My Personal Journey
In its eighth year, the Nike Women’s Marathon ‘A Race to Benefit Leukemia and Lymphoma’ is one of the most sought-after races in the country. Over 20,000 women race together through the streets of San Francisco to raise funds and awareness for the cause. Honestly, I had never attended nor participated in a marathon event before. Upon our arrival to the festivities taking place prior to the actual race, I received a text from DJ Brandi Garcia – who was the official Nike DJ – to meet up with her up on stage. Within this foreign futuristic tent were about ten workout bikes that were all lined up against the tent wall all occupied by Nike fanatics with what I assume were like trainers at 24Hour Fitness, walking around explaining how the darn things work. The smell of success was in the air as I made my way through the sea of people all decked out in their Nike attire. It was definitely more than I expected, but I loved it.
As the day continued, we wandered around, taking everything in. It was as if we were on one of our shopping sprees in the mall, not knowing when to stop the madness. Finally, we surrendered after about two hours and found a place to rest our throbbing feet. I chuckled to myself, “If I can’t even walk around for two hours without my feet hurting, how the heck will I be able to survive the thirteen miles (which is only half the marathon, the full marathon is twenty seven miles)?”
It wasn’t until I sat there and allowed my eyes to focus on the many different faces that were there, that it dawned on me what the real purpose of this event was about. What were their stories? What drove these women to come from different parts of the country and pay to participate in this marathon? Each face told a story, both young and old. Some looked like fashion models with gorgeous hair flowing tucked in ponytails and some looked like survivors of the disease. A woman walked passed where we sat. She was bald yet still very confident in her walk. I started to tear up; she reminded me of my Uncle Tony. He passed away from Lymphoma back in 2006. The event was no longer about the media hype or all the goodies I got to taste – this event became personal. My Uncle Tony was the youngest of my mom’s seven siblings. He was a spiritual giant and everybody around him felt it when he was around. His smile lighted any room and his distinctive laugh was contagious. Perhaps our family was in denial that he would never die, but he did and after five years of his passing, it was at that very moment while sitting amongst all these people that it hit me. I wanted to do something to find a cure to this disease that took my Uncle Tony’s life.
I made a promise to myself that this would be one on my Bucket List of things to do before I set sail off into the sunset. Get ready folks, I’m going to run to be FEARLESS.
-Article Written by: Lu’isa Ha’ungatau