With just over a month to go until the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon, our runners are conquering more and more training miles every week. We are hugely proud of their accomplishments both in training and fundraising. Visit our Crowdrise site and prepare to be impressed!
In this second installment in our “Meet Our Team” series, we are proud to introduce Teresa Killion. Don’t mess with Texas!
For the past 20 years I have called myself a Texan but I’m orginally from Oklahoma. I’ve been married for over 30 years to my amazing husband Gary and have one son in college.
Running the NYC Marathon will be an amazing experience and I have chosen to represent the Colon Cancer Challenge Foundation due to the high rate of colon cancer deaths in my family. My brother Russell passed away in 2001 at the age of 37. I deeply miss my big brother and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him. My mother-in-law Margaret passed away in 1996 at the age of 53. We miss hearing her laugh and seeing her beautiful smile. Early detection and screening could have saved both of their lives. The loss of my grandmother and uncles and other family members to this disease has fueled me to be passionate for this charity and I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to support the Colon Cancer Challenge Foundation at the New York City Marathon. I read your charity site and truly believe awareness and early detection are the keys. I read how you support the community after the loss of loved ones, which is needed and not something that everyone gets.
On November 6, I’ll be running in memory of my big brother Russell. I’ve been running my entire life but have really gotten into more of the organized races over the past few years. I believe I have run in over 20 half marathons which include Las Vegas, Dallas, Galveston, Nashville, Estes Park, San Antonio, OKC Memorial, and many more. I’m so passionate about running that I will do any 5k with friends when asked and definitely will try to motivate everyone to join in. I was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis in 2007 and have discovered movement with running improves my stiffness and flexibility of my joints and muscles. As sore as I may be the next day, the benefits physically and emotionally outweigh any pain that I may have.
Fundraising for the Colon Cancer Challenge Foundation is just the perfect fit for me and it will be an emotional day as I’m crossing the finish line.
You can learn more about Teresa and support her fundraising efforts here.
The countdown is ON for the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon! We are so proud to have an incredible group of runners representing Team Colon Cancer Challenge this year. Together, our athletes have raised over $65,000 and counting! We cannot wait to cheer them on as they tackle 26.2 miles on November 6.
In this first “Meet Our Team” installment, we are honored to introduce you to Courtney Rheuban from Venice, CA. Here is her story.
My first marathon was seven years ago, with no experience whatsoever. I was going through a hard time and decided to sign up for one. Of course, my entire family thought I wasn’t going to make it. Shortly after I started training, I started dating Rick, who would later become my husband. He supported me through all my races. By the time I stopped running, I had done three marathons and a dozen half marathons. In 2013 we decided to do a half marathon together. I trained him for about four months and in November 2013 we did the Las Vegas Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon. We crossed the finish line and Rick turned to me and said, “That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” That turned out to not be true.
In February 2014, three months later, he started not feeling well. Dizzy, shortness of breath, unable to walk up and down the stairs in our apartment. He finally got in to see the doctor in March and it wasn’t good. After a series of tests, we found out he had a massive cancerous tumor in his colon, and at the end of March he had a colon resection surgery and spent eight days in the hospital. Unfortunately there were cancer cells in his lymph nodes also, so he underwent 12 rounds of chemotherapy. He did all 12 rounds – something his doctor didn’t think would actually happen due to how intensive the treatment was. He finished in November 2014, and we decided he should scan in December instead of waiting six months like normal. Our thoughts were, we’ve already met his deductible so might as well do it now. Not only did he not respond to the chemotherapy, his cancer had spread to his liver and peritoneal lining and he had developed new tumors.
2015 was spent trying to find a treatment plan. We knew there was no cure, but we were doing everything we could to gain a little more time. Two more chemotherapy treatments, two clinical trials and three different hospital visits for experimental surgeries that he didn’t qualify for. All to no avail. He continued to get sicker, and his tumors continued to multiply and grow in spite of everything we did. Christmas day was the beginning of the end. He spiked a fever and we spent the night in the hospital. Between Christmas and New Years we were in the hospital twice, and the final time was January 4th 2016. After four days in the hospital, he was released to go home and into home hospice. I took a leave of absence from work at that point. Five weeks later, on February 8th, he passed away at home, peacefully in bed, with me and our dogs.
One month later, on the one month anniversary of his passing, I received the email saying I had been accepted into the NYC Marathon. This was a bucket item I had been trying for since I started running, and each year Rick and I were disappointed when I didn’t get in. He was from New York originally and we thought it would have been so cool for me to run in his home town. I knew this was his way of looking out for me.
Rick was a man who refused to be defined by his cancer. As far as he was concerned, he was a man who happened to have cancer, and it didn’t get in the way of our lives. We lived life to the fullest, traveling as much as possible, going to concerts, doing everything fun we could think of. Most people didn’t even know he had cancer until he passed away.
Rick never got a colonoscopy before he got sick, and I always wonder if he would still be alive today if he had started getting them at 50 like he was supposed to (he was 54 when he was diagnosed, died at 56). This is why I wanted to run for the Colon Cancer Challenge Foundation. Everyone should get a colonoscopy. If this is a cancer that is somewhat avoidable everyone should have that opportunity. I don’t want anyone else to go through what we went through.
I’m running for Rick! Please take a moment and donate today!!
Courtney has set an ambitious goal of raising $10,000. Help Courtney reach her goal by clicking HERE. And stay tuned for more moving stories as we count down to Marathon Sunday! After all, we are all in this Challenge together.
Our new CCCFBlog is up and running! Welcome!
We are excited to roll out this new feature of our website and connect with not only our current supporters but also new web visitors who are looking for information about our organization and colorectal cancer. We hope you will find this blog useful and inspiring. Here’s what we have in store for this space:
- Spotlighting the personal stories of our Team Colon Cancer Challenge participants and supporters;
- One-on-one conversations with our founder, Dr. Thomas Weber;
- Recapping the extraordinary sessions of our annual Early Age Onset Colorectal Cancer Summit, led by world-renowned physicians, scientists and other medical professionals;
- Highlighting our partners and other resources of interest to our community;
- Sharing our latest event and outreach news, as well as up-to-the-minute updates in colorectal cancer research and prevention.
How does this sound? We want to hear from YOU. Please take a moment to email us or reach out on social media to let us know what you want to read. We are here for you and want this blog to be a reflection of our incredible community.
Find us on social media:
And who am I, your resident CCCF blogger? My name is Jennifer Butler, and I have been a CCCF supporter since the very first Colon Cancer Challenge in 2004. I ran then, and I run now, in honor of my stepdad John Hanna, who succumbed to colon cancer a mere 20 months after being diagnosed with the disease in 2002. The support that our team, Running for John, garnered for that first race brought my stepdad immeasurable joy and comfort during the last months of his life. For that, I will be forever grateful to Dr. Weber and the CCCF. I live in Chappaqua, NY, with my husband and French Bulldog and I’m a supermom of two young children. I represented Team Colon Cancer Challenge in this year’s NYC Half-Marathon and am in awe of all of our NYC Marathon runners – whose stories we will spotlight in upcoming posts.
That’s it for now. Stay tuned!
The Colon Cancer Foundation (CCF) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to a World Without Colorectal Cancer through awareness, prevention, screening, and research.