Archive for October, 2012

Missing you

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on October 31, 2012 by runmyssierun

I don’t know who to go to for advice now when things get tough.

my prior entries- if you missed them

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 28, 2012 by runmyssierun

January 27, 2012

I am not a runner. I was never in organized competitive sports growing up. I’m not the athletic type at all. Competitive yes. Athletic nope! But something wild and crazy triggered me in September of 2011. I was in the kitchen of the apartment that was donated to my mother and my aunt Sissy by the Hospitality Apartments just a few blocks away from MD Anderson and felt completely helpless. My mother had just had nine tumors removed from her brain the day before and I was on my way to feed Sissy her breakfast because she could no longer control her hand movement. I kept thinking “what can I do?”

I’m not smart enough to become a doctor or a scientist and create a cure for them. I’m not rich enough to pay a doctor or a scientist to create a cure for them. And I certainly can’t just sit here and do absolutely nothing!!!

I remembered Berenice talk about TNT at a POW meeting the year before and then reflected back to a picture posted by Paige York who had both Mom and Sissy’s names on her TNT jersey and I think that was the moment when I became completely certifiable. 

Running marathons have been THE MOST successful way an average joe blow like me can bring about awareness and funds to victims of cancer and their families. I’M GOING TO RUN THEN! As crazy as it sounds, it is all I can do that will inspire change, awareness, funds for those who NEED it and possibly and most importantly to me… it could possibly fund a brilliant cure so that YOUR family will not have to endure what mine has too many times already.

Sissy lost her battle with cancer just two weeks after that day in the kitchen I spoke about in the above paragraph. Not long before that she purchased a print from Buckees that talked about my pledge. It states: Life is not a race – but indeed a journey.

February 4, 2012

Today was my first group practice for Team in Training and boy oh boy was it WOW! It was overflowing with inspiration, perspiration, education, fitness and funding raising advice, and a set of highly caffeinated cheerleaders that seemed to pop up out of the bushes when you least expected… and of course, only when I was completely out of breath!!!

But something that shocked me to my core was how this group of strangers that sleepily dragged themselves in early to meet for practice were entirely united just two hours later with the same destined goal. I am now extremely confident that Sissy was so right about this not being a race but a journey for me. I hope you travel it with me.

As I reflect on where my family was just one year ago, I cherish the time and the ability to wait hours upon hours in the various waiting rooms at MD Anderson. I must have finished hundreds of puzzles while Momma read endless libraries of books and Sissy snuck a nap in anywhere she could (see picture here).

Sissy’s battle with leukemia lasted just over two years. She was retired and on a limited income. Can you imagine the financial stress that this places on cancer patients? I don’t wish this upon anyone!

Your donation – whether it be $10, $100, or $1000 – can help.

$500 of your donations can pay for a much needed blood chromosome analysis

$350 pays for a daily salary for a staffed medical researcher

$200 pays for a blood transfusion <– this helped prolong Sissy’s life many times!

$100 pays for a monthly blood analysis

$75 pays for the screening of a Bone Marrow Donor (hey, have you volunteered to become a bone marrow donor? Go on! Get to it!)

$54 pays for one week of low grade chemotherapy

$32 pays for a prescription of anti-nausea medicine

All donations over $5 are Tax Deductible

Update: A few weeks ago, I presented a personal option for everyone who donated $10, I would dedicate my run to them with their honoree’s name on my jersey. As you can now see, I am just $5 short of ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS. That’s a lot of names.

It’s shocking to people when they see all the names on my shirt and all of a sudden it hits them… how many people around YOU have been hit and hurt by cancer. SO BRING IT ON.

Keep the $10 donations coming!!! Send me your names. If I need to, I’ll create a 10 foot train to wear that is big enough to feature everyone’s names during my run so that people can begin to understand how enormous this situation really is.


February 12, 2012

I was so scared that the world would think I’m completely bonkers for running a marathon for Sissy and Rodney’s honor and memory… until my two sons showed me in their own ways how they could support and bring about awareness for the cause so dear to our hearts. So, while they are too young to participate in TnT with me, they made it quite clear that they got me.

My oldest son Michael shaved his head for Grandma.

Grandma Mimi’s hair loss is now permanent.

Michael and Momma

Michael qualified for his High School regional swim team championships and the night before the event, the Seniors had a bit of fun dying their hair in school colors and shaving in all these crazy patterns. I had a hissy fit when I saw my son at the end of the night with a head that looked like he had mange. But he calmly took me down a notch and said not to worry, that he had other plans. When we went home, he took the razor and buzzed the remaining patches off, quickly took a shower and instructed me to take a picture of him and text it to Grandma.

My youngest son runs 5ks with me for training

My youngest son now goes around telling everyone he knows that “running saves lives” so he is already preparing and helping Mom prepare for the big race to save a life. He’s been watching Mommy run for the last few months and has come to understand how important this is. I hope that I’ve instilled in him a passion for a healthy lifestyle and more importantly how he can give back to a community in need in a healthy way for everyone.

Oh… by the way… HAVE YOU DONATED YET? Come on now. It’s that little button on the right side of the screen here. You see it. Just click it and give. Give as much as you can for now. Keep us in your prayers daily. Cheer me on every chance you get.

This is tougher than I ever imagined. I need you. She needs me. They need me to finish.

February 20, 2012

On February 19, 2012, I ran my first half marathon in Austin. I purposely picked this day, this race and this cause to help support my big race and the big picture.

February 19 was my baby brother’s birthday. He passed away on April 11 of last year. This was his first birthday without him being here with me. Those who know me know how very close we were. I’m not going to lie. It was a tough day physically and emotionally.

I stood there on the pavement at 6:50 a.m. in 47 degrees bouncing up and down trying to warm up. I snapped a few shots for my memory book and took a look at all the other jerseys around me. Everyone had a story. Everyone had a name, a photo of the person they were running for. And then everyone took their first step forward. I hit start on my Nike + GPS and the Foo Fighters “Hero” began to play. Non-stop tears for 13.1 miles.

I heard cheers all along the way. Strangers were calling out my name and encouraging me to keep going. The volunteers were outstanding! They handed me water, gatorade, vaseline and yes, after they saw my tears… boxes of KLEENEX!!! For miles onto the edge of the horizon, all I saw were bright colored jerseys of runners. Thousands of runners all taking steps towards a cause. They all shared my passion. We were all together chasing cancer out of our world.

And just as I tried to convince myself that it was ok for me to take a break and walk a bit, I saw a crowd just up the hill. I ran closer to see what was going on. It was a girl in a wheel chair. She had no legs. I immediately thought of an old friend of mine who had pushed someone close to her up the Causeway at South Padre Island’s 10k and wanted to do the same for her and then I saw the sign she posted on the back of her wheelchair.

Nora at the Causeway Run in January 2012

The sign said “Do not push me!” She wanted to do this herself. I took this picture with my phone and didn’t come out very well but you can probably see how everyone around her is facing her. We were all telling her not to give up. Keep pushing. And then the most amazing thing happened.

Lance Armstrong’s cyclists stayed by her side the whole time. We all cheered her on!

A group of the people cheering went up a few feet and got chalk. They wrote on the street in big bold letters: DEFY

That message was written for her initially. But the rest of us took it all to heart. And pushed us all further than we ever expected.

Defy the odds with me.

Have you donated?

February 24, 2012

Sometimes pictures really do say a thousand words.

Race photographers caught me crying as I crossed the finish line listening to Donny’s voicemail on my iPod

I posted this on Facebook and at the moment of authoring this blog at this very moment, I have over 300 likes and endless comments with so many beautiful feelings attached.

It is captioned: “Race photographers caught me crying as I crossed the finish line listening to Donny’s voicemail on my iPod”

Austin’s LiveSTRONG Marathon was my very first Half Marathon. It was held on February 19th, 2012. It was Donny’s Birthday. He died just 10 months ago. This was his first birthday without him being here with me.

I’d like to amend my goal now.

I hope not only to raise money for a cure but I also hope that no one ever has to feel the pain that my family has had to endure.

Please help by donating, sharing my stories and encouraging others to help.

Pass it on.

February 28, 2012

And no, this isn’t even half of the people that are close to me, that work with me, that are related to me, that are friends with me, that I love, adore and admire that have been hit by cancer. (7 pictured above are still living and 5 are cancer free)

I need fundraisers. I need help fundraising. I have now become so busy training for my 26 mile run that it’s finally dawned on me that I need support from people who know already how to organize fund raising activities.

If you teach Zumba classes, ask me how you can help with hosting a zumbathon for this cause.

If you manage a restaurant, ask if you can help by offering special discounts on an entree or service and have that discounted $$ go to the cause.

If you own a social magazine, ask if you can run a story about my crazy journey for additional publicity.

If you have $5…ask me how you can still have it tax deductible if you donate it to me for this run.

Wait… why are you still asking? Click to donate.

Come on … the buttons right there on the right side of your monitor!

March 5, 2012

In my eyes, she is the most beautiful woman in the world.

She is my role model.

She is my sister in Delta Zeta Sorority. (She was the CHARTER MEMBER!)

She was the BEST pageant mom… EVER!

She is my hero.

The world would be a better place if everyone had moms like mine.

Momma first noticed something odd during our family summer vacation July 4th, 2006, at South Padre Island. She had her first BIG surgery on December 12 (on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe) at MD Anderson. See, she was asymptomatic so by this time she was already at Stage IV. Much of her organs had to be removed, including her colon. So, when she came to from the anesthesia, the nurses allowed myself and my father to be by her side. She groggily opened up her eyes with a bittersweet emotion. I could tell she was thankful to have made it alive through the surgery but knew her life was changed forever. She looked at us almost teary eyed and in a gentle whisper asked

“Did they do it? Did they take my colon out?”

My father at that point gathered up all the strength he could and stoically said

“Yes Meem. They took your colon out. But I will ALWAYS be your asshole.”

I know I talk a lot about how strong my mother is. And she is! But let us also remember how strong the caregivers must be, too.

This is my personal favorite picture of my parents.

That was six and a half years ago… And neither have given up.

Click the link to see the video of her life when she received the City of Edinburg’s Woman of the Year award.  (update – I have since removed that video)

And then, of course, donate.

March 13, 2012

I feel the support every where I go now. Strangers have come up to me and shared their stories of heart ache and grief, running advice and donations. And when people can’t give financially, they give of their hearts and figure out some grand way to help spread the word about my cause in hopes that others can give, others can join, others can know.

As a result, my cause made the front page on “The Big Story” of Texas Border Business

Defy the odds with me. Please donate by clicking on the button you see there on the right hand side of the screen or make a check payable to LLS, seal it securely in an envelope and drop it off at the Entravision Studios (Univision 48, Fox2 and KVLY) on Jackson and Hackberry in McAllen/Pharr. Make sure to have BOTH MY name and YOUR name printed on the outside of the envelope and your phone number inside so I can call you back to send you your receipt.

March 21, 2012

quit (verb) – to stop trying, struggling, or the like; accept or acknowledge defeat.

These past two weeks were emotionally difficult for me. I saw my usually vivacious, super-power infused mother weak, frail and suffering. What ever was in this last treatment knocked everything out of her. I could get my thumb and touch it with my index finger and her leg could fit right through it. Her hair has now fallen off and her normally wrinkle free olive skin has an odd grayish/yellow tint to it.

I was worried – really worried – for the first time ever. So I spent the weekend with her and then called her main doctor at MD Anderson. After questioning me about her symptoms, we agreed that it was best for her to return to Houston for a week so he could monitor her better under medical staff care. I was not comforted by his concern.

She grabbed my hand and squeezed it with all her might and looked me straight in the eyes and said “I’m worried about Myssie. She has so much on her plate right now. Can you keep an eye on her and help out?”

We had been warned that her memory functions may be lost as a result of her last radiation treatment. I don’t know who she thought I was at the time but I was glad that I had the strength and courage not to have the shock and sadness show in my reaction to her as I replied with “I will Momma, I will. Don’t you worry. I’ll take good care of her.”

That was Sunday about noon time. They drove to MD Anderson on Sunday afternoon and met with her doctor on Monday morning.

I was sitting at my desk working on a proposal for a client of mine just shortly before lunch. I had a ton of meetings scheduled and needed tons more to make my quota. The stress was insane. That’s when I got the phone call from Dad.

“Myssie, can you talk?”

“Yes Daddy. What did the doctor say?”

“It’s not good. There’s nothing more that they can do. We’re coming home…. right now. They’ve released her to hospice. We’ll be home about 6:30.”

There must have been at least a year of silence after that. I was crushed.


I was asked just days ago by my Team in Training coach why I was running. Why I was putting my body through this? What was I doing this for?

As silly as it may sound, part of me was hoping that God would see how hard I was trying. That He would see that I was willing to take the pain away from her and volunteer it onto me in order to not have her suffer any more. I wanted that pain and suffering to quit. I wanted cancer to quit. Because I wasn’t going to allow myself to quit. I would never quit.

Well, that was until I heard those words from my dad.

I did want to quit. I wanted so badly to throw in the towel and give up. Why should I run? Really, why should I? It’s not like running a marathon will produce a cure for my mom as I cross the finish line. What am I doing? I should just quit.

I thought long and hard about how to tell friends and family about the news. I wanted to be angry and blame everything from preservatives to toxic land for her suffering. But I am so glad I didn’t. I took a deep breath and took a step back and told myself now is how I must example the way she brought me up.

The following is what I posted to friends and family on my facebook wall:

Science and medicine has done all that it possibly can. Momma has shown incredible strength and faith through these tough 6-plus years. The choice to discontinue treatment does not mean that she has quit. It means that she is strong enough to accept God’s will and live the remainder of her life with her family and friends at home instead of hotel rooms and hospitals. I am so very proud of her bravery, so very thankful to her miraculous team of doctors and so very grateful for everyone’s prayers, kind gestures and help. Keep them coming.

See, my mother is not a quitter. Cancer will likely beat her body. But it won’t beat her. She’ll never quit. Her legacy will live on and continue to teach us, to love us and to give unto others. She never quit. And neither will I.

March 22, 2012


At a very young age, I was taught this amusing law of nature. That which goes up must come down. And this doesn’t apply to just gravity. It applies to everything in my life.

With all the great, fabulous, wonderful things, people and events in my life, there were probably just as many awful, horrific, agonizing things, people and events in my life.

After the last post, the reaction that I received was that of intense love and support but I also noticed something that Sissy and I had talked about before. The last thing she wanted was pity. She didn’t want people feeling sorry for her. While I understand the emotion of sorrow is genuine from all who expressed it, I feel I also need to share the brighter side of these last two weeks as well.

Last Wednesday, the Team in Training group racing in the inaugural Austin 10/20 met for dinner at Tony Roma’s to make sure all our paperwork was in order. I picked out my jersey and confirmed my hotel arrangements and sat at a table by the exit door alone because I knew I had to go home as quickly as possible or hubby would get upset. So just as I gathered all my belongings and stood up to leave, a beautiful young girl and her baby and husband approached me.

She introduced herself and I completely misunderstood her. I heard everything she was telling me but it didn’t click until she said “Tia Luz”. The world came to a stand still.

You see, my race this April is being dedicated to Sissy. Sissy is my aunt. She was adopted into my mother’s family when Sissy was a teenager. She had been shuffled from home to home of family members, friends and foster families since her mother had passed away when she was just an infant. There was a bit of an age gap between my mother and Sissy but they were inseparable. Sissy was a nickname that was given to her because their youngest brother (also adopted) couldn’t pronounce the “L” in Lucy. Lucy was her name. Her birth name was Luz Maria.

Now go back a re-read the last two paragraphs.

That beautiful girl that was introducing herself to me was Sissy’s biological niece. Seems that this whole time I had been training and running with Team in Training, I was side by side with a cousin I never knew I had. Had it not been for this crazy idea of running a marathon, I would never have been able to connect. Coincidence? I think not.

Sissy knew what she was doing when she bought that framed print of the tree and left for me to wonder why. Call me crazy but I do believe Sissy is still around me and pushed me to join this group and onto this amazing journey of discovery.

And something tells me… this is just the beginning of this grand journey I have ahead of me

And because I have reached MY goal, I’d like to post a link to HER fundraising page and begin supporting her. Both of the race bibs we will be wearing during the race will have Sissy’s name on it… but of course, her’s will say “Tia Luz”.

Donate to her here:

May 15, 2012

We should all have that one person in our lives that is always there for us no matter what – the good the bad and the ugly. That person who showed up to the family Christmas dinner with the Santa hat on his head but wasn’t related to you and it didn’t ever really matter. That person who you could say anything to and they would never judge and figured out how to make light of the whole situation. That person who took you to the Homecoming dance because your boyfriend *forgot* that he had asked someone else to the dance…. ok, TMI? Who cares… that’s who Rodney was for me. And I always felt so guilty for placing the mum he got me in the freezer. How was I to know????

Rodney and Me – Homecoming 1986

Rodney Ryan Perez was – in my eyes – the perfect friend. He made everyone laugh. He made everyone feel special. He made everyone feel loved.

Rodney’s dream was to be a star. I’m not sure which he liked more: the theatre, the silver screen or the boob tube. What I do know is that if he had had the chance, he would have mastered all three. To this day, I have never met a more serious Trekkie.

Spring Break 1988 with the police

We were “comadres” from the get-go. From Tennis with Mrs. Pease to Drama with Mr. Hinojosa. In high school, a pivotal molding point of adolescence, we went through every adventure together. One-Act plays, Spring Break, Senior skip day, Miss Edinburg (and the flat on the float during Borderfest parade!), Graduation, kidnapping Gianna on her birthday and getting Winter Texans can sing Happy Birthday to her at the all you can eat breakfast buffet at Shoneys… and so much more! We took turns being the responsible one with each other which allowed for goofiness to ensue with the trust that all would end well.

Spring Break balcony with the “family”

All but one adventure ended well.

I remember I had just talked to him at “the circle” that one clear beautiful morning after class at UTPA. He went one direction and I went the other since he had parked at the business building and my car was by the student union. He seemed fine. He was his regular happy go lucky self. I felt the wind knocked out of me when I heard he had collapsed in the parking lot that day.

He fought with a smile on his face for five years after that. I remember him choking up on the phone when he told me that bone marrow surgery may be his only option and that his sister may be a match for him. He was more scared for her than he was for himself.

When he was at MD Anderson, he’d call me during the Dallas Cowboys games and do his famous “yyyyeeeeeaaaaaaahhhhhhhh” on the phone for me. Those of you who know him can probably read that with his voice in your head. I know I still do.

So when it was half time and I still hadn’t received his call, I called his hospital room. His mother answered and said he couldn’t come to the phone. He was too sick.

I remember dumping out all the change from my purse, calculating all the available credit from all my credit cards and being so angry that I couldn’t afford to fly up there to be by him. It wasn’t because I thought he needed me there for him. It was because I needed him to be by me.

Rodney died shortly before my wedding. There was an empty space in the groomsmen line for him. I know in my heart that he wouldn’t have missed being right by me on that special day.

Now it’s time to give this blog over to YOU. I’ve written about all I have seen and all I have felt as cancer took those whom I love dearly. A few months ago, I contacted a few old friends to have them tell the world in their own words who Rodney is and why he is so very special to us.

Rodney, Chris, Kimberly and Luis in Drama class

Rodney was the embodiment of courageously living life, loving hard, and finding the humor in it all. ~Gloria Wells Cotton (Gloria named her son Ryan after him)

A very sincere and caring individual. Love You Rodney! ~Luis Garza

Sweet, fun/ny, upbeat, kind, fun loving and missed! ~Dawn Stapleton

Every time I look outside and see a ray of sunshine, I see Rodney.

He was one of the most amazing people you could ever know.

Genuine, happy, a great son, brother and friend are only a few words to describe Rodney.

He was one of those people you know in life and thank God you had the privilege and honor for that gift.

He is surely missed by all that knew him. Rodney was my cousin but most importantly he was an example of what life should be HAPPY! ~Lori Nisimblat

Rodney was one of my best friends. His life was cut way too short because of cancer.

I am running my first marathon for him in the hopes that with every step I take that day, it is a step closer to a cure so that no one else’s best friend is taken away from them.

The entire Perez family will be meeting me at the finish line in San Diego on June 3rd.

I know in my heart


Rodney Ryan Perez a.k.a Ryan Paris


June 14, 2012

Just six short months ago, I made the decision to do all I could to help those who have been hurt by cancer like how my family and friends and I have been hurt. Running a marathon would not bring the world a cure. It would not bring back my best friend Rodney Perez, my Aunt Sissy (Luz Gomez) nor would it bring back my beautiful Momma (Mimi Cardenas). Crossing the finish line after six months of insanely dedicated workouts was far from the end. On the contrary, I believe it is just my beginning.

Me, Vero, Coach Jose, Coach Patty, Coach Margie and Julie at the finish line

Like I said before in my earlier blogs, I had no clue what possessed me – the overweight, non-athletic, outta-shape, 40+ anti-gym rat – to enter a race, much less a MARATHON!!! But I followed my *signs* and trusted the advice of Sissy. She was right.

“Life is not a race — but indeed a journey”

Did you know I have weather angels?
I expected myself to be the last one in since I was the only full-marathon participant who had never run before… EVER in her life. So when it came down to our team practice runs, I dreaded having the others wait hours for me to come in. I would pray the night before for a “healthy” run and over cast morning with a breeze so that the others wouldn’t have to suffer while waiting for me. Each long run of the season that I ran with the team had over cast mornings with a cool breeze up until the very moment I finished. And yes, I did finish without any health problems. I must have weather angels and the blessings from above.

Did you know that I live amongst angels?
From the moment I decided to make this crazy journey, I was led in the right direction to the angels who live amongst us. Had it not been for German, Lucia and all the inspirational staff who took me under their wings at Valley Running Company, I would not have lasted two weeks in this “sport”. Had it not been for my run class, Coach Jetter, and all my wonderful run clubs like iRun, Run Walk Crawl, Me Myself and Run, Sole Sisters and my TnT Team mates and extremely patient TnT coaches and my fabulous mentor, I would have given up at shin splints and ice baths. My boss – wow. She lost her father to cancer a year before I lost my mother. She knows my drive and determination very well. Probably because hers is pretty identical to mine. Her support was beyond extraordinary. I knew she could read right through me when I was hurting and she knew that I knew. And she let me continue. I had to. Anna, my co-worker, had been battling leukemia from the first day I was employed there. Her strength and courage drove us all to pitch in what ever we could. THIS was all I could do.

For those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook, here are the highlights that I posted right after the race:

1. As I got the high five from Jean Gearhart at station #4 the band nearby played “Hero” from the Foo Fighters (the band that my brother Donny loved), she said “Looking good Mama” – just like my Momma used to say. I couldn’t stop the tears.
2. A soldier in full gear with a full ruck sack and boots passed me at mile 10. I looked to the side and the crowd saluted him.
3. As my body began to break down at mile 17, a man not much older than me said “excuse me” and passed me on the left with his daughter. How do I know this? The back of his shirt said he was running for his daughter. The girl beside him said “survivor”. She had to have been my son’s age.
4. I hit my “wall” as I entered the island. My legs were heavy and stiff and I felt like I was giving birth again. The pain was intense. A woman yelled out to me “You are running to fund the research that has allowed me to live. THANK YOU so much! I am here because of YOU!”
5. The Perez family all came to meet me at the finish line. Rodney’s mom came up from behind me and hugged me and cried for about 15 minutes. We spent the evening having a wonderful dinner and catching up on life as we know it now. None of us could gather the strength to talk about Rodney. We still miss and love him so!
6. 3,000 runners sit for the inspiration dinner the night before the race. Six big screens hang from the ceiling with a picture and a caption “We are running in Memory of Luz Gomez” – that’s my Sissy.

My mother passed away the week that I had planned to run the Austin 10/20 race in memory of Sissy. As many of you know, I did not run that race so that I could spend those last few days with my mother. But I am a woman of my word and Sissy is really that special to me so I must continue. The Nike Women’s marathon will be run for her.

And how very fitting. Sissy really knew what she was doing for me. I knew she had it all planned out. I am so very grateful to her and hope that each of you continue to join me on my journey. Come run with me.

Each step I take brings us closer to a cure. This eases my pain and sadness in knowing that those last few years that my mother gave her body to have science experiement on her so that others could be cured was not in vain. #Relentless for a cure
Ya, you guessed it. Donate now.
See that little button up there on the right hand side.
Click it now.

The woman who starts the race is NOT the same woman who finishes the race.


June 25, 2012


This week marked my return to Team in Training for a second season. Fitting time as today is the birthday of the woman who started this whole crazy journey for me. My Aunt Sissy lost her battle to ALL cancer in late September 2011 at MD Anderson after giving it all she had for three years. Two weeks before she died, she talked about my paintings and how I should start running. Honestly, I thought she was joking.

Two weeks after her death, I was beginning to gather her belongings at her house and a boxed framed picture landed on my foot. It stated what we talked about. I remember smiling as I read what was on the picture and said aloud “You know… you could have picked ZUMBA and I would have been fine with it but running?!?!?!” And my journey began. She had it all planned out. I know this now.

In my first season with TnT, I was scared and unsure of myself and my ability. I knew running a marathon would not bring Sissy back to life. But I HAD hoped that maybe, just maybe, if God saw how hard I was working to do something so extraordinary that He would help make a miracle happen and maybe, just maybe, that miracle would be keeping my Momma alive.

In my first season with TnT, I didn’t know that my marathon would be run without my mother there to reep the benefits. I had not met the thousands of runners before me who ran for my mother without knowing who she was. I had not realized that what I was doing was not just for MY family and friends who had all been hurt by cancer but that I would be running for those who WILL get cancer soon.

What I realize now is that the possibility of the mile that I run may just be the mile that finds the cure to the person who gets the news tomorrow that they have cancer. What I realize now is that the possibility of the mile that I run may just be the mile that funds the research to prolong hundreds, thousands… ALL of cancer victims lives.

I run now not to selfishly save my mother’s life or my Aunt Sissy’s life. They both selflessly gave their lifves to research so that others may live. I run now to honor them and their wishes. I run so that others do not have to endure what my family and friends have.

I run now with wind from angel’s wings to chase cancer away. I run with one team, one goal, BEAT CANCER.
Upper Valley Team in Training Fall 2012

Upper Valley Team in Training Saturday morning run Fall 2012

Thank you to all my donors who have supported me along my first season! My voice will get louder, my determination stronger and a cure will get closer. Just take a look at this group. The cause got bigger. Cancer picked the wrong girl to mess with.

Go on… You know the routine. If you haven’t done so already, go to the top right corner of this web page and click the “donate” button.

There’s always a way to help. You just gotta do it.


Year One of Running – Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco

Posted in Uncategorized on October 17, 2012 by runmyssierun

It was a year ago that Sissy had her “talk” with me that completely changed my world. Her passing two weeks after that talk fueled my desire to make her last wish come true. But her wish was not for herself. Her wish was for me. It was selfless deeds like that which made her all the more special to me and all who knew her.

Sissy never married. She never had children. She was adopted into our family when she was in her early teens. She hardly spoke of her life when she was a child hinting only of economic hardships, being passed from family to family and being teased in school for being older than all the other children with only the educational level of a 2nd grader. The neglect and bullying took it’s toll on her throughout her life. I think I recognized that early in my life and was the reason why I looked out for her so much. And she did the same for me. It was almost as if I was her child and not just her niece.

Sissy trusted me with her final wishes. While it was very difficult for me to listen to them, I paid attention to every detail and obeyed each one. She did not want me to have her name and details in the Monitor. Her funeral was to be by invitation only, not a public event for just anyone to show up. Her belongings had already been sorted and labeled for those who she wanted to give to. She told me that the rest should be given to people who NEED it. “Don’t give it to (xxx) charity or (xxx) charity because I’ve seen their staff steal the good stuff and garage sale it for their own profit,” she said. I got the biggest kick out of that statement and seeing her get all fired up over it – and yes, I removed the names so that they wouldn’t be offended – because she had previously pledged so much to them in years prior. Coincidentally, the State of Texas had two devastating fires, one in the hill country and one here in McAllen, TX. Both areas had families in need of furnishings, towels, beds, etc. I also identified some local friends and families that needed some help. I told them her wishes and made sure they wouldn’t garage sale the items.

I feel confident that they didn’t and they won’t.

She also told me to not make a “big deal” about her death. She looked at me straight in the eye and shook her finger at me and said sternly, “Everything you do ends up being a grand orchestrated event. I don’t want anyone’s pity.” So for a year, and even now, I have not made a “big deal” about her death. I never posted her name in the Monitor nor details of her funeral. However, I did pledge a race to be run for her. That race was originally the Austin 10/20 race in April. However, my mother passed away the week before that race and I wasn’t able to attend. So, in it’s place, I dedicated the Nike Women’s Marathon in her memory. I have stuck to my promise and posted only “My Sissy” as any reference to her. I’ve never talked in detail about her death but only beamed with pride about her life and what she did for me, what she meant to me and how she made me the runner that I am today.

When I was a young girl, my mother would tightly pull back my hair into pig tails or braids so much that I felt my rubber band crease into my head with a bruise the next morning! I would run across the street to my grandma’s house (where Sissy lived) and she would promptly remove the braids and all the rest of the ruffly pink dressy girly girl stuff I was wearing. Sissy was a very petite woman so she always had a change of clothes that I could easily slip into and go off into an adventure in the back yard with her. We’d climb trees or dig up plants in the alley, When I had my boys, you would think that those shenanigans would come to a stop. Nope! There were several times where I had to yell up into the play gym at McDonald’s for Michael AND Sissy to come down now “or else”! She was a kid at heart who at the drop of a dime on a clear day would take off to the beach and go fishing. She’d return with enough flounder for the entire neighborhood!

Sissy was simply awesome.

These are the memories that I had tucked away these last few months that probably allowed me to lose myself in her last wish for me. She wanted me to run so that I could do something healthy for my life and to manage the stress that she knew was coming into my life. She knew I was naturally competitive and wanted ot make sure that this wasn’t about zooming through to a finish line. This was about enjoying the journey.

I messed up. I forgot about all that.

Over the last few months, I worked very hard on decreasing my time per mile. I worked out a lot and ran every chance I could fit in a few miles in my busy schedule. And one week before her dedicated marathon, I developed an extremely painful kidney infection. It knocked me down flat. One whole week without any exercise. I hardly ate and ran 103 degree fever. I had no business running a marathon much less thinking I could hit my goal I had been training so hard for!

With nothing short of a miracle, medicine made me healthy enough to run the Nike Women’s Marathon. The course was a perfect reflection of my life the last two years. So many ups and downs, support along the way, seeing things I had never seen before, cold and drizzly yet comforting, refreshing and full of joy throughout the entire way. Certain messages stood out more than the rest. As a big believer in “signs”, I felt like they – Sissy, Momma, Rodney and Donny were all there running right along with me. I knew deep down inside I wasn’t healthy enough to run what I had trained to do so I took advantage of the situation and suddenly remembered that first line on the *tree picture* Sissy gave me. “Life is not a race – but indeed a journey”

I took a deep breath in and savored it all. I think I officially became a Winter Texan at that point. I took out my camera and snapped pics of Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, towering redwood trees, hills, signs, everything that caught my eye. This is my journey.


Thank you all for being a part of it with me. Thank you all for helping me keep my pledge of helping to find a cure, to fund a cure… not just for my family – but for our world.

One Team! One Goal! Beat Cancer!!!

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