Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Spirit of Champions

This past Friday, The Oncology Patient and Family Resource Center at The UNC Cancer Hospital's Lineberger Comprehensive Care Center held an Open House for it's patients and donors. I was invited to join my most wonderful training partner Karla and her husband Frank because of the fundraising runs that I did in her honor in 2006.
I had made some donations after the Relay for Life to the American Cancer Society and to the Susan G. Komen Foundation after the Race for the Cure. When I did the 24 hour run at Hinson Lake, I asked Karla where she would prefer for the funds to go and it was her choice to make the donation to UNC where she received her chemo-therapy. On Friday the results of that effort made it's public debut. The proceeds I received from many of you, my family and friends was used to purchase a library collection which they have named " The Spirit of Champions" A Library Collection in Honor of Karla Werner.
Karla certainly displayed that Spirit, refusing to give up and continue to pursue her dreams while going through her surgery, chemo and radiation. Running the Boston Marathon with her three weeks after starting her chemo started and just 6 weeks after surgery will always be among the most special days of my life. And then to follow that up with the OBX Marathon in the midst of radiation treatment. I can only wish I had that kind of toughness and determination.
I'm not sure if you can read the plaque, but there is a business card just like it in the front cover of each book. It is hoped that the collection will inspire others going through cancer treatment to start or maintain a healthy lifestyle and outlook during and after their recovery.
It has been almost exactly a year now since Karla finished her radiation treatments and she gets stronger every time we run together. It is just a short matter of time before she is setting new PR's.


Bedrock said...

This is great Joey. It must be very rewarding to see your fundraising efforts pay off in such a great way. Glad your friend Karla is doing so well.


Matt said...


It's a wonderful thing to be able use running as a vehicle to help others.

Lesley Looper said...

Although I haven't met you or Karla, I've enjoyed reading the inspirational posts about your efforts on and off the road.