Running to Beat Cancer: Jennifer's Story
Stories from the 30th LA Marathon
Ride to beat cancer with us in 2016 - sign up here today!
Once again, an impressive group #TeamThinkCure runners participated in the LA Marathon. After months of training, we had a group of more than 50 cross the finish line -- all the more impressive since each and every one of our team had raised funds for our life-saving cancer research program at City of Hope and Children's Hospital Los Angeles!
When you run for a cause like ours, it's often personal. I'm honored to share this story from a first time #TeamThinkCure participant (and, in fact, our top fundraiser!), Jennifer Logan. Please read on -- and maybe next year when we begin recruiting you'll be inspired to join us, too:
First, let me say, I feel so blessed to have learned about this organization and everything it does to make such an enormous impact on the quality of society with its dedication to collaborative research through City of Hope and Children's Hospital.
My story for why I am running in this marathon as a part of ThinkCure actually goes back about 20 years. When I was a teenager (yikes, I just dated myself!), I was on a serious track to become a concert pianist. My mentor had connections all over the world and was preparing me for a concert career. When I was 18, he was diagnosed with bone cancer and everything changed. He said things to me that I will never forget and it has come a part of my philosophy of living. I was preparing a Mozart Piano Concerto at the time - and as he was being treated with multiple surgeries and chemotherapy, he insisted I still come for my piano lessons. I watched him dwindle away before my eyes - and I just wanted to do everything right! Yet, he would yell from his chair in a big german accent: you're doing it all wrong, you're worse than you were last week! I only wanted to please him, I practiced 9-10 hours a day for him and loved him more than anything. He lived 6 months after his diagnosis, I performed the concerto to nearly 5,000 people in total, but played for the one who wasn't there. He said to me during those lessons: "I will NOT let you do this alone." This is why I teach, and why I will always teach. I cried everyday on the way home, but realized years later - we were giving each other life - soul. Right up until the end. He gave me the greatest gift. A vision of genuine art and the meaning of sharing it in a noncompetitive way, but truly about the quality and meaning inherent in what it is to create and to give.
Jump ahead 20 years. My mom was diagnosed with stage IV peritoneal cancer just over two years ago, and has been fighting to this day with the most incredible gentle strength I have ever seen. She has been honest with me about her prognosis, and stoic about her monthly chemo. I am LUCKY that she is still with me - thanks to doctors and advancements in treatment. She would have been gone two years ago otherwise. Now, I have time with her with an entirely different perspective on life. Add to this, my dear Aunt had gone in to the hospital with pain a few months ago, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and was gone two days after diagnosis, two weeks after the pain started, leaving us all in a whirl of disbelief and shock. I am doing this run for my mom, who has inner strength unlike anyone I've ever known, my aunt, for me, and for solidarity with everyone who has to undergo months, years, of chemotherapy and other forms of treatment that are as hard as it gets. She has endured more than a marathon every month for this entire time.
Witnessing all of this left me feeling powerless, as happens with so many. The depression I felt as a teenager with the loss of my mentor changed the direction of my life. (I am still a pianist, very much a professor, and a dedicated composer and artist, but not a concertizing pianist after ruining both of my wrists from overuse, misuse and no teacher for some time after he was gone.) The sadness of losing my aunt and watching my mom endure so much was very deep.
Joining with this organization helps me feel empowered to make a difference in the lives of others, to give what I can to be proactive for the good of many, to build my own stamina, and to share this with my mom. In doing this, I have felt myself lift and feel renewed vitality in my own life and work.
With this - onward! With love, compassion, and fire for life! Thank you, ThinkCure! for everything you do, thanks to everyone who has contributed to it, and thanks to the LA Dodgers for their generous outreach and just being awesome!
Jennifer Logan, Ph.D.
Jennifer, thank you for sharing your story with us! For everyone else reading this, and our runners especially - here's a little memento of our event:
Thank you to all of our #TeamThinkCure runners!
Do you have a story you'd like to share? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best of health,
Joseph Fay, Executive Director, ThinkCure!