Running Past Cancer to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Edinburgh Finish Line
On April 14, Rock ‘n’ Roll Edinburgh Half Marathon will welcome 49 participants from Canada and the United States who will run with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training running group, while also raising money and awareness for blood cancer research and patient services. Team In Training offers runners and walkers professional training, support, travel and accommodations for the event in exchange for fundraising efforts, which will help make a difference in the lives of people living with blood cancers. On the team is a cancer survivor from Richmond, British Columbia.
Cancer survivors share a peace that few other people know. They enjoy the many ordinary moments that most people ignore. Different things are important to them now.
Catch up with Laura Paul after a training run along the sea wall in Vancouver, and you can hear her renewed appreciation for the extra time she’s been given.
“It’s such a beautiful route to run,” she said. “There are people on their boats on the water, and runners, walkers, and bikers on the path – on such a clear day I can see from the ocean to the mountains. After a long winter, it’s spectacular.”
Paul is training for her next half-marathon, this time in Edinburgh, Scotland, the land of her heritage. The race falls near her five year anniversary of cancer survival – the point at which cancer patients can say they’re cured – but it’s also a reminder of how far she has come.
“I remember a run in April 2007, just before my diagnosis. I found myself slowing down and I noticed the Team In Training runners in their purple jerseys, all having a good time as they raised money to cure blood cancers by supporting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It occurred to me then that my swollen lymph glands and my recent weight loss were indications of a blood cancer. In a few days, my doctor found an 11cm tumor in my chest, and began treatment for Hodgkins lymphoma. She wondered why I was never short of breath.”
“As I went through the next months of chemotherapy treatment, I promised myself that if I could ever run again, I’d run for a reason. My teenage son, Kaelan, raised my hopes (and his) that we’d return to normal by asking his bald, middle-aged mom to run with him one day. It was time to put on my runners again. We turned a corner that day, and have never looked back.”
On April 14th, Laura Paul will complete the Rock ‘n’ Roll Edinburgh half-marathon, her family cheering from the sidelines. Paul joined the purple-jerseyed Team In Training group a few years ago to celebrate her return to good health and begin to give back. She and her team from Canada and the U.S. have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for cancer research and patient services programs, and they dedicate their run to patients facing treatment today.
“At one time, my long-distance runs were all about me,” Paul said. “I was thrilled and amazed that I could run again. Now, other people’s lives inspire me to go on.” She dedicates her run to her friend, Kristen, who died of Hodgkins lymphoma recently, and to her father, who died before seeing his native Scotland.
Like someone who counts her blessings after a scare, Paul thrives on the hard work of training for the half-marathon. “I sure wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” she said. “I’m the lucky one.”