As we begin a new year, it feels like a good time to reflect back on 2013. It was an exciting year filled with many experiences, and from training and competing perspective I had the chance to check off a few of my bucket list races including the London Marathon and the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Las Vegas. Other milestone competitions included the Ironman 70.3 in Racine, Wis., Million Dollar Marathon benefiting Coast to Coast for Cancer and the Hy-Vee 5150 US Championship in Des Moines.
After completing these races, it was time to have surgery on both lungs to remove two metastatic cancer spots (one on each lung), and the results were excellent. I was then back to the maintenance chemotherapy routine of one week on and one week off. I’m very grateful for such positive results and the ability to keep doing what I love and the time I get with my family and friends.
2013 also brought speaking opportunities around the country, from Los Angeles to Phoenix and to Providence and Miami, and it was quite an adventure. I had the privilege of sharing my message that everyone has their cancer and everyone has their dream, and that if you are powered by hope anything is possible.
I was also honored with a number of awards including the WunderGlo Foundation Cancer Warrior Award and the Hellenic Spirit Foundation Athena Award.
Another once in a life time experience was meeting Ellen DeGeneres while attending her show with my sisters and mom, you can read more about that experience here.
While all these experiences were wonderful and exciting, none match the time that I spent with other cancer fighters and survivors, supporting and caring for one another. Unfortunately, the reality is that cancer is life and death, and possibly the most difficult times I experienced this year is hearing of the loss of these friends, my fellow soldiers. They drive me, feeding my passion to never ever give up! These moments give me the energy and the reason to look to 2014 and ask myself, “what more can I do?”
Are you reflecting on 2013? How are you staying motivated and inspired this New Year?