Monday, January 23, 2017

Isabella Santos Foundation 5K and 10K for Kids Cancer Race Recap

In reflecting on 2016 I realized I have not yet completed my race recap for the 10K for Kids Cancer I completed on September 24, 2016.

This event is a difficult one to write about. A typical recap consists of the description of the race route, was it easy, difficult, was there support, etc. It helps runners decide if it’s a race they may want to consider in the future. I don’t know about you but I search for recaps before I run ANY race! I learned the hard way and found myself in some surprising situations on runs. I now find a recap to prepare for the race.

This race was unlike any other I have ever ran. I have wanted to do this race for a couple of years now but just haven’t. You see I have a little buddy Sam who was diagnosed four years ago December 29th, 2012 with Neuroblastoma. Sam is now heading into 2nd Grade! 

Sams mom Denielle has been my friend for many many years. My little girls where the flower girls in her wedding in 2003.

Having a child diagnosed with Cancer is something I cannot even imagine. My heart broke for their family and I watched helplessly as they endured the most terrifying journey of their lives. It has been a long hard fight and Sam is doing great today!

Isabella Santos was a little girl who also had been diagnosed with Neuroblastoma at the age of 2 and fought for five courageous years. In June, 2012, she ended her battle. The Isabella Santos Foundation was created to continue to fight today, in her honor and memory and for other kids still fighting.

I can’t even type this re-cap without sobbing. Losing a child is my worst nightmare.

Tess and I registered for this race, I would run the 10K, my very first 10K, and she would run the 5K. I loved having Tess there at this race with me. I love that she runs!

Looking around at this HUGE crowd that filled the streets I found myself wondering how many of these people have lost a little child, how many of these kids that I see might be fighting right this very minute. I was so overwhelmed with emotion.

There were so many people, purple flooded the area!

The race day packet pick up went smooth and quick. Music was playing for our entertainment and I heard them announce “This was Isabella’s favorite song”.  I found myself again choking back tears (and now again as I type this too).

As we lined up to the starting line this man and woman jumped up in the back of a pick-up truck and the man handed the microphone. These were Isabella’s Parents. I quickly turn away to collect myself. Standing just steps away are these people who once had this amazing full of life little girls and now don’t have her anymore. My heart breaks. You can tell they are overcome with emotion. Missing their daughter and honored that so many people are in this place in her honor.  

The race started, the course was a loop for the 5K and a double loop for the 10K. There were a few rolling hills but nothing too bad. Plenty of water along the course however there was no water when I finished my race. No biggie, knowing that there were that many people there that they ran out of water filled my heart with joy. Next time I will remember this and take some water with me just in case.

At the finish there were medals, oh and the race shirts were great too. There was a huge like festival after the race, tons of activities for kids, tons of vendors and a silent auction.

Molly was there from WBTV having kids write get well notes to other kids currently in the hospital. This was another reminder that while this was a fun event there are children sick and families suffering.

As far as a race goes it was great. It was a beautiful day, we were gathered with friends and we ran.

As an experience, however, it was emotional. The most emotional event I have ever participated in. It was reminder that while I go about my day to day every day others are in a very very different place. It reminded me to wake up each day and first pray for others, like these children and families,  and then be thankful for the healing, our health, and all the blessings we are given.

The Isabella Santos Foundation shared that the race was a huge success. The foundation provides financial support to Neuroblastoma Research to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), Neuroblastoma Research to NMTRC, Carolinas HealthCare System’s Levine Children’s Hospital, Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte, Make-A-Wish- of Central & Western Carolinas, various pediatric cancer charities and providing financial support to local families battling cancer.

I will absolutely run this race again! I encourage you to as well! It is powerful, it is meaningful and it is for a great cause!

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” ― Wendy Mass

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