This year, Ed Gonzalez of Slant Magazine and I have mutually decided to embark on what for both of us is a lifetime goal – to run our first ever marathons: the NYC Marathon. This is exciting and yes, a little nerve-wracking, and we’re both taking it seriously. I am already running 25 miles a week (and as many as 35/week by race time) – I expect to run a total of 400 miles in preparation over the next several weeks. Ed is outdoing me – he got up at 7 this morning, ran 18 miles, and looked none the worse for wear! We both have our personal goals on top of just finishing the marathon. He wants to do it in 3 and a half hours, while I’ll be thrilled if I can just beat 4:15, which was the time set by Diddy (see picture) when he ran it three years ago.
Both Ed and I have decided to make this more than just a personal achievement, so we are both running for Team Continuum, a charity that cares for the immediate needs of cancer patients. Their focus is about helping people that are living with cancer today, patients as well as their families. Those who were saddened by the recent losses of Danièle Huillet, Edward Yang and Joel Siegel to cancer, as well as Roger Ebert’s ongoing recovery from thyroid cancer treatment, know that this is something that hits every corner of the global film community. Ultimately this disease touches everyone’s lives.
I am running in the memory of those members of the film community mentioned above. Closer to my own life, I am running in the memory of Vanessa Shepard Petrie. Vanessa was truly a light in many people’s lives, including my own. She dedicated her life to helping refugees from Southeast Asia find new lives in the United States. When she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2000, she did her best to remain upbeat and determined to fight her illness. I remember when I visited her home just a month after she underwent intensive chemotherapy. She insisted on cooking one of her famously elaborate dinners for me even though she was clearly exhausted by the effort. I am running in her honor, and in the hopes that others stricken by this illness may have the fullest opportunity to enjoy their lives nonetheless.
This form of cancer is particularly malevolent, and I witnessed firsthand the devastating impact it had on her family and loved ones. From Vanessa and her family’s two year battle, I learned that the emotional well-being required while living with cancer is just as important as the medical treatment. Team Continuum believes this as well, which is why I want to support their efforts. I am committed to raise a minimum of $2620 (that’s $100 per mile) for Team Continuum. All donations are tax deductible.Whether you or someone you know has been stricken by cancer, please sponsor me for as much as you can in support of this effort to make life better for those living with it today.