Why I’m Running: Bristol Whitcher is running Boston in memory of her grandparents

"I truly cannot put into words how special these two people are to me, even though they’re no longer here."

Bristol Whitcher, celebrating her 1,000th volleyball assist with her grandparents in 2008. –Courtesy

In our “Why I’m Running” series, Boston Marathon runners share what’s inspiring them to make the 26.2-mile trek from Hopkinton to Boston on April 16, 2018. Are you running Boston? Here’s how to share your story on Boston.com.

Name: Bristol Whitcher
Age: 26
From: Framingham
Bib #: 25289

I’m running the 2018 Boston Marathon with the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team in memory of my grandparents, Ken and Carole St. Jacques, who both fought courageous battles with cancer before their passings in 2010 and 2011. I truly cannot put into words how special these two people are to me, even though they’re no longer here. There wasn’t a volleyball match or basketball game of mine that they weren’t at, cheering me on. Losing them is still by far the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with. My grandfather fought an exhausting, albeit rather short, six-month battle with lung cancer. Despite this, I still don’t think he missed a match, often times coming straight from his chemo appointments to cheer us on. My teammates and I used to joke that we had to keep winning during the playoffs, as it was our games that were keeping him going. A two-time breast cancer survivor, my grandmother eventually succumbed to colon cancer in 2011. I still think she just couldn’t bear to be without her beloved husband any longer — and I can’t blame her. I’m running on the DFMC team, so perhaps, sometime in the near future, a teenage girl like my former self never has to go through the heartbreak that I felt in losing these special people. And I know I’m not alone in this heartbreak. Cancer touches too many lives, but I hope together we can put an end to this terrible disease. I have a $10,000 fundraising goal and am over halfway there; let’s reach the finish line together.

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Editor’s note: Entries may have been lightly edited for clarity or grammar.