Congratulations to all of the runners in the Inaugural Maryland Half Marathon! See the race results for the event, which took place starting at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, Maryland, on Sunday, May 31, 2009.
100% of all net proceeds from the race will directly benefit The University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center (UMGCC). Fundraising is open through June 30, 2009.
The Maryland Half Marathon drew 1,800 runners for its first year, many of whom have been personally touched by cancer. Some are cancer survivors. Others ran to honor the memory of a family member or friend. Each runner has a personal story to share. Here are a few of them:
Tamara Karwacki: I am running my first half marathon (I have not previously participated in a race longer than 5 miles) in memory of my father, John Lebedevitch, who passed away at the age of 54 from Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma, a rare form of head & neck cancer. I love and miss you, Dad! I also run in celebration of my mother Susan, who is a 10-year survivor of breast cancer, and in honor/memory of so many dear friends, family members, colleagues and individuals whom I don't know, who have faced or are facing this battle today. May each of you triumph! May we be able to find a cure for this insidious disease in my lifetime. What a better place this world would be if we did!! Please help me reach my goal of raising $1,000 or more for the UMGCC!! Thank you for your support! (Make a donation on Tamara's behalf.)
Megan Foard: Cancer is a disease that has touched every American's life in some way or another. Whether it was a distant relative or a friend of a friend, everyone knows the danger of the disease. I have lost several dear members of my family to cancer and any donations to a first-rate hospital such as University of Maryland will help in the research and trials to combat this disease. I look forward to lacing up my running shoes to run for the cause. (Make a donation on Megan's behalf.)
Renee O’Brey: It’s rare to find a friend who will stand by you through the ups and downs, even when she's dealing with her own roller coaster ride through life. I'm lucky enough to have a few, but one who continues to inspire and comfort me is my friend Kim. In 2005, while in the midst of planning her wedding, her father, Daniel Jones, was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. After several months of treatment at the University of Maryland Cancer Center (which included a bedside ceremony, so he wouldn't miss his daughter's wedding) Mr. Jones lost his battle with cancer. Not even a year later, the same week my son was born, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a blood cancer. Not only was Kim a shoulder for me to cry on, she helped organize a dinner club for the worst months of my chemo, took me shopping for wigs and scarves when my hair fell out, NEVER forgot a birthday, anniversary, minor holiday, or any other reason to send a card, and helped me laugh when I was tired of crying. She was, and continues to be, a true friend. I can't even begin to thank her for all she's done, or explain to her that I don't know how I'd have made it through 2006 without her. But I can celebrate my health, and my ability to get out and run, and I can do so in honor of her father, Dan Jones. Thanks, Mr. Jones, for helping to raise such a great friend. (Make a donation on Renee's behalf.)
Dustielynn White: I have been compelled to enter such a demanding physical and mentally challenging half marathon in honor of my grandmother, Nancy Freyer; my great grandmother, Juanita Barr; and several of my aunts. These courageous people ventured into their most demanding marathon, not by choice as I have, but out of the need to survive their cancer. My great grandmother lost her battle with brain cancer. I have pictures of myself at a very young age of three climbing into her hospital bed and lying next to her, maybe too young to truly understand the illness that had stricken her, but somehow knowing she needed comforting. I was older as I lost several of my aunts to breast cancer and watched my grandmother be stricken with lung cancer. I witnessed their pain, struggle and courage as they confronted the fight of, and for, their lives. In memory of my departed but not forgotten family members and anyone currently fighting cancer, I hope to increase cancer awareness and pledge to raise money by running this Half Marathon. Thanks for visiting my story and please make a difference and donate. (Make a donation on Dustielynn's behalf.)