Mom with stage 4 cancer runs fundraising marathon in Victoria
VICTORIA -- Lise and Grace are jogging together (at a safe distance apart) against the backdrop of the mountains and ocean along Dallas Road.
The friends began running to exercise — but since being cooped-up during the COVID-19 pandemic — they’ve kept running to socialize.
“We catch up on each other’s weeks and let it all out!” Lise smiles.
“We get that fresh air and adrenaline,” Grace says.
“I think we really look forward to [all] that,” Lise adds.
But the other day, debriefing about their work and families turned to considering the unknown.
“She said, ‘Let’s run a marathon!’” Grace recalls.
“I’ve never run a marathon before!” Lise laughs. “So I really don’t know what I’m getting myself into!”
But what Lise did know was, her body was feeling different since the stage 4 cancer had spread from her heart and lungs to her brain.
“Every time there’s a progression, it’s a big blow,” Lise says.
“It’s disheartening and crushing and devastating.”
It’s when she thinks about her young children that the news hits her the hardest. Even more than the moments she’ll miss seeing when she’s gone — the moments she won’t be able to make better because of it are what worry her most.
“It’s that fear,” Lise says fighting back tears. “That pain of hurting the people you love.”
In those moments, Lise tries to focus on what she can do, rather than what she can’t.
“Why not try to do a marathon?” Lise says. “Because if we don’t do it now, I many never have a chance.”
So Lise and Grace will do just that.
Although the friends signed up for the GoodLife Marathon in the fall, they decided they shouldn’t wait and decided to do their own 42-kilometre run today.
They are running around Elk and Beaver Lake’s 10-K trail more than 4 times — striving to raise $1,000 per kilometre for the Callanish Society — which has helped Lise learn to keep living despite the terminal disease.
Donations are being accepted — under Lise’s name — through the charity’s website, callanish.org, or through Canada Helps online here.
“[The Callanish Society] taught me to really be present in my life,” Lise explains. “And really appreciate the things I have in my life while I have them.”
So, Lise and Grace will relish the run — every gruelling step, every gratifying laugh, every unburdening tear.
“A marathon isn’t a joke at the best of times,” Grace says. “I think this will be a triumph of Lise’s spirit.”
And an inspiration — Lise hopes — for her family and friends to never stop living, loving, and giving back.