BOSTON (CBS) – On Marathon Monday, more than 3,000 people will run for a charity. Each will have something personal driving them.
Carol Chaoui will be the only runner representing the Massachusetts chapter of the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
Nearly three years into her breast cancer battle, she’s found a silver lining in her diagnosis: The chance to use her love of running to help others.
“I’ve been running since the age of 13, and it’s always been the time I have to myself,” says Carol. “I go out there and plan my day, and remake the world.”
Carol Chaoui was actually on her way to a road race when she got the call telling her she had breast cancer. And when she went for a run the next day, the reality of it was right there in front of her.
“This sea of pink coming at me, and I asked what’s going on. They said it was the Komen three day walk, and I broke down on the sidewalk right there. I said ‘oh my God, I was just diagnosed last night; I have to go for tests today to find out how extensive the cancer is.’ At that moment, all these total strangers started hugging me and kissing me, and telling me ‘look how strong you are; you’re going to get through this.’”
Carol’s doctors encouraged her to keep running, but even they were surprised by her determination.
Three days after her first chemo treatment, she signed up for a race.
“After that, I said I’m going to do a race for every chemo treatment. I had chemo every other Monday, so I’d try to find a race every Sunday or every Saturday. It definitely helped me stay strong physically, but also mentally it was such a stress reliever.”
Carol ran 15 races in the nine months after her diagnosis, including the 2010 Boston Marathon and her victories didn’t come only on the road.
“I remember going online to sign up and there’s a survivor division, and I said, ‘am I already a survivor?’ I had no idea; still to this day, I’m always confused — when are you a survivor? I thought to myself, I survived the diagnosis, the mastectomy, one round of chemo. I checked off survivor.”
Another benefit of Carol’s running was what it did for her four children.
I think, for them, it brought back a sense of normalcy, which sometimes didn’t work in my favor because they thought. ‘oh great, I don’t have to help out with the laundry, I don’t have to empty the dishwasher… She’s running; she can do the household duties and the chores.’”
Carol says this journey has made her appreciate how important it is to laugh, and just have fun. And in that spirit, she’ll be the one wearing the pink survivor cape on Marathon Monday.
“I know I’m not going to set any records or beat any Kenyans, so I feel like, let me have fun doing this, and raise money and raise awareness, and have a good time.”
Her goal is to raise 26.2 thousand dollars for the Massachusetts chapter of Susan G. Komen. She’s hoping to get 1,000 people to donate $26.20 cents apiece.
CLICK HERE to visit Carol’s fundraising page.