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Never Stop Trying

I was reading Kristin Armstrong's latest blog in Runner's World the other day. She was talking about a running mate that had been recently diagnosed with a stress fracture. She was really trying to get ready to run Boston. She had a special boot that she was training in a pool with, and was doing anything she could to keep training, and be race ready. Kristin, perhaps, had an idea of what she would do in her friends shoes.  But  the question she had for herself was, how does she really know? 

We all handle disappointment and deferred dreams in our own way. The best thing that can come out of it is that, regardless of how we took the news and came around, we learned a life lesson, and maybe even provided a positive example to someone else.

The answer came to Kristin during a family outing to a Thai restaurant. Her fortune cookie had this message: Failure is not defeat until you stop trying. How fitting.

We may attempt the same goal many times......a PR for the half marathon, the successful loss of that excess weight, a successful fight against cancer........ Whatever it is, you are not defeated if you never stop trying! Maybe you'll have to train harder, or run a few half marathons to get that PR. Perhaps you'll have to get more serious about that weight loss. Maybe cancer will come back, but you'll beat it again!

Nothing really matters if you keep on trying.

Over the weekend I was reading some news stories. I came across the story of Greg Hébert, who hosts a show on an Ottawa radio station. He has been diagnosed with terminal cancer in his head and neck. He's presently one round into a possible six rounds of chemotherapy to fight this cancer. The cocktail he's been prescribed is so potent that he has to be hospitalized for four days after each treatment, in case his heart stops or his kidneys fail.

But this inspirational man, with a positive attitude and  loads of determination never stops trying. What's he doing instead? Without skipping a beat, he has become crusader for cancer awareness and research funding. He posts Facebook messages about his fight with cancer, and shoots videos, appears on radio stations and in newspapers to bring light onto the cancer experience, as well as raising money for local clinical research trials.  He wants to bring more clinical research trials to Ottawa; not only for himself, but for other patients as well.

Greg is also a runner. He has organized "Team Greggbear" to run in a local race in Ottawa, the Alterna Do it for Dad Run, on June 19. He did this knowing that he will still be undergoing chemotherapy. His goal? To raise $25,000.

Through my personal battle with cancer, I have met many other patients who were inspiring, and could light up a room. Some of these patients had cases that were worse than mine. The one thing we all had in common was a purpose..big or small. We have plans, we are still on the move, and we keep trying. None of us will be defeated. None of us will fail.

I look forward to having coffee with Greg the next time I'm in Ottawa. I bet he'll have projects lined up for me, as I will for him. We will have stories to share about our fight to end cancer, our fundraising efforts and ideas, about running......and our future.  See you soon, and keep on trying!


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