I have run this Marathon for the past 6 years to honor an incredible woman, Jan McAllister. Each year I run has been meaningful for various reasons. What has remained constant is I run 26.2 miles to honor a courageous woman. Jan has battled this disease for the past 6 years. I have run for her as a Fighter and Survivor depending on the year. The past 6 years I have felt so honored to give the race medal to Jan, she deserved it, this year will be different. With the deepest sorrow I will run this year to honor her memory. Jan passed away August 22, 2013.
I feel so honored that for the last 11 years I have gotten to know, love and be loved by Jan. Her warm heart, selflessness and overall good nature touched every person she met. She had a way of making you feel so special and cared for.
I met Jan because her daughter Amanda started babysitting for us 11 years ago. Instantly Jan welcomed our family into hers. We started spending time with the McAllisters. Our families became even closer when in 2006 I had my twin sons 3 months pre-mature. I reflect often on that time because I never met anyone who showed such support unconditionally. Jan and Amanda took over our daughters lives who were 7 and 4 at the time. Sean and I were trying to care for our twins who were in the NICU for 2 months. Jan and Amanda stepped in and did not think twice about doing anything we needed. When Jan was first diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2007, it was so painful to not be able to help. Jan was such a proud and private person. She never used the excuse she was sick. She had cancer but she did not let that define her. She always looked her best and put out her best even when she was not feeling great. What drove her every day was Hope. She truly believed she was going to win this battle. She fought so hard and had so much faith.
It is hard to put into words when you have dear friends that you love. Friends that are so intertwined into your lives that they are your family but not related by blood. That is what the McAllisters are to our family. We have spent holiday’s together, vacations, birthdays, kids school events and just every day occurrences. Each of those was special, because Jan had a way of making everything a celebration with great ease. She had a grace and class in all situations.
I look at Jan’s life and have so much admiration. Her marriage was filled with so much deep and true love. I looked to her and Dave as models of what a long, loving relationship would be. They have seen good times and bad and always came out together with a strong bond that allowed them to face anything that came their way.
Amanda and Ryan, Jan’s children are so lucky to have a lifetime of awesome memories because of all the incredible traditions Jan created with her family. Jan also gained another son in her Son In Law Graham. As a Mother, I look forward knowing my daughters are loved and cared for and a have a bright future for a true and happy marriage as Jan knew her daugther has with Graham. Last year Jan got the most beautiful gift a Mother can ask for, a blessing in her Granddaughter Quinn Joy. The time Jan spent with Quinn was always filled with smiles and laughter. Jan’s days were literally filled with pure Joy when with her Granddaughter. Every friend of Jan's I have had the pleasure of meeting are the kindest, sweetest people. Through Jan I have gained friends that were hers that are a reflection of the person she was and I can proudly say the are my friends now too.
Jan told me once she was going through this because she believed she was here to help others. She thought her enduring all that she went through was for a reason. That was her, she was so determined to win, to help others doing it.
She always looked for a reason to believe. She had the strength to go forward and not look back. I am sure there were private moments that she may have wondered why me?- but no one ever knew about any fears or thoughts of not beating this. My hope in running this Marathon every year is to honor someone who I love so much but also so that her daughter, her granddaughter, my daughters and all women do not have to fight this battle. It is not an easy one even know Jan showed such grace and dignity. Jan is Hero to me. She always made me want to be a better person. She brings out the best in all who have been touched by her. I love you Jan and will run with honor and pride for you.
Copyright © 2013. 26.2 With Donna The National Marathon To Finish Breast Cancer