Madison

Madison was treated at St. Jude for Hodgkin lymphoma twice – first in 2016, and again in early 2017. 

She'll participate in the 5K for the second time. She ran in her first race just days after starting chemotherapy.

“Last year was by chance,” she says, “this year is by choice.”

Dave

Dave ran the half marathon in 2016, and was inspired to take on the full marathon in 2017. His 11-year-old son Dawson is being treated at St. Jude for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

“When I found out about the marathon weekend, I thought, this is it,” says Dave. “I figured if he could fight against leukemia, then I could train and run a half marathon."

“I want to be a part of this for the rest of my life and this year we’re going to have a fundraising team. It’s a way to give back and stand shoulder to shoulder with Dawson in his fight against leukemia.”

 

Dane

Dane, 56, is running in the 10K. His story and sense of purpose stand out even in this inspired and inspiring crowd. He was treated at St. Jude for Ewing sarcoma in 1974 and diagnosed with the disease again in 2014.

“I’m very grateful to be healthy enough,” he says, “to participate in the marathon weekend and help raise funds to help one of the places that saved my life.”

Corbin

Corbin, 15, has Li-Fraumeni Syndrome, a condition that makes a person more likely to develop one or more cancers. He was successfully treated for rhabdomyosarcoma at St. Jude in 2005, but was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in 2017. His treatment included chemotherapy and limb-sparing surgery.

He recently had a “No More Chemo” party.

Saturday, he’ll join more than 25,000 runners at the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend in another sort of celebration – one of hope, human spirit, and life journeys.