I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in July 2011. And was told without a life-saving stem cell transplant, I wasn’t going to live the year. After nearly a year of being in and out of the hospital, including my cancer relapsing in February of 2012, I had a life-saving stem cell transplant on May 3rd, 2012.
A chemotherapy-induced brain injury and a virus that caused spinal cord trauma during that year left me permanently medically disabled. Miraculously, the stem cell transplant worked!!
We found out in the spring of 2013 that my stem cell donor was an American Naval Serviceman named Nathan, who was in Japan when he saved my life!!
Later that summer, a friend took my son and me to Alaska. We ran a marathon for me with the Leukemia Lymphoma Society! It changed my life. I came home from that trip, bought a pair of running shoes, and started running, despite my ongoing health issues.
I started running long distances. My first marathon was at Disney in January 2015!
The following year, I was approved to run the Boston Marathon as an athlete with disabilities. That was incredible. I ran the Boston Marathon three times from 2016 to 2018. I also ran in the Chicago, New York, and Disney Marathons in 2018.
In 2019 I finally got to meet Nathan!! I ran 7 marathons in 7 years, waiting to meet him. Disney did a video of our meeting!! Life is beautiful. You can see the piece Disney did here.
This past April, I ran the coveted Boston marathon! This was my 10th marathon. Ten years of running marathons after my life-saving stem cell transplant. This year, I dedicated the Boston Marathon to those affected by cancer!!