A Westminster woman is aiming to inspire hope by participating in a nationwide marathon that celebrates 15.5 million cancer survivors and raises money to support patient programs and groundbreaking research.
Lee Keagle is one of 261 athletes from across the U.S. participating in the 50th TCS New York City Marathon by running with the American Cancer Society DetermiNation team.
DetermiNation team athletes dedicate their participation to the fight against cancer and raise funds to be part of the event. In this year’s marathon, the team expects to raise over $1.1 million for the American Cancer Society. Keagle has raised more than $5,500 for ACS DetermiNation as of Nov. 2.
“I was adopted into a family cursed by breast cancer,” Keagle said. “My grandmother passed away when my dad was 17 and his siblings were 13, 11 and 7. My Pop-Pop, her husband, was even a breast cancer survivor.”
Keagle’s Aunt Bean (Jean Keagle) is not only a survivor but also one of her role models as she serves as an American Cancer Society volunteer with Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Ocean City.
“Cancer has affected so many people I know and love that it’s inspired me to join this American Cancer Society event,” Keagle said. “Taking part in this run gives me the chance to make a difference and honor those touched by cancer by raising funds for groundbreaking research and services for people dealing with cancer.”
She has been a supporter of young adults with cancer for several years after losing two of her close friends to the disease.
“To all the survivors I’ve met throughout the years: I run for you for fighting every day,” Keagle said. “To all the ones we’ve lost: I run to carry your memory and spirit alive.”
Keagle has participated in other events for charitable causes, such as the Marine Corps Marathon and the Ulman Cancer Fund cycling trip from Baltimore to Key West. Part of the Johns Hopkins health system, she received the hospital’s 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award.
Located in cities nationwide, the DetermiNation fundraising platform includes more than 75 events raising over $7 million annually for the American Cancer Society’s mission to save more lives.
Ramon Bermo, director of community development for the American Cancer Society and head coach of Team DetermiNation, said Keagle has been a dedicated participant.
“The event is very meaningful to her,” he said. “Her heart and soul are not just in the training, but also the mission.”
Bermo said the team has collectively raised over $10 million since 2008 for the fight against cancer.
“Sadly, money is what is needed to make this thing go away,” Bermo said. “The team doesn’t realize the good they do. Making a difference is second nature to them.”
Since the annual marathon was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bermo said this event is particularly exciting for those runners who have been waiting to participate.
The 26.2-mile marathon will take place beginning at 8 a.m. this Sunday and will include about 33,000 runners.
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For info and to contribute to DetermiNation NYC Marathon athletes, go to: https://secure.acsevents.org/site/TR?fr_id=98016&pg=entry. To join the DetermiNation community, visit www.ACSDetermination.org or facebook.com/groups/ACSDetermiNation.