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The couple that runs together stays together. In 2002 Shari Goettel found out she had multiple sclerosis (MS). The sudden illness infuriated the otherwise healthy resident of Tucson, Ariz. To manage her stress and frustration, Cathy, her wife of 25 years, encouraged Shari to begin running.
Cathy, a grants management consultant and longtime runner, had always believed in Shari’s capacity to run regardless of the MS. “Cathy encouraged me every step of the way,” Shari says. “She would tell me, ‘I wish you could see yourself as I see you. I see a runner.’”
With Cathy right beside her, Shari ran. She continued running after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005—and even ran throughout her radiation treatments. Despite the pain, Shari ran as often as she could, and on days the 51-year-old therapist couldn’t run, Cathy ran for her.
Exactly one year after Shari’s breast cancer diagnosis, she ran her first 5K, a Susan G. Komen race. Cathy ran with Shari but pulled back as they approached the finish line to let Shari beat her!
Since then the couple has worked their way up to half marathons, and Shari has placed second in the Susan G. Komen 5K survivor category twice. Her goal is to place first this year with Cathy by her side.
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