Culture

This Runner And Her Biggest Fan Both Survived Cancer

After both survived cancer and entering remission, this runner continues to be inspired by her husband who supports her running goals.

esther

My biggest fan is my husband—by a landslide. His selfless demeanor is unbeatable, and he’s incredibly generous with his time.

As a young couple, we enjoyed long-distance biking, swimming and running. We once biked the state of Vermont straight up to Quebec, Canada—truly an amazing experience!

Then one day in 2009, my husband didn’t feel well. After a visit to the doctor, we were told he had squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, a kind of cancer usually seen in smokers. My husband never smoked or even drank alcohol! Crazy, we thought.

He had to go through the grueling chemo and radiation process, but he remained positive through everything. I had gone through similar motions four years prior, when I was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in 2005—but we are now both in remission! I began running again after our son left for college in 2011.

Because of my son’s involvement in sports, all of our time had been spent traveling to different games to cheer him on. With an empty nest, my husband and I had time to revisit our favorite pastimes from years ago. But even though he’s in remission, my husband never regained strength to run or ride again after his cancer treatment.

Instead, he now drives along with me on my long runs. He drops me off and drives my path to place water bottles at every mile. He is so wonderful and a huge source of motivation for me.

Last June, I lost my mother to Alzheimer’s disease. We were close, and the emptiness was extremely difficult. That summer, my husband reminded me that I needed to continue running—both for myself and my mother, who had loved stories of my athletic adventures.

I had always wanted to test out my half-marathon legs, and I knew my husband was right—so I signed up for a half in Cleveland that October. I trained hard and beat my goal time, all while my hubby cheered for me and waited to embrace me at the finish line! He truly is my number one fan.