On February 7, 2016, my 8-year-old son Joey gained his wings after a 14-month battle with Glioblastoma Multiforme, a deadly brain cancer. Joey was smart, kind, extremely funny, incredibly athletic, and just the best kid all around. His beautiful blue eyes and bright smile lit up every room, and he was remembered everywhere he went.
Watching your child go through cancer treatment is something that changes your life forever. As a mother I would have traded places with Joey in a heartbeat, and I wished that I could every single day.
I remember being stuck in traffic on our way home after a chemo treatment and Joey being very sick while we sat there. He looked up at me with tears in his eyes and said, “Mommy why is this happening to me?” Sadly, I had no answer for him because really, there isn’t one. And it broke my heart to have to tell him that everything would be all right when clearly, it wasn’t.
Months later, while he was home on hospice care, I promised him that I would do everything I could to help find a cure for this disease—that I didn’t want to see any more families in the position that we were in. On November 3, 2019, I ran the New York City Marathon with the Children’s Brain Tumor Family Foundation in honor of my angel Joey. In honor of Sean, Caitlin, Allie, Juliana, Daryn, Ty, and all the children who have battled brain cancer. It was hard, emotional, rewarding, and so surreal! I had the best supporters of family and friends along the entire route and I am so thankful for each one of them cheering me on and giving me motivation to keep on going.
At Mile 16 I saw my biggest supporters. It was so great to see the smiling faces of my husband, Joe, and my son Robbie. They stood by me every step of the way during training, and they cheered me on there and again at Mile 25. I have the best video of Robbie saying, “Let’s go Mommy! Let’s go Mommy!” that I will cherish forever.
I am proud to say that I raised $12,500! I am in awe of the generosity shown to our mission to help fund pediatric brain cancer research, and I am extremely grateful to every person who donated.
Some days I still can’t believe that I crossed that finish line! As I ran through the streets of New York City, complete strangers were screaming, “Go Joey’s Mom! You got this Joey’s Mom! Joey’s Mom you’re awesome!” It was a feeling that I can’t really describe but hearing his name for the 6.5 hours it took me to finish warmed my heart so much. I love you and I miss you, Joey.
If you are interested in running the NYC Marathon in support of the Children’s Brain Tumor Project, email Brenda@cbtff.org.