…90 Days Until Race Day
Meet one of the coolest, most determined, beautiful and toughest young ladies I know. I adore this girl.
This is Emily.
Now 25-years-old, she is a Snowdrop Foundation scholarship recipient and a victor over osteosarcoma.
Diagnosed with a bone tumor in 2002 at age 11, she underwent 9 YEARS of treatment.
Her story is AMAZING. This is how she tells it:
“After my first diagnosis of osteosarcoma in right tibia, I had my right leg amputated above the knee.
Over the next 9 years I relapsed 4 times.
I had cancer in my lungs twice and in my abdomen twice.
All of these relapses required A LOT of chemo therapy. I can’t even keep count of how many rounds of chemo I had. It also required a lot of major surgery and radiation.
I had several major surgeries that were life threatening. One in particular was my second lung surgery that was a few days before my sweet 16. Imagine spending your birthday in the ICU.
This was a no joke surgery where they basically butterflied me like a shrimp. I had a complete dissection of my left chest wall, I had two thirds of my left lung removed as well as 5 of my ribs. They were replaced by a concrete mesh plate.
I have had many lasting effects that will be with me my whole life.
I am on heart medications, thyroid medications and tons of supplements.
The osteoporosis I acquired from chemo broke my femur 3 times.
I have nerve damage, hearing loss, and other issues as well.
This doesn’t stop me from doing what I love and trying new things. I have always had goals during treatment, goals to walk, goals to run, to ski, to hike, to drive, to serve others, to get married
I have been blessed and lucky I have achieved so many of my goals I set for myself when I was first diagnosed. I have seen pain and it makes me stronger and more caring and understanding of those around me.
I am lucky to work with children with cancer now and serve them the way I was served by many non-profits I came into contact with.
It’s weird when I meet a teen that also has osteosarcoma that had an amputation and is receiving the same chemotherapy I had. It is all too familiar. I can mentally put myself back into that place of what they are feeling. I know exactly what those kids are going through, I have felt their hurt and pain. Even if those kids never know I had cancer it is amazing to me that I am able to talk and understand them in a way that most others can’t.
Some good came out of this story for me but it leaves some big scars for sure.” – Emily
During my attempt to run 24 marathons in 24 days in July Houston heat (I managed 18 in a row), Emily joined me during one of those days. As she puts it, she “crutched a mile” with me. As I put it though, she showed me strength, resolve and dedication during that mile.
I think of Emily often when I run/train/race because nothing that I experience in a run, EVER, will compare to what she has overcome. That perspective keeps me going, when I don’t want to or when I don’t think I can anymore.
Emily, you have no idea the impact you’ve had on me, my mind and my heart.
Today’s run was pretty incredible, Emily. My mile splits: 9:26, 9:17, 9:15, 9:04, 9:06, 8:54, 8:43, 8:44, 8:49, 8:23, 8:35, 8:48, 8:59, 9:29, 8:58, 8:51, 8:44, 8:59, 9:07…Pretty incredible…just like you.
Who will you meet tomorrow?