Runners are Resilent & the Boston Marathon – Celebrating Life After Cancer by Andrea Paine April 18, 2013

AndreaPaineBannerCFN – This week I did something that I hadn’t done in longer than I’d like to admit.   I went for a run.   Now one would ask why I haven’t gone out for a run in awhile;  especially  since I’ve been writing a blog on cancer survivorship and running over the past two and a half years.
 A few months ago in mid-November  I had my last surgery.  It was the sixth surgery that I had related to my breast cancer diagnosis.  When I had the double mastectomy in  August of 2007,  I also had reconstruction done at the same time, using tissue from another part of my body.   The reconstruction was well done and I was very happy with it.  Unfortunately, after time, and when everything had settled, the breast on the side I had cancer in became noticeably smaller.  So for the past few years I have undergone a couple of surgeries to correct the situation.
Once this last surgery  was over, I had the standard six week period of no exercise….running included. This brought me into the month of December, and the Christmas season.  One thing led to another and before I could blink, the New Year had been rung in, and 2013 was off to its start.
And so there I was, in early January; one of the coldest months of the year, where I come from. The snow banks were huge, thanks to record snow falls in December, and my motivation was low. For some reason I cringed at the thought of putting on my coldest winter running gear, my ice grips and getting out the door.
And I have always loved running outdoors. No matter how cold, or what the weather forecast is.
But this year I didn’t.
There are many reasons why, and none at the same time. Suffice it to say that a couple of months later, and a trip to Florida, I still wasn’t out on the road…..or even a treadmill for that matter. Sure, I had been walking. I have two dogs, and I’m out with them all the time. There’s nothing I like to do more at the beach than go for a long walk with a loved one.  While in Florida walking was a daily occurrence.
Then came Monday, April 15th.  The day of the Boston Marathon. Although I have never run it, I always get excited for those that are there.  Having run several half marathons, I can easily imagine the excitement in the air, and the delighted anticipation of the runners at the start of the race.
And I put on my shoes and went for a run. It was fantastic and everything I had hoped for. Inspiration and hope for the future.
Then I returned home to the news from Boston.  How horrible!  Gut wrenching.  My sympathies go out to the families who lost a loved one, and to all those innocent victims; runners, spectators,  volunteers, race officials, and law enforcement, who were traumatized or injured as a result of this senseless act of terrorism.    I hope they find the perpetrators, and that they receive their due punishment.
But the running world is strong and resilient. It reminds me of the world of cancer survivorship; a second family. There is a strong sense of camaraderie and friendship in both worlds. It’s all about positivity and humility.  Runners, like cancer survivors, stand up for one another. They lend support, encouragement and inspiration.
And so yesterday evening,  in the middle of rush hour, across the Charles River, in the parking lot of a bar in Boston, a group of three hundred runners did a commemorative four mile run  following a 26.2 (the number of miles in a marathon)  moment of silence.  Feisty and resilient, these runners sent out a clear message. You can’t knock them down.  Although this race was targeted, they wanted the world to know that nothing can stop a runner from what they love.
If I wasn’t inspired to get back on the road then, I sure am now.
I’m back!
And I, too, will run another race!

A gifted writer, Andrea Paine has been writing speeches for cabinet Ministers and members of the National Assembly and of Parliament throughout her years in politics. More recently, she turned her talents to writing an inspirational blog found at, and is a published author,  with a chapter in a book by British journalist, Chris Geiger.  Andrea has also been involved in public speaking, having been on the speaker’s circuit on behalf of the St-Mary’s Hospital breast cancer foundation in 2011, as well as a presenter, in 2012 and 2013, for the Federated Press Annual Conference on “Working with Ministers and Parliament” in Ottawa.


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  1. Hi Andrea, What a beautiful story! I, too, am a breast cancer survivor and as it happens my son and his family live in the UK, so we’ve spent lots of time roaming the English countryside, including Cornwall!

    I’m also the co-founder of the Women Suvivors Alliance. Our innaugural National Women Suvivors Convention will take place in August in Nashville ( Of course, we’d love it if you grabbed your breast cancer sisters and came to the convention. But short of that, I wonder if you’d be willing to be a guest blogger on our site. Take a look at what we’re doing and let me know.

    And never stop running. I can’t as a result of joint damage from chemo, but I exercise like a fiend and I’m a mean power walker with my Labrador :-).

    Hugs from your American sister,

  2. Hi Judy! I checked out your site, and I would love to be a guest blogger. I would also love to attend the convention, and would be willing to speak, if there is a need. What a great initiative! I will have to be back to Montreal, Quebec, Canada for August 24th, as I will be walking 60k from August 24-25th to raise funds for women’s cancers. Please reach me through my blog ( with details, and I’ll provide my e-mail coordinates.

    My story is also published in a chapter in “The Cancer Survivors Club”, a book by British journalist, and cancer survivor, Chris Geiger.

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