Why do you run for Imerman Angels?
Deep down inside I wish that I could be a caregiver mentor angel, but I’ve never had the courage to do so. I run because I can. I run with Team IA because I am so impressed by those that can open themselves up by sharing their stories and being there for another person facing cancer. I wish that I could put cancer behind me and pretend like it never happened and that it didn’t create a new normal, but I’ll never get away from it. So I make the best from the worst. I run and fundraise because it is the least that I can do for such a great organization. I am overwhelmingly impressed by the Mentor Angels, they blow my mind.
What is it about running that connects you to the mission?
The journey and the training up to and including the race reminds me of those that face cancer. Every effort is put into making sure that you remain strong and push yourself to the end. When the finish line is in sight, you can drag yourself, tired and empty, across the finish line knowing that you can finally rest. What strikes me is the fact that you are surrounded by supporters the entire race. Unless you have someone running with you the whole way, it is easy to feel alone. We need people who will join us on the path who really understand how hard the race is and who will celebrate with you as you cross the finish line.
Tell us about your connection to the Chicago Marathon?
The 2007 Chicago Marathon was my first Marathon; at the time I was running for the Young Survival Coalition which was a wonderful source of support for my wife. For those that remember, 2007 was so hot that they cancelled it midway through the race. Fortunately, I was less than a quarter mile away from the finish line, so nothing was going to stop me. I learned that day that marathons are unpredictable. The best we could do was give everything we had and try to not look surprised.
What’s your favorite race?
Chicago Marathon will always have a special place in my heart. 2013 will be my 7th Chicago Marathon and hopefully my 21st Marathon overall. I have never run a race with so much spectator support. The opportunity to run through all the different neighborhoods in Chicago is what makes this such an incredible race. It is the biggest race that I have ever run at 45,000 capacity, compared to the Stone Bridge Marathon, where I have only ran past two people, which is at 200 capacity.
What’s your favorite Team IA moment?
It is hard to pinpoint my favorite moment, but running with wings and a big pink puff on your head is always a good time. I think it is awesome when runners talk with me during the marathon about why I am wearing the wings. I actually love all the attention around the wing and wig. They laugh, point, and take pictures. Plus I get to talk about how much I love Imerman Angels.
Join Team Imerman Angels in our biggest race of the year, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
In 2012, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon sold out in six days. Register today as a Team Imerman Angels athlete. As one of the World Marathon Majors, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is a premier race for elite runners. Chicago is also a great choice for a first-time marathoner. It is a fast and flat course with over 1.7 million spectators to keep you motivated as you run through 29 of Chicago’s great neighborhoods. On Sunday, October 13, 45,000 runners from all 50 states and more than 100 countries will set out to accomplish this big goal.
Benefits for our Chicago Marathon runners include:
Team Membership in all 2013 Events
- A Team Imerman Angels tech shirt or t-shirt
- A personalized fundraising page with support
- Complimentary marathon training with CARA (Chicago Area Runners Association)
- Access to Chicago Marathon specific events such as our pre-race Pasta Dinner & Post-Race Bash
- The knowledge that all money raised will help provide 1-on-1 support to cancer fighters, survivors, and caregivers
All interested runners are encouraged to register for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon when registration opens on February 19th at 12:00pm CST. This race will sell out quickly this year.
The cancer community is full of stories of fighters that overcome even the greatest challenges, and our Programs Manager, Jemma, is no exception. First diagnosed with cancer at the age of 23, and again for the second time at 24, Jemma rose to the challenge and beat both by the age of 25. You could say she was her own “healer” in the process, using her own stem cells to save her life through an Autologus Stem Cell Transplant.
Her battle left her stronger, not weaker, which is clear to see through her previous work. She has dedicated her life to cancer advocacy. Jemma began her work as a volunteer with the American Cancer Society for 9 years. There she has contributed in several ways from bringing passion to the organization through meeting with political leaders about cancer issues to speaking at various events. A champion for life, Jemma confided that the organization was meaningful enough to her that she wrote them into her will.
In 2007, Jemma met Jonny at an Imerman Angels event, and the rest is history! She became a Mentor Angel in 2009, sharing her experience with other cancer fighters through 1-on-1 support relationships, then became a full time staff member in 2011. Managing 6-12 volunteers and staff members, she works around the clock to promote the mission of Imerman Angels while doing her best to give back to the cancer community.
Like we find with many of the cancer survivors in our community, strength, courage, and perseverance seem to be written into Jemma’s DNA. When she is not spending time with her 12 year old son, who she raises as a single parent, she enjoys staying active. 14,000 mountain climbs, 2 half marathons, 2 sprint triathlons, 3 stair climbs, multiple running competitions, whitewater kayaking and CrossFit are just a few things that Jemma has already accomplished.
We wanted to take a moment to introduce you to Jemma and her story. Like many of our fighters, survivors and caregivers, Jemma has taken both cancer and life head on. To meet Jemma, or share your story with her, reach out to us! Check out the links below to learn more about Jemma!
o Website/Blog: www.iamjem.com
o Articles and Accomplishments:
With the 2012 Team Imerman fundraising up and running, we wanted to take a moment to share the story of one of Team Imerman’s runners.
At the age of 31, John Crowley was diagnosed and treated for a tumor in his lung. John was lucky enough to undergo a successful surgery that removed the tumor, which resulted in his recovery and four year remission.
While John was fortunate enough to have great family and friends support him during his battle with cancer, he wishes he would’ve had someone to talk who had been going through the same thing.
“After working in the oncology industry for over 10 years and contacting doctors all over the country, I couldn’t find one person who had experienced the same type of cancer that I had,” John recalls.
This is why John feels strongly about the mission of Imerman Angels. He recognizes the need for cancer patients to be able to connect with others who have gone down the same path and survived. With this mission in mind, John is inspired to raise money and run with Team Imerman.
On February 11, 2012 John celebrated his fourth year of remission by wearing the Team Imerman jersey and competing in “The Toughest Event on the Planet”, the Tough Mudder Race in Atlanta.
John’s positive attitude and efforts to give back are what make him the perfect advocate for Imerman Angels and we are proud to have him on our team!
Snap a pic wearing Imerman Angels apparel anywhere in the world – or post it on our Facebook fan page- and we’ll include it in our ongoing blog series, “Where in the World is IA??” Thanks to David Hardin for posing at the Mall of America!