I run today in honor of Team Hope. On my team today we have 3 very special people in this dedication, well actually 4, at the 11th hour I just got another request. So in honor of these people and the thousands of others who are affected daily with pc, this one is for you. Today is a little extra special as I will have my beautiful friend, Roberta Luna, a pancreatic cancer SURVIVOR run across the finish line with me. Like me Roberta lost her father to pc, but not only that, her uncle and her grandmother. At the time she did not understand the full impact this disease would have, until now. Below is just a small part of Roberta’s amazing story I found online. What an inspriation she is. For Roberta and anyone, losing three members of her family to pancreatic cancer was mind blowing. How could this be? What about her sons? What could this mean to them? She had no answers; only unanswerable questions. Then the unthinkable, Roberta developed vague symptoms herself, and she knew. The doctors told her she was lucky: the tumor was small and it was caught early and If she started treatment immediately she would have a better chance than most. She started chemotherapy immediately, and also underwent radiation for a short period of time. Because of her early diagnosis, the support of her family and those closest to her, and the grace of God, she is still here today to tell her story and run across the finish line with me. But the disease still plays a prominent role in her life: her mom was diagnosed in 2005. Together, we continue to fight. Roberta joined the Orange County Affiliate and has the unique position to be on both sides of the fence, as both a caretaker and a survivor. Through her experiences, she now bring hope to those who have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, survivors, as well as the precious caretakers. She wants to make a difference so that one day, no one ever has to hear the words go home and put your house in order again.-Roberta Luna Today as we run across the finish line together this will be symbolic of ending pancreatic cancer once and for all. Love you girl. xox Kerry’s husband Noel was diagnosed April 2011 at 54 years of age with Pancreatic Cancer. I quote the following from Kerry’s story about her beautiful husband Noel: They had booked a family holiday to California, taking the kids to Disney and renew their wedding vows for their 10th wedding anniversary on a beach in Ventura CA. Not far from Huntington Beach where I am running today. Look at these beautiful children: The doctors had given Noel a life expectancy of 6 months. They were not offered any other form of support or information. Noel’s had two daughters from a previous marriage. Upon the news Noel & Kerry stood outside the hospital just clinging to each other and crying. How could it be? How could she be losing the love of her life? There wasn’t a damn thing either of them or anyone else could do. Her two kids were losing their daddy and his older 3 theirs too, life can be so cruel. They had tried in vain to get travel insurance for Noel so they could bring their trip to the USA forward but it wasn’t to be. July 2nd they took their children to Euro Disney for what would be the last family holiday they would ever have. They decided that renewing our wedding vows was so important even more so now that they planned their wedding renewal August 18th exactly 10 years to the day they originally took our vows to each other. Noel was so sick he fought so hard. Every day he asked about how many days until our renewal. August 17th, Noel was released from hospital 24 hours before they walked down the aisle and pledged their love all over again, till death do us part. There weren’t too many dry eyes in the church that day!For Noel and Kerry: You can just feel the love radiating from this picture?:
One of Noels daughters announced she was pregnant. Noel was so thrilled but also so sad he knew he wouldn’t be around to see the birth of his first grandchild. Kerry knew Noel didn’t have much longer. How do you say goodbye to someone that is you’re everything? How can you even think about life without them? She had to tell her children that the angels were coming for daddy, he was tired. Seeing her babies climb on to the bed, kissing their daddy telling them how much they loved him tore her to pieces an image that she will never forget. She knew, it was time and she had to let her soul mate go. But she knew she would see him again, and that he will be waiting for her.
Noel was diagnosed Good Friday 2011 and Good Friday 2012 Harry Alan Noel Donnell came into the world looking so much like his granddad. A special time for sure but with so many emotions attached to it. After Noel passed, Kerrry threw herself into raising awareness & fundraising as much as she possibly could. At their renewal there were donations made in lieu of gifts which PCUK received £1200. In total £10,261.13 has been raised which is amazing. families in support of pancreatic cancer. Kerry I am so sorry for your loss of your soulmate. I do just want to say that I am so happy that the time you shared together was so beautiful, so full of love and so much light. That is the love we all dream of, but never to have to go through the pain that you did, so I will do all I can to put an end to it. Sending you big hugs as I imagine Noels spirit running with me today. All my best and Happy birthday to you. Hope it was wonderul. xo Julie For Greg Willard Since he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June 2012, Greg Willard has valiantly fought the disease with the support of his wife of 22 years, Laurie, and their children Bryce, Shelby and Weston, as well as many other family members and friends. He has also received tremendous support from his colleagues in the National Basketball Association (NBA), where he has worked as a highly regarded referee for 24 NBA seasons. Greg is a true role model. I met him at the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network gala in October, where he was being honored. He said to me “I’ll see you at the finish line!” Today Greg just may be out there volunteering. He and his family resides in Huntington Beach. That would be so awesome to see Greg out there today. Yet another symbol of upon finishing this marathon we are going to kick pancreatic cancer in the butt and finish it once and for all! Love to you and your family Greg. Keep fighting and never ever give up hope. xo-Julie One more, to make it 4 ♥♥♥♥: At the 11th hour last night I found an email from someone who contacted me after my write up in the Miami Herald last weekend. Mitch, A runner reaching out to me and thanking me,who has been impacted by this horrible cancer. He says, “I am not near 52 marathons in 52 weeks but I am on my own journey in running being pushed by thoughts of my dad Please keep him in mind during one of your strides in the future and please keep up the inspirations you give to everyone.” Dr. Robert Mitchell you are in my heart today, and I will imagine you as we run together to end this awful disease. And then there were 4 and thousands more. We are in this together, putting and end to pancreatic cancer one marathon at a time. We got this ♥♥♥♥