Team #StacheStrong raised $6,452.17 for the NYC Marathon. Thanks to our team and congrats on everyone for impressive finishing times!!!
I am running the NYC Marathon in honor of my late father, Matthew J. McDonough III. He was diagnosed with glioblastoma on May 6, 2016 and underwent a successful surgery removing the tumor a week later. Almost immediately after surgery he jumped right into an aggressive 6 week treatment program at Baystate Hospital in Springfield, MA. Knowing that we were not out of the woods by any stretch, my family looked into additional treatments at Columbia Presbyterian in New York and Dana Farber in Boston. In January 2017 my dad had a second surgery. Shortly after that surgery he entered into a clinical trial at Dana Farber. Even though the outcome for him was ultimately not successful, he continued to fight in hopes that new breakthroughs could one day be made as a result of the trial. Sadly, he passed away on December 6, 2017.
At some point during this time, I can’t say exactly when – I found myself turning my anger, confusion, and nervous energy into running as a means of stress relief. Running became an outlet to clear my head and focus on remaining positive while my dad continued his fight. That fighting spirit has motivated me to give it everything I have in my training and will be ever present in my thoughts on Novmeber 4th.
StacheStrong is admittedly very new to me. I was turned onto StacheStrong through a mutual friend that Colin and I share. After reading about GJ and the Gerner family’s story I was blown away by all they have accomplished in the name of glioblastoma research and wanted to reach out and offer to help in anyway. I absolutely love the positive message behind the foundation and am thrilled to be running with the StacheStrong team!
I never liked running. In fact, I hated it. It’s tiring, it takes too long, and most of all, it’s boring. The only reason I even began to run was to avoid gaining the freshman 15 in college! That all changed about five years ago when my best friend’s dad was diagnosed with throat cancer. After the diagnosis, my friend started training for a half marathon and was dedicating it to his father. After speaking with my friend, I decided that I would do the same. It was not easy. Like I said before, I did not like to run and 13 miles definitely was not my definition of fun. However, after those 13 miles, I had never felt more accomplished. It was a feeling that is hard to describe. I was physically exhausted, yet I felt great at the same time. Most importantly, it was for a great cause and was for something that was especially important to me.
Fast forward to now and here I am still running. 26 miles. What? Running has become a passion of mine ever since. There are days I hate it and there are days I love it. Whether it be to exercise, relieve stress, or just to let my mind wander, running has become a norm in my life. You’re probably thinking, ’26 miles, a marathon, is a bit more than normal.’ You’re right, but StacheStrong isn’t about being normal. It’s quite the contrary.
To me StacheStrong is about being mentally tough. Being able to push forward when things aren’t easy and when others might quit. Finding the strength that you never knew you had to accomplish things that you might think to be impossible. Defeating the odds. In this case, it will be towards running 26 miles and raising awareness for glioblastoma. It will be for the StacheStrong foundation.
When Colin asked me if I wanted to run with StacheStrong for the marathon, I think I said yes before my brain even had time to process what he had said. When he asked me why I’m running these grueling 26.2 miles, with even less hesitation I responded, “For my aunt Pam.” Like GJ, my aunt Pam was a seemingly healthy adult who had a brain tumor. Unlike GJ, her tumor was benign and was a byproduct of her renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer).
My aunt would tell you about how she ran the marathon whether or not she was asked. She trained hard, and ran with my aunt Betsy and her best friend Nicole in 2005. Even when she was in the hospital after having her hip replaced because her cancer had spread, she was telling the nurse who was helping her get out of bed how she used to wake up at 5 AM to train for the marathon – bragging about how tough she was to continue with training after her toenail fell off.
StacheStrong is really a mentality, and the marathon is the ultimate mental test. It’s thinking about how you’ll conquer that next step, that next mile, that next hill – which is the mental challenge most of us face daily, no matter what your struggle. It’s the same thoughts my family had during my aunt’s illness and the same thoughts I know the Gerner’s now tackle every day. I know who I will be keeping in my thoughts as I cross the finish line.
On November 4th I will be running in the New York City Marathon. That’s right, Colin is going to run 26.2 miles. WOOF. According to the math I just did in my head, that’s equivalent to 138,336 Subway 5 Dollar Foot Long Subs, or (to sound even more daunting) 1,660,032 inches. Seems like quite the feat, no pun intended, until you take a step back and look at it through a different lens.
Ultimately, the view from this perspective is the reason why I’m training to run all of these miles, feet, and inches. I am running the NYC Marathon for my brother, as well as every brother, sister, mother, father, son, daughter, wife and husband that has had their loved one diagnosed with Glioblastoma Brain Cancer (GBM). I am running for everyone who has ran through the hell that is GBM. I am running for the day where this incurable disease meets its match…
26.2 Reasons to give:
#1 – #20: Did you not just read each post of the #StacheStrong team?!
#21: GBM is the only cancer with 100% recurrence rate
#22: Every $50 will fund one hour of research
#23: GBM has a median life expectancy of 10-15 months.
#24: Instead of buying me a beer next time you see me just donate here
#25: Tax Deductions…
#26: Revert to numbers 1-25 and if you come back to #26, move onto the last reason
.2: If you STILL haven’t donated and need .2 more reasons to give, just think of me with .2 miles to go 2 years ago during the marathon. I had no feeling in my toes and fingers and I only had 1,056 feet to go (roughly 2 minutes) when I blacked out. 2 females picked me up and attempted to carry me to the finish, an act of true strength. My body shut down and after 2+ hours in the medical tent, I finished the last .2 miles of my first marathon. This year I’ve got unfinished business; this year I’ve got a new motivation on those last .2 miles. THIS YEAR I WILL EMBODY #STACHESTRONG!!! It will take you less time to walk to your wallet, pull out your credit card and donate to our Marathon team…