As you know, I’ve been training for the LA Marathon since October 2012. One of my motivating factors has been a charity project a friend told me about, Camp Kesem, which provides children whose parents have cancer or who have lost a parent to cancer with an opportunity to participate in summer camp with others who have suffered the same loss.
I am an adult who lost a parent to cancer. Mom’s passing was a shocking reminder of how fragile life is and how truly valuable and precious our moments with loved ones are. The lingering sadness and sense of loss—which comes with each day I can’t call her, each holiday or birthday, each trip back home that no longer feels like home—has only been made bearable by a renewed resolve to savor life, and to live in a way that I would be proud to tell her about if I could call her just one last time.
This is why I run.
Few children of cancer victims probably have the luxuries I’ve been afforded by simple virtue of growing up and enduring my 20s. I had the privilege of developing loving supportive relationships with countless true friends with whom I’m able to freely share the pain of my loss, knowing from experience that I can expect empathy and support.
Children of cancer victims have their greatest sources of empathy and support taken from them. As much as adult family members want to help and offer kindness to these children, no adult can replace a parent. The compassion shared by peers who know and share the pain of this loss, on the other hand, can be the only thing that helps a child to truly understand that he or she is not alone in the world.
I’m running 26.2 miles this Sunday to remember that, even though I’ve suffered a loss, there’s still a long road ahead of me. Show your support for Camp Kesem by making a donation, and these children might be able to see that there’s hope ahead for them, too.