Only Months Before Maryland Half Marathon, Runner Steve Berry Receives Colon Cancer Diagnosis
Mindy and Steve Berry with their trainer Ashley Kelso.
It is the day before my surgery for colon cancer, and as I reflect on the last few months, I am
amazed by how things sometimes seem to fall into place.
Last fall, my wife, Mindy, and I started running to get in better shape. To help our motivation and
to improve our technique, we joined an introductory running class at Fleet Feet in Annapolis. We
discovered running with a group not only is a motivator; it makes it fun and the support is
We ran with our group through the winter -- including during Snowmageddon in February. We noticed we
were losing weight and, in general, felt better. We ran three times a week, then four and
sometimes we made it to five. The members of the group supported each other and encouraged each
other. If one did not show, the others would ask him why. We stuck with it and the graduation
ceremony from class was a 5K fun run in February. The Maryland Half Marathon was waiting at the
finish line, and in a moment of runner's high, I signed us up.
I will admit there was no philanthropic motivation for running the race. The fundraiser for the
University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center was incidental. We would try to raise a little money,
but our main purpose in running was to keep motivated to train. Having a goal is a great
incentive. How ironic that just a few weeks after signing up, our lives -- and motivation for the
run -- would be turned upside down.
On March 25, 2010, I was shockingly diagnosed with colon
cancer. Surgery was scheduled for April 16. Unfortunately, I am now unable to
run, or even walk, the race. But I will be there. Our friend and running coach, Ashley Kelso,
will be running in my place.
Because I have been running, I am more physically fit than I have been in years. I have lost 20
pounds and have more energy. That is 20 pounds less of me the doctor has to go through to get to
the cancer. The miles I have put in will aid in my recovery over the next weeks and months.
Now, our goal has changed. We want to raise a lot more money for the Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum
Cancer Center. And we are. When people find out about our story, they are so generous. Each time
we receive an e-mail that another donation has come in, it gives us that much more strength to
face what is coming. Each word of encouragement posted is like a hug through the Internet and
helps our spirits soar.
It is important that you know that I am 51 years old and there is no history of colon cancer in my
family. If I had not had a colonoscopy, my cancer would not have been found. Do not wait to get
Any support, financial or otherwise, is greatly appreciated. Every small act of kindness is a
source of encouragement. Thank you for considering this cause in your charitable giving.
Your prayers (vibes, candles, positive thoughts and encouragement) are welcome and needed. Thank
you for being a part of this journey. Remember, your financial donation is tax deductible and
100% of our registration fee and your donation goes directly to the Fund.
Editor's Note: The following update was posted on Steve Berry's race page on April 21:
AWESOME NEWS!!! We just found out it is early stage II cancer and they got it all. None in the lymph nodes! Steve does not have to go through chemo. Clear of cancer. Get your colonoscopy!