October 12, 2008: My husband, Andrew, and I ran the Chicago Marathon. A first for both of us.
April 20, 2009: I ran the Boston Marathon. Andrew was there to see me cross the finish line.
October 11, 2009: The Chicago Marathon again. This time, I cheered him along the streets of Chicago.
August 9, 2010: One day after our 12th wedding anniversary, we learned Andrew had Stage IV colon cancer. He was 37 years old. Our boys were 8 and 5.
November 7, 2010: I ran the NYC Marathon. Despite the fact he was on week 10 of a 12-week chemotherapy regimen, Andrew was there to cheer me on. It was an “off” chemo week.
July 9, 2010: Over 200 of our friends joined Team Somora and ran the Kansas City Get Your Rear in Gear 5Kto promote prevention and early detection of colon cancer and to provide support to those affected. Our team raised the most amount of money in Kansas City and our team was the largest of any GYRIG race in the country. Andrew ran the entire race.
October 28, 2011: My husband, the father of my children, and love of my life, lost his battle with colon cancer.
October 7, 2012: I will run my second Chicago Marathon. While I won’t have my husband there in person to support me, Andrew will be with me in spirit, every step of the way.
October 28, 2012: I will host the first annual Bringing Up the Rear 5K, Kansas City’s Race to Defeat Colon Cancer to honor Andrew and raise money for the Andrew J. Somora Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization I established in December 2011 to help families who have been financially impacted by colon cancer and to help spread awareness of the symptoms of colon cancer and the importance of early detection.
October 29, 2012 and beyond: Running has kept me—and will keep me—going as I try to navigate my life without him. I have to be strong for my boys, but when I run, I can let the tears run and no one can see. I can talk to him and no one looks at me like I am crazy. I can try to solve problems, make decisions and plan my future without him, and yet still feel like he is, in some way, with me the entire way.
Andrew and I ran our entire marriage. Running kept me going through his diagnosis and treatment. I ran for both of us when he could not. Now I run because it’s what Andrew would have wanted me to do.