November 9, 2003
A large contingent of folks from AREC participated in the Fila Challenge, which benefits Pancreatic Cancer research.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly and fast-acting cancers. Even in 2012, the survival rate is around 1%. One of my classmates from high school died within 2 months of diagnosis. Heather Stevens, a hasher and AREC runner, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2002, had the Whipple Procedure done (removes parts of many organs), was declared cancer-free, and then in early 2003, it had metastasized to a number of other organs, but even 6 to 8 months later, she was still surviving. Heather would have made a great ultra-runner, because she was so persistent and had great desire to live.
The 2003 version of the Cancer challenge is run on the UCLA campus. It’s a bit of a mess getting out there and getting a parking spot that is somewhat close to the race start. The course is extremely hilly, but a double-loop. Also, it has been raining, so the streets are also slick.
The race is very competitive, so my time of 47:47 isn’t enough for getting a medal (or even getting into the top 10 in my division), but the real reason for running the race is to support Heather and try and find a cure for such a dangerous cancer.