. . . cancer sucks. . .

8:14 AM

it's kind of funny [not haha funny, but ironic funny] how certain things affect your life and become important to you. that's how cancer is for me. 
i remember the first time i heard the word "cancer." i was 8 and my next door neighbor had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. i didn't know what it meant, but i remember that understanding that it was serious- that she was very sick and she had to have surgery. 

years later, in high school, my best friend's mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. i watched my best friend take the roll of mom and her mom underwent chemotherapy and radiation. and came out on top. my senior year of high school i met chad pinkston, who had been fighting cancer since he was 16. he came back to school for the second half of my senior year and graduated with us. a year and a half later, he relapsed and passed away. chad wanted to be a doctor, and so i determined that i wanted to work with kids who had cancer. to help the innocent who suffer so much.

for years, though, my aunt, my dad's oldest sister, had cancer. first she had stomach cancer, and had part of her stomach removed. then she had liver cancer. but because she never underwent chemo, and she always seemed to recover quickly, it never really registered that she had cancer.  at the beginning of june my mom called me and told me that my aunt had been diagnosed with liver cancer- again. my parents had been trying to convince my aunt to move down closer to us for years [because she never married and had no children]. finally, with encouragement from her bishop, she moved in with my parents. and that's when we all found out how serious it was. not only was my aunt fighting cancer, but she also was in liver failure. this meant that even if she took the chemo pills, it wouldn't help because her liver just couldn't handle it. her oncologist gave her a couple weeks to a couple months. we were banking on a couple months. so when i got a text last tuesday from my dad that my aunt had passed away i was pretty surprised [it didn't help that it had been a tough day at work and in my head too]. the funeral was saturday- and it was very special.

but this isn't a post about all the people that i know that have ever fought cancer, or who have died from cancer. because there are so many more people i could mention. this is a post about fighting. and about remembering. [and, well, running...]

in february i signed up to do the American Fork Canyon Half Marathon- or as the name is now, the Run Against Cancer. how appropriate that it fell on the same week, and the same day, as my aunt's funeral. and so she was on my mind as i woke up at 3:30 am to go run. i told myself that as i ran, when it became hard, that i would remember her, and remember the others that i have known who have fought cancer.

and so i ran. it was a beautiful run. when the gun went off at 6:00 the sun was just starting to break over the mountains, hitting the water of Tibblefork Reservior, sending light dancing into the surrounding trees. as i looked up at the grey rocks, covered in pine and blue spruce, i said a prayer of quiet thanks that i was able to live in such a beautiful place. looking around at my fellow runners, i saw so many running for others- Mom, Dad, daughter, grandparents. signs of encouragement were placed every couple miles to help us to keep going. my favorite: "quitters don't run, and runners don't quit." one lady i passed had one of my favorite quotes on the back of her shirt. "Don't you quit. You keep walking, you keep trying, there is help and happiness ahead. Some blessings come soon. Some come late. Some don't come until heaven. But for those who embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they come. It will be alright in the end. Trust in God and believe in Good Things to come" (Jeffrey R. Holland).

i crossed the finish line at 2:03- a personal best. i was ecstatic! i had come back from 18 months of not running seriously and, despite all i've been through emotionally since being home, i'd succeeded. i'd not only succeeded in finishing the race, but i'd done way better than i hoped! running felt good. it felt right. the love i'd had for running came gushing back as i ran down that canyon and through the roads of American Fork. but more than that, gratitude filled my heart for the life that i have. for the knowledge that i have to it will be alright in the end. 

yes. cancer sucks. it wouldn't take long for us to count of people we know personally who have fought cancer. or who have died from cancer. but i have hope. i have hope that one day we will find a way to cure cancer. and if that day doesn't happen, then i have hope that all those who suffer from cancer or who have died from cancer, will one day be free from their pain. their bodies will be whole. and good things will come to them.

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