Running for joy

This year, we ran the 35th annual Sole Burner 5k in gratitude for sunny days, bouncy shoes, rolling hills and sweet family members.

Mostly, though, we ran in thanksgiving for the amazing strides events like this have brought. Thank you to the American Cancer Society for every dollar it directs to the prevention and treatment of cancer.

I like to think the friends I’ve lost to cancer — fierce battlers all — have not fought in vain, that each regimen they suffered brought about better treatments for those who followed until, one by one, we eliminate these insidious diseases.

Though they’re still sobering, cancer statistics prove we’re on our way. For instance, breast cancer incidence rates in the U.S. began decreasing in the year 2000, after increasing for the previous two decades. Even better, the five-year survival rate for those diagnosed with breast cancer has increased from 75.2% in 1975 to 91.1% in 2013, according to the National Cancer Institute’s SEER statistics.

The five-year survival rate for all cancers has increased from 48.9% in 1973 to 69.2% in 2013. I’m no statistician, but I like this trend.

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of running with my daughter Katherine and my 10-year old niece Erin, (who chopped 16 minutes off her PR, thank you very much). In a couple of weeks, we three, along with several other family members, will be taking part in Relay For Life, another fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

Events like these serve multiple purposes: they allow teams to honor loved ones, they encourage fresh air and exercise, and they raise much-needed funds for treatment and research.

We’re grateful to support the American Cancer Society and, with our support, we hope one day to render this worthy organization obsolete.

How great would it be to eliminate cancer in my 10-year old niece’s lifetime?
In the meantime, we were happy to join more than 5,000 people on a sunny Saturday in Appleton to support the cause.

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