In December of 1992 I was a happy husband and father of two young
children. A month later, I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoplastic
After two years of chemoterapy that helped me into remission, my body
was weak and lifeless. I felt as if I were a puppet who needed help to
lift his arms or hold up his head.
I began to run. After six months my strength had come back. On one
of my runs, one where I felt I could run forever, I decided I was going to
try to run a marathon.
After telling my Dad about my plan he told me of a program that
trains people to run a marathon, while raising funds for Luekemia research
at the same time. So that summer, through the Luekemia Society's Team In
Training program I started to train for the Marine Corps Marathon. During
mile after mile of uncertainty, the day finally came to run the marathon.
On October 27,1996, at 8am, the cannon went off and so did I. Along
with 19,000 other brave souls I started on a twenty-six and two tenths mile
journey that I will never forget.
I first saw my wife Patty at the six mile mark: she seemed happy
that I was still looking as if I knew what I was doing , and having a good
time doing it. At mile 17, my mind was going back to those two horrible
years that tried to bring my family and me down. I saw her again. The
concern in her face told me she knew I was starting to struggle. I felt as
if we were thinking the same, nine more miles and these last few years will
be behind us.
That thought alone pulled me forward. Mile 22, 23, slowing but
going, 24, 25, then there it was. The Iwo Jima War Memorial. I have seen
nothing so grand and inspiring in my life. At 3 hours and 41 minutes after
I started, I crossed what I think has to be the most fitting finish line in
all of road racing!
That night the Luekemia Society gave me a pin at a post race party
that simply says, "Luekemia 26.2".
If God wills, and I relapse, my cancer may once again take away my
hair and my strength, maybe even my life. But it can never take away my
pin, or the fact that I am a marathoner.