The 34th annual Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon will take place on Sunday, June 1, 2014 in San Francisco. Participants complete a 1.5-mile swim from Alcatraz Island to the Marina Green, bike 18 miles through the Presidio and run eight miles through Golden Gate Park. Katherine Simmons is joining Team LIVESTRONG this year after running in 2013’s NYC Marathon. She continues to participate in LIVESTRONG events as a tribute to her mother. Read about what drives Katherine to continue to honor those who battle for their lives.
Oh man. Cancer has been both a curse and a blessing in my short life. It’s made me seriously doubt my own existence and has challenged my faith in humanity. It brought me to my knees alongside my mother’s bed in a hospital filled with beeps and pumps and sympathetic glances. It’s taken far too many beautiful people from me, people who I’d much prefer to hold in my arms than my heart. Cancer has also been my teacher. It has taught me to grieve loss, to honor death, and to hold space for loved ones, especially the ones who are not physically with me anymore. It was and continues to be what inspires me to work with others to eliminate stagnant energy in their bodies and increase their capacity for movement and growth so cancer doesn’t have a chance to get comfortable.
What event are you participating in? What other events you have participated in with Team LIVESTRONG?
Next up is Escape from Alcatraz 2014! Last year, I was involved in the 2013 NYC Marathon as both a runner and a LIVESTRONG Coach. And when I was in high school, my mom’s best friend was a regional mentor for the LIVESTRONG Foundation. I used to help her organize Bike-a-Thon Fundraisers.
Why did you join Team LIVESTRONG?
I joined Team LIVESTRONG because my friend Kelvin Gary, owner of Body Space Fitness, in NYC had been fundraising for them through Ride Philly, and connected with their representatives at the 2012 NYC Marathon Expo. We ended up collaborating on the coaching program for the 2013 NYC Marathon, and I really loved working with the foundation. The other participants’ stories were so inspiring, and brought back many fond memories of my mom.
How else have you participated with the LIVESTRONG Foundation?
Most recently, I helped set up a collaboration between my school – the Swedish Institute of Massage Therapy – and the LIVESTRONG folks who ran the 2014 NYC ½ Marathon. I worked with Robert Ramos, an awesome Event Ambassador, and it was so great to see the runners so thoughtfully and thoroughly cared for after the race.
What does LIVESTRONG mean to you?
LIVESTRONG means Roots and Wings.
Share one piece of advice you would give to someone affected by cancer.
Don’t be afraid of therapy!