LAWTON, OK (RNN Texoma) - Runners of all ages gathered before sunrise Sunday at Elmer Thomas Park for the 13th annual Spirit of Survival. Many were cancer survivors themselves, or knew someone who has been affected by the disease. One woman ran in honor of her aunt who had cancer. She said today’s weather conditions were nothing compared to battling the disease.
“Especially today it has more meaning, because when I think of my aunt and all the suffering that they go through throughout the chemo, you know, temperatures like this, weather like this is nothing compared to what they go through on a daily basis and it’s a battle that affects all of us," said Maria Gomez. "One time it could be us, you know? You have to support and be loving and concerning for all others, survivors, those who have passed, and those who are fighting the battle right now.”
7News Meteorologist, Mandy Bailey, ran the half marathon. She said she is happy to be running for such a great cause.
“I just love this race and what it means for so many of the survivors and everyone going through a fight," said Bailey. "Whenever you’re getting close to the finish line, it just makes it that much more special.”
A spirit of survival volunteer said her husband has been running in the race for several years, in honor of loved ones who are no longer here.
“I work at the Comanche Memorial Hospital and my mother had passed away from pancreatic cancer, and so my husband has carried her picture every year, and then our friends that have just passed away recently from cancer," said Bonnie Beeson. "So, we just want to support all those that are still with us and those that are survivors, and those that have lost loved ones.”
The Spirit of Survival weekend events ended Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Museum of the Great Plains in Lawton.