This past July, I heard Jonny Imerman speak at the Imerman Angels Brunch run. I was so touched by his story and the mission of IA that I found myself crying into my mimosa. His words resonated with me and I joined the organization first as a volunteer, later as a member of the Professionals Board, and now as a part of Team IA. This year, I dedicate the Chicago Marathon to everyone I know who has been touched by cancer ― caregivers and survivors alike. I run so those touched by this disease will never always have someone to turn to, someone to understand, and a beacon of hope in a dark time.
This year will be my fifth time running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon with Team Imerman Angels. I first learned of the mission while at the expo for my first marathon back in 2011. After learning about the mission I decided I was going to run my second marathon with Team IA the following year. I run with Team IA for three core reasons. First, to support the organization and help make sure those mentor angel and cancer fighter connections are being made every day, second to help spread awareness to cancer fighters and caregivers who do not yet know support is out there, and third I run for those who can’t, for those who are either in the midst of their fight or who have passed on but are always with us. Running is a gift that takes on a new meaning when you realize every mile you run is making a difference in countless lives. Every mile is giving someone hope and strength.
I had first heard of Imerman Angels in high school, when cancer was a distant worry for me and my family. At that time, I was privileged to meet the founder of Imerman Angels, Jonny Imerman, and was inspired by his personal story and mission to find a better way to support those fighting cancer – at the time they needed help the most. When my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer years later, I knew exactly where to turn and quickly signed up to run my first marathon with Team IA. I found it both rewarding and impactful to know that every mile I ran made a difference to someone battling cancer. The strength and resilience my mother exhibits in her own fight, inspires me to run each year, as I now begin to train for my fourth marathon with Imerman Angels. Although enduring 26.2 miles pales in comparison to enduring a battle with cancer, running with Team IA allows me to serve as an example of strength to my mother, and all those fighting cancer, when they need it most.