Giving Thanks for the Chance to Run Beyond Cancer
After outpacing cancer, members of the Running Beyond Cancer training group conquered single-digit temperatures in January to complete their goal: a New Year’s Day 5K.
Running Beyond Cancer, a joint effort of the Shady Grove Adventist Aquilino Cancer Center and the Montgomery County Road Runners Club, began in October 2017. Coaches Don Shulman and Andy Steinfeld helped patients build stamina and confidence during walks and runs near the center and on county trails.
Audrey Fincher of Silver Spring was inspired to be a volunteer coach after beating non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma under the care of Joseph Haggerty, MD, whose practice is in the center. When Audrey was diagnosed in 2001, Dr. Haggerty said her cancer treatment could feel like running a marathon.
“I told him if he got me through it alive, I would run a real marathon,” Audrey said. “Three years later, I brought him my Marine Corps Marathon finisher’s medal.” She has been cancer-free for 15 years and frequently races in ultramarathons.
When Audrey heard about Running Beyond Cancer, she insisted on helping. “I knew I wanted other survivors to feel the same triumph of crossing that finish line and realizing that, far from being a victim, they are even stronger and more capable than before.”
That sense of accomplishment is exactly what the group’s participants say they gain from the program.
“I ran last in seventh grade!” said Pervin Antia, who is in treatment for breast cancer. “I have made awesome friends who urge me on. I never knew I had it in me.”