Marathoner Breast Cancer Surgery

Marathoner Runs Her Own 26.2 Three Days Before Breast Cancer Surgery 15 October 2018

Melanie Gruenwald was raising money for breast cancer awareness while training for the NYC Marathon. Then she was diagnosed with the disease herself.
Last January, Melanie Gruenwald signed up for the New York City Marathon to raise money for Sharsheret—a non-profit that provides support for Jewish women with breast cancer. Her goal was to raise $5,000.

In late August, Gruenwald had to defer her race registration and turn to the very organization she was supporting. At age 42, in the middle of training for her second marathon, she was diagnosed with breast cancer herself.

“I think the irony of the situation wasn’t lost on me,” Gruenwald said. “The first thing I told my radiologist was that this doesn’t make sense. I am raising money for this cause, I shouldn’t be a recipient of its services.”

Her doctors scheduled a bilateral mastectomy two weeks before the NYC Marathon. Despite knowing she would not be able to travel from her home in Denver, Colorado, for the race, Gruenwald continued to train.

“I didn’t know what else to do besides keep running,” she said.

Gruenwald was not going to line up in Staten Island, but she decided she still wanted to complete a marathon anyway. So, she designed her own course, starting and finishing on her driveway. She scheduled the solo race three days before her surgery.

“Being a runner, I really love being on a training plan,” Gruenwald said. “I just didn’t know how to get off it. I didn’t want my training to go to waste.”

On October 18, more than 40 of Gruenwald’s running partners, friends, and family signed up to complete sections of the homemade course with her. The route crossed many of her favorite running routes.

At the finish line, she broke pink tape under a balloon arch next to her son, who rode his bike by her side for the final mile.

“It was exhilarating; the finish matched my wedding day and childbirth,” she said. “The strength and empowerment you get from running was totally captured in that moment.”

While Gruenwald said she missed the crowd support from thousands of spectators lining New York’s course, she preferred her own race.

“The experience was so different, it was personal, every mile was carried with love,” she said.

Now, as she recovers from her successful surgery, Gruenwald looks forward to running again. She hopes to register for the NYC Marathon in 2016, once again raising money for Sharsheret. It will be tough to top her fundraising total from this year. She’s raised nearly $20,000.


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JEAD breast cancer foundation is a registered non-governmental organization dedicated to supporting vulnerable group to combat the menace of breast cancer, particularly in rural communities of the Eastern Region of Ghana, where ignorance..  READ MORE
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