Sarah Emerson of Maine hated running as a child. But after a friend urged her to watch a race, she was inspired, and began to run. For years, the activity had become a way of helping those in need, especially Nicholas, a local St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital cancer survivor whose family she had gotten to know.
Sarah participated in many runs to raise funds for St. Jude, looking for difficult courses that would draw more donations. She participated in the Mount Desert Island marathon, and later the New Hampshire’s Mount Washington where she sported a St. Jude Hero cape.
A breast cancer diagnosis years later and several rounds of chemotherapy did not stop her from serving the St. Jude mission. Sarah completed a 10k after her 15th round of chemotherapy with a sign on her back that read “I had chemo yesterday. You can do this.”
While still finishing treatment, Sarah decided to apply to be one of 13 St. Jude Heroes running in the famously challenging and competitive Boston Marathon. It would take place in April 2018, roughly a year after her diagnosis.
For Sarah, her cancer diagnosis and treatments only strengthened her resolve to help St. Jude.
"After going through it all myself, when I was in the throes of having to do treatment and paying for it and managing all of those things, and really realizing how special St. Jude was,” she said.