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by Shawn K. Supers   |   July 18, 2017

Why I Live for Race Day

As ZERO’s Mid-Atlantic Chapter Director I have the honor of hosting a ZERO Prostate Cancer Run/Walk in eight cities this year. Each event takes months of planning and effort by a team of committed champions and volunteers. On race day, if we’ve done our job well, patients and their families feel connected and celebrated. Let me introduce you to a few amazing folks I met these last couple of weeks and you’ll see why I live for race day.

On Father’s Day, June 18h, we hosted our 10th Annual ZERO Prostate Cancer Run/Walk in D.C. While this was my first time at the D.C. event, I felt grateful to be in the company of many veteran fundraisers and participants who helped make our ten-year anniversary possible.

Let’s start with the Cancer Fighting Warriors—the Walther Family. Sherrie, the team captain, has been leading this team for years, all while being a caregiver to her husband, a survivor of five years. She purposely sought me out to tell me that her husband is doing better and she would like to help out with the 2018 race. This simple exchange filled my heart to the brim. Her selfless act in continuing to champion the needs of others is what propels us to help more men and achieve our mission to end prostate cancer. Sherrie is our hero, as are all the other caregivers who give so much. Sherrie is why I live for race day.

A week later I was in Raleigh, NC hosting their Inaugural ZERO Prostate Cancer Run/Walk, which included more than 25 survivors. One survivor was Robert, our event Mission Speaker. He addressed the crowd and drove home his point with one simple request, “I’m not worried about the people who are here. We already know about PSA tests and exams—some of us found out the hard way. I want us to reach the people who are not here today. Please, tell a friend about your journey, tell them about the PSA test, and don’t stop there, keep telling folks so we can change this story.” Robert is why I live for race day.

After the Raleigh race we went to a local restaurant for our post-race party. I sat down with a family I had briefly met at the race so I could learn more about them. Marvin, a survivor, introduced me to his wife and his mother-in-law, collectively Team Master (a family joke, I understand) and told me that he wasn’t a runner. He didn’t even know if he could run. But he picked up a flyer at the cancer center about this race and set it on the counter at home only for his wife to pick it up and tell him they were doing it. So Marvin, at the end of the race, was shocked and proud to learn that he was the 3rd Place runner in the Survivor Division. He told me he’d be back next year and that his wife will be running with him. Marvin is why I live for race day.

It is these special moments that will be with me forever. As I head to my next ZERO Prostate Cancer Run/Walk in Lehigh Valley, I know there are many more champions to meet who will take my breath away with their courage, their perseverance, and their giving spirit. YOU are why I live for race day.

Are you a champion in the fight against prostate cancer? Let’s connect! Email me shawn@zerocancer.org or call at 202-303-3115.