The following One Medal Story was submitted by Shannon who ran the 2017 Boston Marathon for her high school friend’s son, Jack.
I know Michelle and her sister Debbie from high school. Michelle and I were good friends and we used to hang out on the weekends going to movies and football games. I remember always laughing with her and sometimes in places (like a quiet theater!) where we weren’t supposed to. But that is what the high school years were about — being carefree, for the most part, with not much to worry about except the test you have tomorrow or what you will wear Friday night. Michelle and I have kept in touch over the years through Christmas cards and Facebook and I’ve watched as several of her family members, including her sister, mother, and nephew, have all battled (and beaten!) cancer. The latest cancer diagnosis in the family was Debbie’s youngest son, Jack. Jack had leukemia 7 years ago and they found out earlier this year that it had come back, coming just months after Michelle’s and Debbie’s mother finished her last round of treatment for lung cancer.
You feel helpless in times like these, wanting to help out a family who is struggling but not knowing what to do or how to help. It’s especially hard when a child is involved. It made me think back to the fun times I had with Michelle and feel sad for the experiences Jack is missing and the worry he’s had to face at such a young age. But the great thing about Jack is that none of what he’s going through has gotten him down. Every single picture that I see of him is with a smile on his face. He has the spirit of a warrior and he’s not going to let this setback stop him.
On April 17th, 2017 I ran the Boston Marathon in Jack’s honor. I wanted others to see and be inspired by Jack’s fighting spirit and I wanted to show support for a family who has been nothing but inspirational. In early May Jack will be undergoing a bone marrow transplant surgery. I want him to have the Boston medal as encouragement. My race may have been difficult but it is nothing compared to the race Jack is running for his life. And, I know he’ll be “running” his race with a smile on his face the entire time. Jack, you are my hero!