Tomorrow morning Esther, Cristian and I are running a 5K race in Prospect Park, okay Cristian will be riding in his stroller while I push him but he’ll be participating. Although we are no strangers to 5K races or Prospect Park’s notorious hill tomorrow’s race isn’t about goal times or P.R.s—this one’s personal—we’ll be honoring Esther’s Mom’s memory.
In 2013, Maria Hernandez, Lola to her friends, lost her battle with Pancreatic Cancer so for a third-straight year her three children will be participating in the PanCan Purple Stride 5K Run/Walk to honor her memory.
Pancreatic Cancer is a brutal disease with an extremely low survival rate. Besides taking the lives of celebrities like Steve Jobs, Patrick Swayze and Luciano Pavarotti, it’s affected the lives of many non-celebrity families as well. Last year my Dad was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. Dad was lucky, if you can say that for any cancer patient, he died of pneumonia before the cancer fully took hold, Lola wasn’t so fortunate.
Long-distance runners are no strangers to pain—it’s who we are. I’ve run a 60K race, just over nine four-mile loops in Central Park on a cranky knee. Esther started a marathon on a badly-injured ankle that got worse with every step taken—both were minor twinges compared to Lola’s battle. She fought a tough fight, the worse things got, the harder she fought, but no one beats Pancreatic Cancer.
Since tomorrow morning’s weather forecast calls for windy conditions with a chance of snow I’m expecting less than the fifty people who came out last year. Cold weather does that, but Esther, Bobby, Rose Marie, Cristian and I will be there regardless of the conditions. This ugly disease took Robert, Lucas, and Justin’s grandmother. Cristian will never know his La La Maria because of it, it’s our biggest regret.
If you know anyone suffering or lost someone to Pancreatic Cancer or are interested in donating to a good cause click here.
This entry is being posted to both of my blogs North Queens Runner and I’m Not Grandpa.