Today I ran for Janine…and Mark, her husband. Though my efforts here are geared towards raising awareness for pediatric illnesses, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to honor Janine for the amazing woman and mother that she is.
Grateful to be on the trail this morning, a gorgeous day, perfect for a run. No wind, the sun was shining, the water was a mirror to the mountains. It was so breathtaking that three women running passed me actually stopped me to make sure I took a minute to look at the beautiful landscape. Considering it’s Colorado, there may have been something in the air, but I believe that we were all indulging in a natural high.
About a mile into my run, my knee started to act up, I’ve been having some ITB issues (Iliotibial Band), pretty common stuff. I’ve been stretching and using a foam roller and taking it a bit easy this week. So today when everything seemed perfect for a run I was kind of ticked off that my knee decided it wasn’t so perfect. Before I could get too riled up, I thought to myself, let it go, ‘just breathe’.
The clash between this gorgeous day and my nagging knee made me think of Janine, in the best of ways. I worked with her husband Mark years ago. He is always friendly, cracking jokes, and in good spirits. Recently, after he made a generous donation to my fundraising efforts for Type 1 Diabetes. I thanked him for his generosity and for his spirit. Mark has MS, and though his health and body have been burdened, his heart remains the same, big and caring. My reference to his courage and spirit quickly led to his response of, “Sweet of you to say, but the real hero here is Janine”.
I knew Janine to be a gentle, loving and kind person. The type of person you could ask for a hug when you needed one. I had known her to be ill at one time, but I never knew the depth of her challenges until Mark shared them with me. His readiness to share her story was clearly out of pride and gratitude, proud of how strong and amazing his wife is and grateful that she is in his life.
At the age of 17, she was read her last rites after a near fatal car accident. She has survived four types of cancer, sarcoma (’92), skin (’95), lung (’09), and Hodgkins (’01). In 2009 just before starting her chemotherapy she was rushed to a nearby medical center after suffering a stroke, which was followed by weeks of therapy.
On the day that I was exchanging messages with Mark, they were celebrating the 10 year anniversary of her falling from the roof and being air lifted to the hospital. Six years ago from that day she had bypass surgery to get blood flow to her legs. She has also endured surgery for a hernia in which they had to put in a mesh. More recently in August of 2011 she took a serious fall breaking her femur, that was followed by 59 days of therapy.
Mark and Janine have built a wonderful relationship and raised three beautiful children while enjoying life to the fullest. So today when my little ole’ knee was acting crabby I just had to take a minute, surrender myself to the moment and breathe. As I looked at the mountains I had wished that Mark and Janine could see such beauty today, but truly, they have experienced this beauty every day.
Mark and Janine last year at a benefit in their honor.
The next time you lace up, take a little bit of Janine’s spirit with you, I’m sure she will help you go the distance.
There are many great opportunities to help support and raise funds for Cancer and MS Research, please check out these links to find an event near you. If you know of a great event that you have participated in that supports either Cancer or MS please let me know and I would be happy to share the event information, thank you!