Imagine training for countless months for the New York City Marathon, only to have to drop out at the last second. That’s what happened to Denver runner Melanie Gruenwald, who earned her entry into the 2015 New York City Marathon by raising $5,000 for Sharsheret, a Jewish non-profit that supports women with breast cancer.
Gruenwald, a mother and Colorado director for the Jewish nonprofit Moving Traditions, was diagnosed with breast cancer midway through her training. She describes a frightening reality for many women who are diagnosed with breast cancer: it can be hard to detect and fast acting. She stated:
“August 22, I found a lump. I just happened to be in the shower and I felt something, and it felt like a marble inside my breast. I found out on September 3 that I was diagnosed, so that was two months; eight weeks out from the marathon. When they did the mammogram, they actually didn’t see it. If I hadn’t noticed a bump, they wouldn’t have gone further in their diagnostics.“
READ: Mayim Bialik: What Jewish Women Need to Know About Breast Cancer
Because her double mastectomy surgery is scheduled for next week, Gruenwald won’t be able to go to New York for the marathon on November 1. While she is devastated she can’t participate in the run this year, her training is not going to waste, as she’s starting her very own New York City Marathon course in Denver. She’ll begin Sunday morning at 6 a.m., along with over 30 other people, in an effort to start a community:
“The more I thought about it, the more I thought about what an opportunity it would be to be a community builder and an awareness raiser by putting together my own race. It would be great to have people cheering us on along the route, I think it would just make it more fun. If people wanted to join me on the run, I’m definitely open to that. I’m not expecting a crowd.”
Proving that she is unstoppable, Gruenwald is continuing to raise money for Sharsheret, stating that her new goal is to exceed $10,000. Check out her fundraising page here.