Team LIVESTRONG is taking on the 2014 Freescale Austin Marathon and Half Marathon on February 16. Hear from teammate, survivor, international LIVESTRONG Leader and runner Henrike Hirsch on how she got involved with the LIVESTRONG Foundation. Henrike will be “virtually” joining our team of more than 400 runners in Austin on race day—she’ll actually be running a half marathon in Germany!
How have you been affected by cancer?
I am a 17-year skin cancer survivor and have lost grandparents, cousins, uncles, my boyfriend and too many friends to cancer. I’m currently supporting a good friend through a recurrence of brain cancer.
What past or current Team LIVESTRONG events have you participated in?
I’m participating in the 2014 Austin Half Marathon with a Team LIVESTRONG sub-team of fellow LIVESTRONG leaders. Since we’ve lost two precious family members recently (fellow LIVESTRONG Leader Jon Colbert; and Judy, the wife of Scott Joy, a fellow LIVESTRONG Leader, former mentor, huge supporter and fundraiser), we’ve decided to run in their honor. I have never felt this helpless, but while we’re all still in shock from this huge loss, we feel that the common goal of finishing a half or full marathon unites us in a special way and will hopefully show Scott and Jon’s wife Rhoni how much they mean to us.
I’ve participated in seven Austin Challenges, one Philly Challenge and two Ride for the Roses weekends, and I have also run the 2011 Austin Half Marathon with Team LIVESTRONG.
Why did you join Team LIVESTRONG?
For me, joining Team LIVESTRONG is a great way to keep moving. I’m not only a survivor, but I am also facing a chronic spine and thyroid condition, so staying active every day is really important to be able to continue living life without any major limitations. Every time I head out for a training run or a cross-training bike ride, it’s my way of showing myself and others that it’s possible to live well beyond your physical conditions and illnesses. I know my fellow Team LIVESTRONG members have my back and will always support me whenever I need a bit of extra support, as will the coaches at LIVESTRONG HQ.
How else have you participated with the LIVESTRONG Foundation?
I’ve been a mentor for the LIVESTRONG Challenge and Team LIVESTRONG events for six years and am currently lucky enough to serve as one of the Senior LIVESTRONG Leaders. I’ve also been a delegate at the LIVESTRONG summits in Columbus, Ohio and Dublin, Ireland and have raised more than $30,000 within the last eight years.
Have you used LIVESTRONG’s Cancer Navigation Services?
I always have a LIVESTRONG Guidebook at home and carry business cards with the LIVESTRONG website info at all times. As an advocate, fundraiser, educator and member of the AYA (adolescent and young adult) community, I constantly meet people affected by cancer, and they are always surprised to hear of the survivorship services that LIVESTRONG provides and happy to have some place to start their navigation process. When it comes to the AYA community, I have referred friends to the Planet Cancer online community, and the LIVESTRONG Guidebook has been, and still is, a constant source of support for many people I know. I’m also a mentor angel at Imerman Angels and have referred several cancer fighters to IA in the past.
What does LIVESTRONG mean to you?
To me, LIVESTRONG means the family I chose.
Share one piece of advice you would give to someone affected by cancer.
Cancer can be overwhelming—prior to, during and after treatment. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help and support. You and your loved ones deserve to be supported by people who can help navigate you through a tough time in your life, a time when you need it most. No one should have to go through cancer alone, and the LIVESTRONG Foundation can help with that.
Join Henrike and the rest of Team LIVESTRONG at the 2014 Freescale Austin Marathon and Half Marathon on February 16, 2014 by registering at LIVESTRONG.org/events/1630.