Think of how proud Mets fans are of the 1969 and 1986 World Championship teams. That level of pride doesn't even come close to what I feel for Taryn. I have difficulty running around the block without complaining. She's going to run around the entire city of New York! And she's doing it for a fantastic cause. It's impossible not to gush with pride when I think about her selfless act.
Cancer has hit very close to home in my family. My mother is a two-time cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1979 and colon cancer in 1990. I'm happy to report that the year is now 2012, and my mother is still with us and cancer-free! Without all the money raised for cancer research over the years, I might not have been able to enjoy all these years with my mother.
The NYC Marathon has been on my "bucket list" of things to do since I was probably a teenager. I just thought the event was something larger than myself, and I wanted to be part of it. The interest has waned over the years simply because the magnitude of running 26.2 miles just seemed too unrealistic. Until a few things changed. I live a few blocks from the finish line of the marathon, and every year on marathon Sunday, I see all the finishers walking through my neighborhood. And every year, I wonder if I'll do it myself.
My friend Sharon Chapman ran the marathon in 2010, and she was the one who suggested that instead of relying on the lottery to enter the marathon, that I run for charity. Her charity was the Tug McGraw Foundation, which raises funds to assist in quality of life issues for brain cancer survivors and those living with neurological disorders.
To a Mets fan, the very concept of "Ya Gotta Believe" hits home and this was something Tug McGraw believed in until his untimely death, due to brain cancer. It made perfect sense, especially since my hero, Gary Carter, died of the affliction early this year. My friend Kara is also running the marathon for Team McGraw in honor of some family members who had brain cancer, and her father who suffers from a seizure disorder. Team McGraw just made sense for me. If I can run 26.2 miles, and bring awareness to a charity that does great work, then my job is pretty easy!
The Tug McGraw Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, tax-exempt organization designated by the Internal Revenue Code. Their tax identification number is 20-0586256.