I came across the Hirshberg Foundation’s LA Cancer Challenge in 2010 and knew right away that I had to get involved. It was the first time I found an organization that was dedicated solely to pancreatic cancer. I ran my first 5k that year, the longest distance I’d run in my life. It was an emotional experience for me as I thought about why I was running and raising money for the foundation. My first wife Eugenie lost her brave battle in 2003 after fighting the disease for 5 years. She was a wonderful pianist, my best friend and my musical partner. It felt really good to finally be able to do something to help in the fight against cancer. Little did I know that running that 5k back in 2010 would lead me to do something I vowed I would never do: run a marathon.
I began training for the 2012 event and after our first training run I realized I had a lot of work to do! I also realized I was getting involved with a really great group of people. We had great support and encouragement from everyone at Hirshberg and from our coaches.
The outpouring of support from the volunteers who lined the streets really helped keep my spirits up. Approaching the Foundation’s Purple Cheer Station at Mile 21 with dozens of cheering supporters in purple clothes was an extraordinary experience that brought tears to my eyes. That moment was a reminder of my loss, but also a beacon of hope for the future of those that are fighting cancer. Running the marathon for pancreatic cancer gives the experience real purpose for me.
I know that while I am sore and tired, it is a small sacrifice if I can help make a difference for someone in the future. I am very proud to be a member of the Hirshberg Training Team and run the LA Marathon in memory of Eugenie, and in support of pancreatic cancer research.
Founded in 1997, The Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing pancreatic cancer research, and providing information, resources, and support to pancreatic cancer patients and their families.