Everyone has a story of who or what they are running, swimming, biking or standing for. What will you leave behind as your Legacy? I have focused on that question these last four years.
So who am I you ask? My name is Michelle Maricic. A former Nurse with an MBA, triathlete, marathoner, ballerina, previous private pilot, motorcycle rider, gardener, lover of nature, animals and the great outdoors, a wife of a great husband of 33 years and a friend to many. Some say a serial optimist:) And I have always lived focused “on a purpose”. The purpose of making a positive difference every brand new 24 hours. Making the world a better place than when we found it.
I have fought the good fight against the diagnosis of Cancer 3X and by the grace of God, family and friends behind me. I have won the fight.
In 2019, three weeks after COVID hit, I was told I had a year to live if I did not do Chemotherapy. A year. I sat for a moment in disbelief. I was fit, had a great job, a great life. I had so much to still learn, read, see, do…..I had 6 large tumors in my abdomen & pelvis – The diagnosis was Diffuse Large B Cell NHLymphoma. That was my 3rd diagnosis. Every treatment day I greeted everyone with a Happy Friday, carrying in my lunch pail filled with organic nuts, fruits, crackers & PB and several beverages (green teas, cold pressed juices) and my phone. I ate and hydrated through each treatment. I never got sick, not once. Thank God.
I sat by the chair closest to the window where I could see sunshine, the trees, the grass, flowers. It took 17 short days for me to lose all my hair. I had a friend cut it in advance to give me the sense I choose when, not the unwelcome guest. I sat for 7 hrs listening to books on Audible, praying to stay well and believing I would be fine. Each treatment, my husband would bring me a fresh juice smoothie for lunch. And as a reward 5 days after each treatment we would drive to NC to allow me to hike in the Blue Ridge. I would continue to walk and bike as well when I could. After 8 long months, we beat it. Not a trace of cancer. Now I thought, how do I give back.
During the treatment I lost both my dogs unexpectedly. After a few month I rescued a little yellow lab or rather, he rescued me. A week in, I woke up at 3am realizing he would be an Oncology Therapy dog. With the help of Therapy Dogs of America he now serves as a therapy dog in the Hospitals. If only for a few moments, he brings smiles and joy to those undergoing treatment and reminds them of happiness. I’m just the girl at the end of the leash. I went on to volunteer my time at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute and a few other Hospitals along with volunteering at Lab Rescue and a few other organizations. I also did some Business consulting and eventually went back to work as a Nursing Executive for Healthcare Technology.
After 2 years & 2 months in remission I received the news in November 2022 that Follicular Non Hodgkins Lymphoma is recurring. I refer to (cancer) as “The unwelcome guest”. And they know not whose home they’ve entered. I am fiercely determined with God & your prayers behind me, to beat it for the 4th time.
It may be obvious I don’t “sit” well:). So I pondered what next. I decided to help support the research and advanced treatments for our future generations – Children Diagnosed with Cancer who don’t deserve such fate. I began a Campaign to run & raise money for the full London Marathon (26.2 miles) for Children with Cancer UK (whilst hosting the unwelcome guest). While there I would see my family which I had not seen in too many years.
On April 23rd, 2023 God gave me the strength to finish. I along with the team successfully finished and raised over $1.6M lbs for the Children. I have offered my medal to a child undergoing cancer treatments. Once completed that child will ring the bell and receive the London Marathon 2023 Medal.
Tom from One Medal heard my story and thought it would be of interest to all of you super heroes. Cheers to doing good with the time we have here. Let us unite and keep the good going. We are always stronger together.
Here is my story journaled in CaringBridge https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/faceitownitsurviveit/journal/view/id/63a5bfaf5b8484635e4c1c8c