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. If you’re running the marathon, you can share your #WhyImRunningBoston story here.
Name: George Labonte
From: Wrentham, Massachusetts
In early 2016, I was diagnosed with a rare and incurable cancer called Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma. At the time, I wasn’t sure if I would live out the year, let alone be preparing and training for the 2020 Boston Marathon four years later.
It has been a tough journey to get to where I am now. After surgery in 2016, I underwent six weeks of radiation coupled with chemotherapy. About a year later, I developed a metastatic tumor in my spine and found myself lying back on the table undergoing even more radiation. I was stable for yet another year before the cancer started to accelerate, advancing to more areas of my spine, hips, and ribs. It also progressed into my liver. Less than one year ago, I started on an experimental drug called Selpercatinib and within two days I began to feel better. I never actually realized how bad I felt until I started feeling good again.
Symbolically, the 2020 Boston Marathon date of April 20 falls exactly four years from when I walked out of the hospital after surgery at Mass General Hospital.
Being a father of four children, I can’t even begin to imagine having to see my child go through what I endured. This is why I am running on the Mass General Hospital Pediatric Cancer Research team.
I am running for two reasons:
First, I am running to raise funds for the MGH Pediatric Cancer team. All funds go towards cancer care, research, and initiatives that enhance the quality of life for the hospital’s youngest cancer patients. Second, I run to inspire others diagnosed with cancer or other diseases to show them that you can still accomplish great things even when dealing with a difficult condition.
Editor’s note: Entry may have been lightly edited for clarity or grammar.