The first time I ran the New York City Marathon (in 2014), I became pregnant just a few weeks into training, and I wasn't sure I'd be able to complete the race. But, by taking it step-by-step, and mile-by-mile, I crossed the finish line while 4 months pregnant—and, when I did, I touched my belly and said, "We did it!"
The following April, my beautiful baby boy, Kerrigan Michael (who we call Kerry), was born as healthy as can be. He was a big, happy cherub of a baby, so it came as a complete shock to us when, at a mere seven months old, he was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a very rare pediatric cancer. This disease, which affects infants and small children, is terminal if not treated properly; it begins in one or both of the eyes, and travels via the optic nerve to the brain.
Kerry was immediately referred to the world's best ocular oncologist, Dr. David Abramson, at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK)—people from all over come to be treated by him. He has revolutionized therapies for retinoblastoma, and vastly improved the prognosis for children like my boy. As unlucky as it was that our son was diagnosed with cancer, I soon realized that we were one of the lucky ones.
Everything changed the day Kerry was diagnosed, and I will never forget the overwhelming weight of emotions we battled—especially during the early days of his treatment. But I felt great comfort knowing that there was no better doctor or hospital to care for our little boy.
One day, while awaiting Kerry's blood count results, one of his nurses was wearing a Fred's Team shirt. I decided right then that I would be running the next New York City Marathon with Fred's Team. While I have been a runner for many years, for the first time, I am running with a higher purpose.