Exploring the World: Rising to the challenge | VailDaily.com

Exploring the World: Rising to the challenge

Jacque Cafaro
Exploring the World
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily

On June 21, a team of 160 cancer survivors and supporters will embark on a 4,000-mile run across America. One marathon at a time, the team will cross 16 states and more than 500 communities as they work to pass their baton from the Pacific to the Atlantic.

During their journey, the team will run from Mount Rainier to the Great Salt Lake, over the Rockies to the Great Plains, on to the Appalachians and past the Chesapeake Bay. As they run, each day will run to night and clear skies will fill with storms. Yet through the darkness and rain, their baton will not stop – because these runners know that dawn always follows the night and that the darkest storms create the brightest rainbows.

During this extraordinary journey, the team will take more than 10 million steps. Ten million steps to honor the past and inspire the future. Ten million steps forward.

My team will be raising $7,500, 100 percent of which will go to cancer research. Together, we will raise $1 million!

The Million Dollar Marathon is being presented by Above + Beyond Cancer, a public charity with a mission to elevate the lives of those touched by cancer to create a healthier world. The organization plans to use the event to educate the public about the connections between cancer, and diet and exercise, while raising money for cancer research and for programs that support cancer survivors and their families.

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The beneficiaries of the Million Dollar Marathon will be announced in March and will include a leading cancer research institution and a leading cancer advocacy group.

Why have I chosen to participate?

I ran my first marathon in Seattle, and ran the Boston Marathon a year later. The 2012 Boston Marathon tested the limits of thousands of runners, sending over 100 runners to the hospital after competing in the 90-plus degree weather. Once the heat set in, it was a fight to make it to the finish line. It was a humbling experience and wonderful to see the camaraderie between competitors as we fought the heat together.

After moving to Minneapolis in December, I decided to register for the 2013 Polar Dash. It was negative 4 degrees at the start line for the half marathon. I found a pacer and decided to stick with him for as long as I possibly could. A group of us ran shoulder-to-shoulder trying to stay warm and keep moving.

I’ve learned that there is a lot in life that we cannot control, and our attitude is crucial in conquering the toughest challenges. Cancer fighters and their families have inspired me to live each day to the fullest, because it is truly a gift from God. The courage and optimism of these individuals and their families is absolutely remarkable. I am honored to join 159 other inspiring cancer survivors and supporters in the Million Dollar Marathon; we will brave the weather and raise $1 million in a race to find a cure for cancer.

“Running helps to strengthen us for life’s burdens.” – Kristin Armstrong

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