In the winter of 2005, I was diagnosed with brain cancer. I was scared and thought my life would never be the same again. I had my first surgery in the spring of that year and was determined to not let my illness limit what I could do in the future. I would fight to regain my abilities and to push my boundaries, if only to say I am still here and fighting. Having run several marathons before my diagnosis, I slowly learned to walk and run again and was able to complete the Marine Corp Marathon six months later in the fall. Over the last three years, I had the wonderful opportunity to run the Boston Marathon and was able to re-qualify (and set a PR) for Boston in my Father's hometown of Scranton, PA at the Steamtown Marathon this fall and have registered for the Boston Marathon in 2012. Though qualifying for and running the Boston Marathon has been extremely difficult and trying, the sense of accomplishment and expanding my boundaries was helped by the confidence I gained when I finished my first Eagleman 70.3 triathlon and the Lake Placid Ironman.
In 2012, I realized a life-long dream by winning an opportunity to compete in the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. It was an amazing experience that I was able to share with my family and friends as I crossed the finish line with a flag of "hope" with the names of the many children I have met afflicted with brain cancer written across the front. To read more about my experience on the "Ironman World Championship" tab.
When Mercedes Albert first began walking it was merely a form of exercise for her physical health. But as her own physical health improved, that of her younger sister, Maria Mesa, worsened.
Mesa was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, a rare form of brain cancer, December 17, 2010.
“They gave her one year with treatment, and six months without. She was so strong, so faithful, that she lasted three years and seven months,” Albert said.
Mesa was 60 when she passed, and Albert has dedicated her walking to a new purpose: joining 5K walks for cancer.
Most recently Albert was the team captain of a walk in West Palm Beach organized by Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure, a nonprofit organization founded by a man who had the same type of cancer as her sister.
Albert’s team name was “I Did It My Way—In Loving Memory of Maria Mesa,” and the team raised $16,825 for cancer research.
On May 3, Albert will be joining Team BT in the Race for Hope in Washington, D.C. The team captain, BethAnn Telford, has been a brain cancer survivor for 10 years.
3000 Miles to a Cure’s mission is to end brain cancer by raising funds for research, extending an open invitation to unite in hope and action for the cure. In October 2015, BethAnn Telford and Maria Parker are teaming up and taking on the grueling Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim challenge on foot and equipped with Google Glass to raise money for brain cancer research.
On April 20th of this year, I will be running my fourth Boston Marathon in honor of a beautiful little girl who is six years old and battling brain cancer from Center Moriches, New York (Suffolk County). Her name is Morgan Leary and she was suddenly and unexpectedly diagnosed with a PNET brain tumor (Primitive Neuroectodermal Tumor) on August 15th of last year. Unfortunately, her tumor is aggressive and she has undergone several brain surgeries to remove as much of the tumor as possible. She is also currently undergoing chemotherapy and radiation in the hopes of controlling her terrible disease.