Anna contacted me last January. She said she was interested in running the Disneyland Half Marathon, September 2, 2012 to support Inheritance of Hope. Team IOH does not participate as a team in the Disneyland Half but Anna still wanted to raise funds and run the race for IOH families! Throughout the year, many runners do the same. They run halfs, marathons, mud runs, tris, and 5ks as individual runners. It’s their way of running beside and supporting the families that Inheritance of Hope serves. Thank you, Anna, for sharing this wonderful story … and thank you for raising over $1500! ~Lisa
Submitted by Anna Pasquarella
As a member of a family living with cancer, I know how easy it can be to get overwhelmed. That was why I chose to run for Inheritance of Hope; because I’ve been there, and because I felt that a cause that could make the process easier for someone else was absolutely worth working for.
My mom was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer five years ago, and though it has progressed she is still in treatment and going strong. When you get that far out from the course things are supposed to take, almost everything is unknown. A tiny smudge on an X-ray could equal weeks in the hospital. A lab result that meant bad news one day could mean good the next. It’s a wonder any of us in these situations gets any sleep at all.
My mom sleeps, though. She’s a huge supporter of the idea of not borrowing worry, so when my training wasn’t going smoothly or my fundraising was coming along slower than expected, or when her treatment schedule was ending dangerously close to when she and my family were supposed to fly out to to see the race, I shouldn’t have been surprised at Mom’s reaction. She laughed at the irony of the timing, told me that I was doing the best that I could do and to keep it up, and then she bought her plane tickets to California anyway. If my mom wasn’t letting the unknown keep her from enjoying the present, then neither would I.
So, the morning of the race, in spite of my nervousness over running my first half in barefoot shoes, in spite of hardly sleeping and just barely making my fundraising goal in time, I put on my Toy Story cowgirl costume and hit the road. And it was fun! Not that I should have been surprised. For those who haven’t done a Disney race, I’d highly recommend one. They let you run through the park before it opens, and provide some sort of entertaining distraction pretty much every mile. By the end of the race, I couldn’t stop smiling. Instead of the stuffed horse on my belt looking ridiculous, some fellow runners told me afterward that they’d been using Ol’ Bullseye as a pacer–if they saw him and me they knew they were keeping up speed. I was exhausted, but I’d shaved 17 minutes off my fastest time, and I hadn’t fallen on my face once!
As I waited to have my finisher picture taken, I felt my legs go wobbly and I let myself be overwhelmed. I’d finished the race. I’d enjoyed it. My friends and family had shown a breathtaking amount of support above and beyond any goals I’d set. My mom–and my dad, my sister, my husband–were healthy and able enough to be there to see it. We were in Disneyland. At eight in the morning, it was already a beautiful day. And best yet, all of our efforts would be moving forward to help other families have equally as awesome days. As a family facing illness, it can be very easy to get overwhelmed. Sometimes, though, being overwhelmed is exactly what we need.