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"Cancer Couldn't Stop Me"

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A longtime runner, this reader didn't let cancer didn't stand in the way of raising funds and awareness for charity.
A Scary Moment

August 11, 2013, was the scariest day of Carrie Amos' life. Seemingly healthy, with five half-marathons under her belt, the 44-year-old collapsed while brushing her daughter's hair. She found out a couple days and several tests later that she had a cancerous three-centimeter tumor on her kidney. The mother of three kids, ages 9, 7, and 5, Carrie was terrified. "My first thought was, Am I going to die? The next was, What about my family?" she recalls.

Road to Recovery

In December, Carrie had surgery to remove one-third of the affected kidney. "I can't begin to describe the pain I felt afterward," she says. Even so, Carrie was back on her feet just two days after the operation, walking loops around the hospital with her doctor's approval. She gradually increased the distance and, a month later, started jogging on the treadmill. Being active helped her feel stronger, physically and mentally, so she decided to sign up for a race. "I thought a goal would keep me motivated, even when my body ached," Carrie says. She set her sights on the More/FITNESS Half-Marathon last April; she had run it twice in the past and loved the encouraging atmosphere of the women-only event. "Cancer made me realize how much I take for granted, and I didn't want to waste another day postponing my goals," she says.

The Big Day

After 26 of Carrie's friends signed up to do the 13.1-mile run, she heard about Glam-Runner.com, a company that makes tutus for runners to wear on race day. When Carrie contacted the founders, Monika Allen and Tara Baize, to ask about tutus in orange (the color of kidney cancer awareness) for her team, they offered to donate $7 from each skirt purchased to Carrie's hospital, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

The morning of the event, the sea of orange tutus streaming into Central Park brought tears to Carrie's eyes. "It was overwhelming to see all of these women come together for me," she says. Although it wasn't her fastest race, it was her fiercest. "I wasn't running to beat the clock but to show myself that I can overcome anything," Carrie explains.

 

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