NEW YORK, June 18, 2012—Four weeks ago, I announced that I’d be racing in K-Swiss/Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) gear at the Long Island Gold Coast Triathlon on June 17 and the Philadelphia Marathon on Nov. 18 on behalf of my cousin Laura who was fighting clear cell sarcoma, a rare form of cancer.
My K-Swiss/SU2C gear finally arrived—shoes, a tank and shorts—the day after cancer took Laura’s life. Laura Densmore died in the early hours of June 6, 2012.
The poignancy was not lost on me. I promptly grabbed my black permanent marker and began etching Laura’s name onto the tongues of my new shoes. This way she’ll be with me every step that I take. I stand up to cancer. I stand up for Laura.
Laura fought for her life, for her husband and for her kids, with everything she had. We raised money to help her. But it wasn’t enough.
We all have to stand up to cancer together. Laura was just one of the 11,100 Americans who will die of cancer this week, one of the 577,190 who will die this year, according to the American Cancer Society. That means one person every minute of every day will succumb to this disease in the U.S. alone. Globally, the World Heath Organization says cancer kills nearly 8 million people per year—and those numbers only continue to rise.
As a group, runners raise $650 million annually to fight cancer. Team SU2C is just one of the many ways we can help—along with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training, Team Continuum, and all the other cancer fundraising vehicles for athletes.
With Stand Up To Cancer, every dollar raised by the public goes toward collaborative research. Instead of competing against each other, Stand Up To Cancer asks researchers from different institutions to work together as part of “Dream Teams” that focus on taking advancements in science “from the bench to the bedside.”
Laura lost her race against cancer. But we can still fight for the millions of other people who are running their races against time. I’m starting by spreading the word and wearing K-Swiss/SU2C gear. I’ve got the SU2C Racer Tank by K-Swiss, the SU2C Women’s Running Short by K-Swiss and Kwicky Blade-Light Women’s Shoe by K-Swiss, which I’ve already personalized with Laura’s name. I wore them proudly at the Long Island Gold Coast Triathlon on June 17.
Please join me. Visit the Team SU2C store to view the K-Swiss active wear line—$5 from the sale of each product in the collection goes to Stand Up To Cancer through Dec. 31, 2013.
Or find another cancer charity to run for. Runner’s World put together a comprehensive list of cancer charities that you can donate to or fundraise for through running: here’s the list. Charities are listed by type of cancer, and there are nearly 100 to choose from.
How many more cousins, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, daughters, sons, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends do we have to lose?
Karla Bruning is a veteran journalist and running nerd. She has completed four marathons, two triathlons, trains with the New York Harriers and is a member of New York Road Runners. Follow Karla’s “Notes From a Running Nerd” at RunKarlaRun.com, Facebook and Twitter@KBruning.
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