I am Jacky and I am an ultrarunner based out in Arizona. I lost my leg to cancer and on August 1st I will be 21 years cancer free and to celebrate this and do something that I hope will inspire others to move I decided to run 21km/13.1 miles every day until I reach 5250km/3262 miles. The reason for the 5250km is because The American cancer society estimates that nearly 2 million people will be diagnosed with cancer this year, which is equivalent to around 5250 people per day. This distance is also around the same distance as running across America, something I have always wanted to do. I think that I’ll be running around 250 days. I’ve also got a 100 miler, a couple of marathons, and a six-day race planned during this event, so that will add to the miles.
I am indeed one of the lucky ones to have survived cancer and not everyone is this lucky. As part of this challenge, I wanted to honour those that are either fighting, survived, or lost their lives to cancer. That is why I created something where people could celebrate or remember their loved ones. Every day I will be running in honour of someone. I have a race bib for every day and I will have the person’s name on it. I will post on my social media about the person I am running for that day so they can be remembered, encouraged, or celebrated. My followers have been providing me with names and reading everyone’s story has truly been moving. Everyone I know has been touched by cancer and my biggest dream is that one day we will find a cure for this horrible disease. Anyone can join me virtually or in person in Arizona. You can run as many miles as you want and all paces are welcome. I will bring extra water and Tailwind Nutrition as Arizona is hot in August. I’ve set up a Strava club called “I can do hard things” and I will post the location and time info for each run in the club and you can follow my daily runs in the group. Anyone that is on Strava can join the group. https://www.strava.com/clubs/I-can-do-hard-things
Why did I call the project “I can do hard things”? Last year during my 104 consecutive marathons challenge I needed to motivate myself and I would often tell myself when I really didn’t want to run another mile that “you can do this”. I could hear that voice in my head saying, “You can do hard things”, but at one point during the marathons, I started to really believe that I could do it and that voice changed to a louder and more confident voice saying “I can do hard things”. It then became my mantra and often that voice would get louder and louder. We are all capable of so much more than we think and often we need to be our own cheerleaders and believe that we can do hard things.
I will also be raising money for cancer research and the charity I have chosen is the Sarcoma Foundation. Sarcoma is the cancer I had. What is sarcoma? Sarcoma is a rare cancer in adults (1% of all adult cancers), but rather prevalent in children (about 20% of all childhood cancers). It is made up of many “subtypes” because it can arise from a variety of tissue structures (nerves, muscles, joints, bone, fat, blood vessels – collectively referred to as the body’s “connective tissues”). Because these tissues are found everywhere on the body, Sarcomas can arise anywhere. Thus, within each site of the more “common” cancers, there is the occasional surprise sarcoma diagnosis (e.g., breast sarcoma, stomach sarcoma, lung sarcoma, ovarian sarcoma, etc.). The most frequent location is the limbs since this is where the majority of the body’s connective tissue resides. They are commonly hidden deep in the body, so sarcoma is often diagnosed when it has already become too large to expect a hope of being cured. Although many of the lumps and bumps we get are benign, people should have them looked at by a doctor at an early stage in case of sarcoma.
Sarcoma is sometimes curable by surgery (about 20% of the time), or by surgery with chemotherapy and/or radiation (another 50-55%), but about half the time they are totally resistant to all of these approaches—thus the extreme need for new therapeutic approaches. At any one time, more than 50,000 patients and their families are struggling with sarcoma. More than 16,000 new cases are diagnosed each year and nearly 7,000 people die each year from sarcoma in the United States
Please join me in this challenge. Run virtually with me, join me out in Arizona, run 1 mile, run 13.1 miles, run a marathon, but keep on moving. Let’s celebrate the people who have beaten cancer. Let’s encourage the people fighting cancer and let’s remember the people who we lost to this horrible disease.
Please join the Strava group and on Instagram or Twitter for daily updates.By Jacky Hunt-Broersma