In Support of

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


The final blog 10-28-2008

I am sad to be writing this blog today as it marks the end of the journey of Sophie’s Run. Our team began the day at the Port Authority Administrative Offices in Jersey City, New Jersey just before noon. We were all nervous as we prepared for the last leg of the trip. What seemed so far away was now right in front of us all. All three of us wore special shirts for the run. I was in a “I love New York” shirt, Natalie was in a luck of the Irish “I love New York” shirt and Jill wore a FDNY t-shirt to pay respect for the fire department. At our starting point we were met by Holland Tunnel Supervisor Laurie Price and Lieutenant Joe Macaluso of the Port Authority Police Department. The Port Authority staff needed to inspect our RV to ensure that it could pass through the Holland Tunnel. Our team would like to thank Port Authority Staff members Joseph McGuire, Steden Greene and Port Authority Police Officers Danny Dias, Todd Smith, and J. DiBenedetto. Thank you Laurie for all your work and co-ordination on this event!!

Our final run began with Lieutenant Joe Macaluso leading us through the Holland Tunnel. They closed down the entire Holland Tunnel for our team to run into New York. This was a real honour and one that we appreciate so very much!! Thank you!! The run through the Holland Tunnel was very emotional for all of us runners. We talked a lot about the last 8 weeks and everything that had led up to the day we started the run. We were all appreciative of our efforts and felt a strong bond in the accomplishment we were about to achieve. I found the Holland Tunnel to be the most emotional part of the day. I had a few tears as I thought about my mom and how I could see her smiling as we ran through the tunnel.

As we made our way out of the Holland Tunnel and into New York City the excitement started to take over. We could see the Ranchs and the Ardill’s cheering us on. When we entered into New York City we were met by members of the Manhattan Traffic Task Force who escorted us to our final destination, The Canadian Consulate. We would like to send a big thank you to Police Officers Sgt. Dean DiBitowto, Gina Bafundo, Timothy Kraus, and Brian Blazer for safely taking us to our final destination. We would also like to thank the FDNY for escorting us on the final leg as well. You were so kind and welcoming of us Canadians and we will forever be greatful. As we turned the corner to the end point at the Canadian Consulate we could hear the cheers of about 150 family and friends waiting for us on the street. We were honoured that they were there to share in the celebration of this amazing journey. Thank you to everyone who came to meet us at the finish line. Our team appreciates you making the trip to New York City. We would also like to thank everyone for their well wishes from back home. Together we are all making a difference. Thank you to everyone we met along the way for your support and to everyone that made comments on our blogs and sent us messages-thank you!! Thank you to Julie Bernard for being our photographer throughout the entire journey!! We love you!! Thank you to Kyle Young for designing and keeping the Sophie’s Run website updated every day. Also, thank you for all the help at the Consulate and throughout all the events with the run. Thank you to Jeff Harper for you assistance with mapping out the trip and all the work you did on the road to make the run a success. Thank you Computer John for mapping out our quest as well. A very special thank you to all of our sponsors for their support towards Sophie’s Run. We couldn’t have done the run without all of you!!

Thank you to the Canadian Consulate for hosting Sophie’s Run. It was an honour to be there and to be welcomed with open arms. To Barry Stein, the President of the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada, thank you for believing in the run and for partnering with us to fight the second leading cancer killer in Canada and the United States of America. All of your efforts have already saved lives. Your vision of education, awareness and support have been instrumental in the fight of this disease. It is our pleasure that you welcomed us into your family at the CCAC. To Gail Grief, Julie Wajcman, Hilary Christo, JF, and everyone at the CCAC thank you for all the support. You all believed in the run and it was a blessing to be able to work with you all.

At the end of the reception at the Canadian Consulate our RV battery had died. We would like to thank Kenny (from the Lincoln Tunnel) that was dispatched by the Port Authority to assist us with the RV. You are all awesome!!

Sophie’s Run couldn’t have been possible without my team. God blessed me with such wonderful people to share the journey with. To Jill and Natalie…………where can I even begin. I love you both very much and am so lucky to have you by my side as we ran to New York. You both inspired me and kept me going on the toughest days. I will forever be grateful to both of you. I know all of our mom’s were touched by cancer and what a great tribute to them all to carry and continue their fights!! To Jill and Natalie’s families, thank you for the support to this endeavour. We couldn’t have done it without you.

To my Uncle Mike and Chocha Pat, Terry, Rob, and Tanya. Thank you for being a part of Sophie’s Run. I know how close you were to my mom and she loved you and your family dearly. Uncle Mike, the countless hours on the road you dedicated to police escorts, assisting with the information for the blogs, mapping out the distances and all the paper work, thank you very much. I love you all very much and feel honoured to be included in your family.

To my dad, Jason, Debbie and Cole thank you for all the support. It will never be forgotten. I know that Sophie’s Run will make a better future for my nephew for generations to come. Baba loved you so very much. Dad, you are my only parent left and I love you dearly. I thank God every night for giving me two wonderful parents. Dad, we love her, still grieve her and both miss her dearly. Through all the adversity I stand here today proud to tell everyone that I love you and am lucky to have you as my father.

To my mom. I am bittersweet about today. I feel a sense of accomplishment but I miss you so very much still. I felt you with me every step of the way and I even saw you on my toughest days. Heaven is lucky to have you and one day we will meet again. As much as I want you here I couldn’t wish the pain and suffering on you again. I will continue to fight and keep your legacy alive. Forever in my heart……..you daughter.

I would like to end the blog with the song that was written for the run by Kenny Munshaw. It is called “I Will Heal.” It is about a mother and daughter both having to heal through cancer.

“Looking back over my shoulder

Feeling young but I know I’m getting older

Maybe I’m just more aware now

Of all the faces around me

Baby I am not sure now

How to say goodbye

Maybe I should cry

All I know is that I need to heal.

I listened to all the things you told me

Only in the moments when the darkness sits around me

And I touch the memories and the laughter

I hear the words you spoke to me

Saying go what what you’re after

Cause I’m by your side

We’ll take this ride

Together you and I, we will heal

Heal, heal, we’re gonna heal,

Touch me, hold me, tell me everythings o.k,

Let me take your gift of love and pass it on each day

Looking back over my shoulder, I need to carry on and do just what I told her,

So I can heal, I got to heal, we need to heal, everybody’s got to heal.”

Love the Sophie’s Run Team………xoxo

Friday, October 24, 2008


The team has arrived 10-24-2008

The final leg complete!!

Nicole, Jill, and Natalie arrived this afternoon to many cheers and high flying Canadian flags. This emotional day will continue long into tonight.

Stay tuned for Nicole's thoughts on the final day of the run, the schedule of celebrations today is keeping her 'on the run'!

The final run presentation

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Tomorrow is the big day our run into New York City 10-23-2008

Today we started our run at the border of Nutley and Lyndhurst. This was our second last run of our journey. Our goal today was to run to the Holland Tunnel in preparation for our run into New York City tomorrow. Although there were some logistical and safety issues involved, we all made it to our end destination. Our team would like to send a special thank you to Jerry Deltufo for all the help in planning our run through Nutley and the Holland Tunnel. We would like to thank Lt.
Zovistoski of the Bergen County Police Department for helping arrange our police escorts today. At the start of the day we were met by Officer Nick Coviello of the Lyndhurst N.J. Police Department who escorted us until we were met by Officer Michael Andrews of the Kearny N.J. Police Department. Officer Andres together with Sgt. John De Knegt guided us to the city limits of Jersey City, N.g. Officer Paul Weidmuller of the Jersey City Police Department took over our escort at this point.
We want to thank all of the Police Officers of the Jersey City Police Department for guiding us safely through the congested streets to the Holland Tunnel. You were awesome. We also want to apologize to the Port Authority for any concerns caused by our run today. Thank you to Lt. Robert Vargas, Officer Nunzio Deipriore and Sgt.
Bill Weber for showing us where we were to meet tomorrow and for guiding us to our hotel. A special thank you to supervisor Laurie Price for co-ordinating our run through the Holland Tunnel tomorrow. It was very nice to meet you as well.
It was an interesting day for all of us. We have never run on a major highway before. Today’s run was similar to running on the 401 in Canada. Our escorts blocked off traffic and kept us safe as we made our way to the Holland Tunnel.
Thank you Barry Stein (President of the CCAC) Gail Grief, Julie Wajcman, Hilary Christo and everyone at the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada for all of the support and organization of Sophie’s Run.
On route today, Jill’s family arrived to cheer us all on. What an emotional reunion, especially with her children Ryan and Brooke. There were many tears and both children were so proud of their mom for everything she has accomplished. As we made our way back to our hotel we were greeted by many more family and friends. The excitement and anticipation has already started. We want to thank everyone for coming to support us on this monumental day tomorrow. We love you all!! As I watched Jill and her daughter hug today I was happy for them but sad that I won’t be able to hug my mom at the finish line. My emotions and nervousness have started to set in. I don’t know whether to cry or to cheer for the accomplishment.
I am scared that after tomorrow the run will be completely over. Over the last two years I have tried not to cry because I didn’t want people to know that I am still grieving her death and missing her every moment of the day. While running today I could see my mom so vividly. Different memories of her raced through my head. I remember the good times we spent together; our trips to Niagara shopping, going to the movies, our weekend in Kingston……….As we ran up a hill in New Jersey today at the very top we could see New York City in the distance. This is when reality set in that our destination was not far away. At this point I started to get very emotional. I thought I would start to cry, but instead I continued to think about my mom. There is one image of her that I will never forget and today I envisioned it until the end of our run. It was the day that she went into the hospital. After she had been admitted I came into her room to see her. Her eyes told me that this was the end. They looked sad and she just shook her head to tell me that she couldn’t take any more treatment or pain. I know this was so hard for her to tell me and I will never forget this day for as long as I live. I thought about this memory today because this was the image that made me want to make a difference and spare others from having to go through a similar situation. I also thought about the song today “The Rose.” When I return home to visit my mom the two gifts I will take her are a bouquet of roses and the very first pair of running shoes I wore that started this journey.
The Rose “Some say love it is a river that drowns the tender reed Some say love it is a razer that leaves your soul to blead Some say love it is a hunger an endless aching need I say love it is a flower and you it's only seed It's the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance It's the dream afraid of waking that never takes the chance It's the one who won't be taken who cannot seem to give and the soul afraid of dying that never learns to live When the night has been too lonely and the road has been too long and you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong Just remember in the winter far beneath the bitter snows lies the seed that with the sun's love in the spring becomes the rose”
Love the Sophie’s Run Team………xoxo

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Be passionate about a cause 10-22-2008

Only two days left until our entrance into New York City. Wow!! Today was our much anticipated run through Nutley, New Jersey. The entire Sophie’s Run team is in awe with the events, support, and warm welcome that we received. There were children and adults lined up on the streets to cheer us all on. The Sophie’s Run team would like to thank everyone that came out to support us today. Thank you for making us feel like home. Nutley is a special place that has so many great and genuine people. To Mayor Joanne Cocchiola, Esq and Loren McCreesh (Program & Events Coordinator from the Township of Nutley-Department of Public Affairs) it has been our pleasure to have you welcome Sophie’s Run into your community. Loren, all of your planning resulted in a very special day. For the first time on our journey we were joined by a cross country team from Nutley High School. The runners had a meet the night before and decided to make Sophie’s Run their recovery run. We were also joined by three teachers from John H. Walker Middle School. One of the schools we passed today was Washington Elementary School (one of five in Nutley). All of the students were out to greet us there as well. What a great group of students and terrific runners. Keep up the running to you all!! We would also like to thank Officers A. Kulzy & A. Van Dorn of the Nutley Police Department for their escort. Enroute we were joined by PTLM. Nicholas Ugliarolo and many other escorts that helped us through Nutley.

We are all anticipating seeing our family and friends begin to arrive tomorrow. Jill has been away from her children for awhile and I know that she is anticipating the reunion. Natalie’s mom Rosemary called today and was in tears with how much she misses her daughter. With all of the great people we have met on our journey we all still miss our family and friends dearly. We all couldn’t have made it through the trip without the support of everyone back home.

One of the teachers that ran with us today came to do an interview at our hotel. Mr. Joseph Bertuzzi is an outdoor teacher that encourages his students to participate in outdoor activities. With all of the video games and technological advances that we have grown accustomed to, we often forget about how beautiful and rewarding the outdoors can be. After seeing how excited all of the students and runners were to participate in Sophie’s Run I realized that besides the awareness of colorectal cancer we need to encourage others to take part in continuing to make a difference in the world. I regret that I didn’t get involved in causes earlier in my life. It was not until I lost my mom that I became so passionate about the fight against colorectal cancer. I find it so rewarding to know that every mile has saved at least one life. To every student that we met today, follow your goals and be passionate about a cause. Believe in yourself and know that you have what it takes to make the world a better place. Every step today made a difference in someone’s life.

Instead of a song today, I wanted to share a quote from the book No Limits But the Sky

“The Power Within”

Within our reach

lies every path

we ever dream of taking.

Within our power

lies every step

we ever dream of making.

Within our range

lies every joy

we ever dream of seeing.

Within ourselves

lies everything

we ever dream of being.

Love the Sophie’s Run Team………xoxo

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


A wonderful homecoming in Nutley, New Jersey 10-21-2008

Today was a day off for our team. After running 7 days straight, our legs needed the rest. The day started with an interview at CBC News in New York City. It was neat to be interviewed by a Toronto reporter in New York City. I was nervous at the start but everything went well as the interviewed progressed. My dad and Uncle Mike made sure that I was at the CBC News studio in time. We all learned how the bus system worked in the City. Thank goodness my dad and Uncle were there to guide me in the City. Without them, I have no idea where I would have ended up.

Before the run started I had sent an email to the Mayor of Nutley New Jersey, Joanne Cocchiola, Esq.. I received a response from Loren McCreesh, the Progarm and Events Coordinator from the Township of Nutley. From the moment that Sophie's Run started, Nutley New Jersey was on board to make the run a reality. Loren has been so instrumental in helping us to re-route our run into Nutley and has helped to plan our entrance into New York City through the Holland Tunnel. Our team cannot express our sincere gratitude to you and the Mayor for all of your assistance. You have made us feel as though we are back home!!

We would like to thank Michelle Galasso of Classic Athletic Club in Lyndhurst for the massages today. We appreicate everything you have done for all of us runners. We appreciate all of your support!!

Tonight we were invited for dinner at Lisa and Mike Martin's house in Nutley, New Jersey. Lisa had lost her father to colon cancer. This was our first home cooked meal in almost 8 weeks. Lisa and Mike welcomed our team into their family home with open arms. We would like to thank them all for their hospitality and warm welcome. It was so nice to meet you all!! I couldn't believe that Lisa's background is Ukranian. She had cooked us a spectacular meal that had many traditional Ukranian dishes. We all felt at home with such a terrific meal. Lisa, I will dedicate my run tomorrow to your father. Thank you for everything!!

Today in an interview with CBC News the reporter had told me that everytime she mentioned my mom I would smile. I didn't realize that I do this. This was one of the nicest things that anyone has ever said to me. Everytime my mom's name is mentioned I am proud to speak about her and the battle that she fought for close to a year. Her and I will arrive in New York City together on Friday. Physically I carried on her fight, but emotionally she helped me to get through many tough times. I still have a lot of regret about her death. After speaking with Lisa tonight and learning that her father didn't even get the chance to be on chemotherapy, I realized that I was lucky to be given an additional 9 months with my mom. My mom would tell me that her cancer had calcified so that I couldn't look up her symptoms on the internet. She was right, I couldn't find any symptoms of cancer where a patient had calcified. The truth is that my mom's lymph nodes had metastasized. She was keeping me from the truth so that I wouldn't worry about her and her advanced stage of cancer. The regret that I live with is a personal struggle. Although I cared for my mom everyday, I feel that I didn't do enough. Will the run be enough? Do I feel I need to continue to run because I feel like I have failed my mom with her succumbing to her disease? If only I knew the anwser to these questions. If only...................

Today's song is "Stairway to Heaven"

"And its whispered that soon
If we all call the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason.
And a new day will dawn
For those who stand long
And the forests will echo with laughter.

If theres a bustle in your hedgerow
Dont be alarmed now,
Its just a spring clean for the may queen.
Yes, there are two paths you can go by
But in the long run
Theres still time to change the road youre on.
And it makes me wonder."

Love the Sophie's Run Team...............xoxo

Monday, October 20, 2008


4 days left… :( 10-20-2008

Today we began our day just outside of Nutley , NJ. Nutley is our next major stop this week before we run into New York City. We look forward to our run in Nutley on Wednesday. The town has been so welcoming of the Sophie’s Run team from the moment they found out about our run. Even though today was supposed to be our day off, we seemed to have missed about 6 miles on our planned route. We made up the extra miles today. Even though it was only 6 miles the extra day of running was not welcomed by our legs. Our legs felt as though they each weighed 100 pounds. Our escorts for the first part of the run were Sergeant Richard VanEenennaam from the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department, CPL. Thomas DeLorenzp, CPL. Allen Nunex, and Det. Edwin Lozada. Thank you all for your support today. We all appreciate everything. Our escorts today realized that the three of us crazy Canadians are somewhat direction “illiterate.” I led Nat in the wrong direction twice today. After our second change of escorts I had thought that we were supposed to finish at a school. The poor intersection was shut down twice as they watched us go back and forth in front of them. The RV was in the intersection and my dad described us as something you would see in a comedy movie. I could only imagine what the residents in NJ thought of us.

Going into the 8th week of running has taken a toll on our bodies. Jill is still hurting from a sore leg. She continues to have her ice baths after every run to try and keep some of the swelling in her ankle down. Nat has experienced a sore bottom foot and me a sore top of the foot. Unfortunately we all don’t have the time to recover and just keep “motoring” on. We would like to send out best to Dave Kenny…….we know that you are right here with us and are all thinking about you during this difficult time!!

Tonight we made our first visit into New York City to see Time’s Square. Wow!! All I can say is “Wow.” There is so much to see, people everywhere, millions of taxis, shows, gooooooood food………..the list is endless. I couldn’t believe everything there is to do, even on a Monday night. Although we were only in the City for a few hours the excitement gave us goose bumps as we prepare for our run on Friday. To think that we have run this far is still not sinking in. Friday is going to be an emotional day and one that we will never forget.

Today’s song is in preparation for Friday…………

“Eye of the Tiger”

“Risin' up, back on the street
Did my time, took my chances
Went the distance, now I'm back on my feet
Just a man and his will to survive

So many times, it happens too fast
You change your passion for glory
Don't lose your grip on the dreams of the past
You must fight just to keep them alive

It's the eye of the tiger, it's the cream of the fight
Risin' up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night
And he's watchin' us all in the eye of the tiger”

Love the Sophie’s Run Team……….xoxo

Sunday, October 19, 2008


We could almost see New York City in the distance 10-19-2008

Today we started our run in Bloomingdale NJ at the Vesna Blooming Boutique Flower Shop Inc.. Vesna greeted us and presented us with two bundles of blue balloons to decorate our RV. She wished us well on our journey. Thank you Vesna for everything you have done for us the last two days. We will miss you!! Our team also received another pleasant suprise. Barbara and her daughter Mariel came back to cheer our team on today. Mariel was wearing her Sophie's Run t-shirt and pjs to wish us well. We appreicate you taking the time to come to see us on this cool morning!!

CPL David Shaffer, of the Passaic County Sheriff's Department met us and gave us a new route to follow for today's run. The route was safer and free from heavy traffic. Although it did have one large hill, it was very scenic:) While on route, we were joined by Executive Captain Serafino Caporuscio, Lieutenant Mike Dunlop (a member of the Emergency Response Team) and Sergeant Joseph Muccio, all members of the Passaic County Sheriff's Department. Everyone worked together to provide our escort for today's run!! Thank you all so much. We couldn't have done this part of the run without you all. We also found out that Sergeant Muccio has family living in the Barrie Ontario area. Along route today Jill was joined by Matthew Gilbert, a runner preparing for the New York Marathon. He ran part of our route with us, even the unexpected hill. Matthew thank you so much for joining us today and for you support of Sophie's Run. All the best in the upcoming New York Marathon.

Driving in the mountains for the last few weeks was very peaceful and calm. Now that we are getting closer to the City, traffic is heavy and the highways are very confusing. We don't think that they were meant for a RV to be travelling on. We have had many honks over the last two days. Not for support but to inform our team that we would be cut off if we proceeded to enter any highway. We feel for Laverne and Shirley. Laverne we are so proud of you for getting us home from dinner with only one honk tonight.

As we enter the last week of the run we cannot forget that there was supposed to be a team of four runners on our journey. With just over a week left for the start of New York our teammate Tina Braam (a 64 year old triathlete in Milton) experienced chest pains. Without ignoring her symptoms any longer, she went in to see a doctor. I spoke before about "godincedences" and I believe that Tina's story had the help of God. The night she went into see the doctor they immediately admitted her. A few days later Tina had bypass surgery. We are all so relieved that God intervened and saved Tina from a massive heart attack. It made us all realize what is important in life. We may all feel like we are completely healthy and in some ways invisible, but we need to always listen to our bodies and any symptoms that are out of the ordinary. Tina listened to her symptoms and is recovering at home. Although you are not here with us physically we know that you are here with us on the run. Thank you for all of your dedication and advice you have offered in preparation for the run. You truly are an inspiration and we know that you will recover and be even stronger than before!!

On today's run, Matthew Gilbert (the gentleman that joined our run) mentioned something about having goals how everyone should strive for their goals. His words really stuck with me today. I am scared about how I may feel when the run is over. After setting out a goal to run to New York, I wonder what I will do next with my life. I think it is important that I set new goals for myself to achieve. New York has taught me that anything is possible. Don't just settle for "status quo," challenge yourself and belive that you can accompish anything. My mom always believed that she would beat her cancer. Her positive attitude is what helped her live longer with her disease. I often wonder what she is thinking of the run as she looks down from heaven. I know that I will miss thinking of her every step of the way to New York. I worry that I won't be able to enjoy the memories alone with her when the run is over.

Instead of a song today I wanted to share another part of Kim MacGregor and Arline Malakian's book "Be...a Woman: expressions of life."

"The sound of her voice and the smell of her clothes have faded from my memory, but the touch of her hands-I remember those vividly. She had small, short fingers with a slight curve going up each. The skin on top was rough, the palms smooth as silk. She would gently caress my face to comfort, to praise, to admire what she had created."

Love the Sophie's Run Team........xoxo

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Another year 10-18-2008

The very last Saturday of Sophie's Run. It is both a sad and happy day. We are excited that we will be met by our friends and family next Friday but sad that our journey is almost over. We have a tough few days ahead. We usually take every Monday off, but this week we will run 7 days straight. We were again today by CPL. David Shaffer of the Passaic County Sheriff's Department. As we ran up to Echo Lake Road, we were joined enroute by Officer James Spina from the Water Resource Unit of the Pasaic County Sheriff's Department. Today's route had very narrow shoulders, was very curvey, and was busy with traffic. We needed the extra support to ensure our safety. At our third stop we were met by Executive Captain Serafino Caporuscio, of the Sheriff's Department. He stayed with us to the end of our run. Thank you all for the escort today!!

At our last stop we were greeted by Vesna, the owner of Vesna Blooming Boutique Flower Shop Inc.. She presented each of us runners with a bouquet of roses and balloons to decorate our RV. Vesna, thank you for everything. You truly are an amazing lady and we appreciate your warm welcome and support of our run. We will see you in the morning for additional balloons for the RV. At Vesna's shop, we had the pleasure of meeting a little girl named Mariel and her mother Barbara. She came up to find out about our run and to wish us well on our journey.

Today we went back for lunch to Lina's Restorante & Catering located on Main Street in Bloomingdale N.J. All three Sheriff's Officers joined us for lunch. Thank you Executive Captain Serafino Capourscio for treating us to lunch. We really appreicate all of the support from yourself and your department. Thank you Lina for another great meal and for treating us to appetizers and dessert. Natalie swore that she wouldn't eat another dessert until we arrived in New York City. I am trying to figure out how the plate of desserts that Lina brought out (and Natalie picked at 20 to 30 times) qualifys as before New York?

Our team wanted to thank Helen Moch and her staff from the Holiday Inn Express in Newton for their hospitality the last two days. Thank you for making our stay friendly and stress free!! We would also like to thank Wendy from the Holiday Inn in Middletown for your donation to the run!!

The Sophie's Run team would like to thank Val and Ryan and everyone who participated in the Sophie's Run golf tournament today for all the support. Val and Ryan, thank you for all the hard work and dedication on the car wash and the golf tournament.

Today I wanted to share with you a memo that was written by one of Natalie's co-workers. I spoke before about the movie "Pay It Forward" and I wanted to share this with everyone.

Another Year … Another Day to Be Grateful

Saturday October 18th will be my 39th birthday. Yeah, yeah, we all know I’m old – now you know how old! J I’ll celebrate the occasion early the weekend before with my family as we head out to take in some community theatre together. Since the 18th falls on my “no kids weekend”, I’m free to work instead. Might sound crazy to you, but it’s for a good reason. I’d like to work that day and donate my tips to Sophie’s Run. Since joining the Casey’s team and learning about this run that our own Natalie is participating in, I’ve been really inspired by the ladies’ experiences. Both my mom and step-dad have had, fought and won their battles with cancer (breast and prostate respectively), and I’m so grateful to still have them both in my life and in the lives of my three amazing children.

So on Saturday October 18th I’m going to do a different kind of run – “running” beverages and food to our guests! And I’ll donate all of my tips that day to Sophie’s Run.

If you have something to be grateful for and are working on or near the 18th, and also want to donate all or some of your tips to the run, please see Marianne to sign up.

With thanks, I’ll end this note with two of my favourite quotes on gratitude:

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

~ John F. Kennedy ~

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”

~ Albert Schweitzer ~

Friday, October 17, 2008


Jersey Girls 10-17-2008

Today was another great day. We continued our run through New Jersey. We would like to thank all of the residents from New Jersey for cheering us on today. The honking of the horns and clapping outside your car windows was greatly appreicated and helped us get through every step of the run today. Sergeant John Gray and Scott Haggerty of the Sussex County Sheriff's Office provided our escorts to the end of their jurisdiction today. We were then picked up by CPL. David Shaffer of the Passaic County Sheriff's Department. Thank you all for ensuring our safety and escorting us on our journey.

Today Jill dedicated her run to Paul Green. He was a firefighter that lost his battle to brain cancer. She thought of him every step of the way today.

There were no bear sightings today even though one of the hotel employees informed us at breakfast that she had a bear in front of her house this morning. Laverne and Shirley have been on their best behaviour. The RV is still in one piece. It has been a few weeks since Laverne has hit any objects. I would like to warn the residents of New Jersey to be on the look out for him. He seems to enjoy parking at the end of driveways blocking your entrance and exit:) We went to Lina's Ristorante & Catering in Bloomingdale, NJ. Thank you Lina for your hospitality and the great meal!!

After the run is over, I am looking foward to spending some time alone to reflect back on the experience over the past 8 weeks. One of the CDs that I have listened to throughout the past year is by Serena Ryder. This is the perfect CD to relax to with a glass of wine. There are many songs that are re-makes and are very calming. I have listened to one song quite frequently throughout the run. The chorus expresses how I feel on my toughest days. After we had run to High Point (the higest point of New Jersey the other day) I was asked what type of music I listen to. I was sort of embarrased to divulge my music choices. I honestly have a slow mix of music. Anything from opera, Christmas, Celine Dion ballads, Serena Ryder, to many others are on my Ipod. I find music to be very soothing and healing. I think we often take for granted the positive impact that music can have on our lives. Everytime I go and run, I am anxious to listen to a song that will take me away from all my worries and busy life. Music not only reminds me to "Slow Down" but it allows me to reflect on my life. We all have our own "crutches" we use to relax.................for those that don't, I encourage you to welcome music into your life.

Today's song is the chorus that I have listened to from the Serena Ryder CD. The song is "My Heart Cries For You"

"My heart cries for you
Sighs for you, dies for you
My arms long for you
Please come back to me

The bloom has left the roses since you left me
The birds have left my window since you left me
I'm lonely as a sailboat that's lost at sea
I'm lonely as a human can be"

Love the Sophie's Run Team............xoxo

Thursday, October 16, 2008


You are always on my mind 10-16-2008

Today was another run in New Jersey. The sunny warm weather that we were used to for the last while was masked by dismal clouds and splashes of rain. We were still lucky to have warm weather in the middle of October. Our team had been mesmerized by the scenery in the mountains the past few weeks but today we were brought back to reality with urban towns and tonnes of traffic. Our escorts were provided by Sergeant John Gray and Scott Haggerty of the Sussex County Sheriff's Office. Thank you again for keeping us safe through the towns!!

Our first stop was at Fireman Dan's Sport's Lounge. Thank you Janet and staff for the warm welcome and for the t-shirts. You truly are an amazing lady and we were all happy we had to the chance to meet you. Our run today was reminiscent of our journey in Canada. The roads and the smaller hills reminded us of our first week of running. We savioured the day as we were told that there are more hills coming before New York. Dogs were always a worry on our run. We all worried about the aches and pains, but never thought we would ever be chased by dogs. Today we were informed of another creature to be on the look out for. Instead of dogs, Sergeant John Gray told us that Black Bears frequent the areas we run through. These bears are about 600 pounds. He did inform us not to be worried as they wouldn't come after us. I told Nat and Jill to shower in BBQ sauce so that I could get a head start from any of them we may run into.

We arrived at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites in Newton, New Jersey. What a welcome. From the bottom of our hearts, we would like to thank Helen Moch and her staff for their support, hospitality and warm welcome!!

Today is my brother and my sister-n-laws 4 year Anniversary. I was so happy that my mom was able to see one of her children get married. From the look in my mom's face, her son's wedding was one of the happiest days of her life. She was glowing and so proud of him. She loved assisting with the planning of the wedding and making sure that the day was perfect for her son and soon to be daughter-n-law. I hear a lot of stories about families not getting along with their children's spouses. Our family was the opposite. Debbie (my sister-n-law) was a blessing to my brother and our family. She always came to all family events with us and included us into her family celebrations as well. I knew Debbie's sisters growing up and the marriage of Debbie and Jason gave me not only a sister-n-law but three other sisters. Even Debbie's mom and dad welcomed me as their own and my parents as their family and not just friends. We have one big extended family. As my dad and I grieved differently, my brother and I also did as well. He was just as close to my mom as myself. He used to make her laugh and keep her on her toes with all of his funny adventures. I remember when he went to Univerisity and spent a little too much time at the bar instead of in class. He gave my mom quite a story about his grades. She believed him until a newsletter came in the mail and he was front and centre dressed in a toga celebrating with all students on his floor. I wish I could have recorded my mom's phone call to him. Through it all the two of the them shared a special bond. When my mom died, my brother became distant with his grieving. He would sit alone in our backyard smoking on a cigar as he spoke to my mom. He still does this often. We know not to bother him because this is his time to be with my mom. As my brother sits in our backyard tonight remembering his last dance with my mom at his wedding, I dedicate the mother/son dance to both of you tonight,

"Always on My Mind"

Maybe I didn't treat you
Quite as good as I should have
Maybe I didn't love you
Quite as often as I could have
Little things I should have said and done
I just never took the time

You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind

Tell me, tell me that your sweet love hasn't died
Give me, give me one more chance
To keep you satisfied, satisfied

Maybe I didn't hold you
All those lonely, lonely times
And I guess I never told you
I'm so happy that you're mine
If I make you feel second best
Girl, I'm sorry I was blind

Love the Sophie's Run Team............xoxo

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Fathers and Daughters 10-15-2008

Today our run started at the Park Avenue Observatory on the outskirts of Port Jervis, NY. This was a very big day for our team as it would mark the entrance into New Jersey. We were met by Tracy Baxter, a News Director for Time Warner Cable 6 and his cameraman, who interviewed us about our journey to New York City. We were next greeted by Officer Pete Washalski of the Port Jervis Police Department. He guided us through Port Jervis today. As we made our way towards the New Jersey state line we were met by Corporal Dan Storey of the Sussex County Sherrif's Office who took over the escort duties. We waved good-bye and to Officer Pete Washalski and thank him for his assistance.

At our first stop in the State of New Jersey (yeah!!) we were met by Sergeant John Gray of the Sussex County Sheriff's Office. Sergeant Grey was born in Paris, ON. We talked about common places we all have visited. Our second leg of the run today included a 5 km gradual incline that would take us to the highest point in New Jersey called High Point. When we say high, it was high. We all paced ourselves to prepare for a non-stop 5 km hill. After last weeks hills this seemed like a "piece of cake." Sergeant Gray and Corporal Storey provided our escort for the run to High Point and for the rest of our day. You two were absolutely amazing guiding us up the hill!! Thank you. Again, the view from High Point (the highest elevation in the State of New Jersey) was beautiful. We were lucky to have another warm, sunny day so that we could take in all of the surroundings after we made it up the hill. Now that we had run up the hill we all had to run down. Many would think that running down the hill would be easy but the constant "jarring" on the quad and shins can be very painful. We all worried that our momentum would take us too fast and we would fall over and down the hill. Having an infected toe did not help with the downhill momentum. Jill has a swollen ankle that was also bothered as she ran down the hill. We all made it and continued on with the rest of our day.

I have spoken a lot about my mom over the past 6 weeks but today I thought a lot about my dad. My dad and I have always had a close relationship but one that was different from my mom and mine. My mom and I were like two best friends that would shop, talk, and share all of our personal triumphs together. The close bond that my dad and I share focuses more on coversations about sports, life, work, and the future. Many of my personality traits came from my father. Both of us are stubborn, impatient, and reluctant to admit that either of us is wrong when we argue. One thing that we both share is respect, genuity, and our love for my mom and his wife. My dad and I worked together on and off for a few years. The on and off was because he would fire me every so often but my mom would give me my job back..:) My dad owns a pub in Guelph. Both of us thought we knew how to run the business better. One thing I have learned from my dad is how to treat people. My dad loves all of his patrons and friends that come into the pub. They have become an extended family to us. He respects and treats everyone equally. This is a quaity that I have learned from both of my parents. Today while I was running I reflected back on how I treated my dad after my mom passed away. Unfortunately for my father he had to deal with all of my anger. I never knew what I was mad at him for but would just take out my emotions of missing my mom on him. I remember the one night I wanted him to think I had moved out so I packed up my dogs and left in my pjs at about 1 am. After I left the house, I realized that I had no where to go and had to return at 3 am with the dogs and everything to come back to the house. I laughed about this story today because the whole time my dad knew I was just "bluffing." He sort of lets me be knowing that I always return. I couldn't have asked for a better father. He has been on board with Sophie's Run from day 1. He has always been one of my biggest supporters and encouraged every endeavour that I have taken on. I love you dad and I am sorry for all the hurt you had to go through losing mom and having to deal with both your grief and your grieving children................

Today's song is "In My Daughter's Eyes"

"In my daughter's eyes I am a hero
I am strong and wise and I know no fear
But the truth is plain to see
She was sent to rescue me
I see who I wanna be
In my daughter's eyes

In my daughter's eyes everyone is equal
Darkness turns to light and the
world is at peace
This miracle God gave to me
gives me strength when I am weak
I find reason to believe
In my daughter's eyes

And when she wraps her hand
around my finger
It puts a smile in my heart
Everything becomes a little clearer
I realize what life is all about"

Love the Sophie's Run Team........xoxo

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


God Saw 10-14-2008

Today we started our run just outside of Port Jervis. We were met by P.O. Jim Rich from the Deerpark Police Department from Orange County New York. Jim was so helpful as we ran up the Hawk's Nest today. The Hawk's Nest is a very scenic part of New York Route 97. Although there were many curves in the road, up and down hills, and a very small shoulder, the surroundings were absolutely beautiful. We all forgot we were running today as we looked over the edge of the mountain. We all understood why the Hawk's Nest was famous for its natural beauty. Simply breathtaking.................. Thank you to P.O. Jim Rich for the escort. We couldn't have made it through the tight roads without you.

Tomorrow's run will mark a very special day for all of us. We will be entering New Jersey!! We all cannot believe how far we have come. We received an email today stating that in comparision to New York we were about the distance from Guelph, ON to London, ON. This is not far at all!! You almost want to run faster to get to the end, but at the same time you want time to slow down and take in the last few days. Although we still have a few challenging days ahead we feel that the toughest part of the run may be behind us. Only time will tell.

As we ran up the Hawk's Nest today, I did think about my mom a lot. I thought about how nice it would have been to visit the beautiful site together. As I thought about my mom, I realized that we were visiting the site together; only she was up above and me down on earth. I thought about a poem that she had left for me to find after she passed away. She struggled to tell me that the end was in sight. I didn't want to hear that she was dying so she rarely persisted on upsetting me. In her own little way, she left me a poem in between her recipes for Easter. She knew that I would be cooking Easter dinner so she tucked it in between all of the recipes I would need. Instead of a song I would like to share this poem. This let me know that her time had come and that my mom was ready for heaven...........

"God Saw

God saw you getting tired

When a cure was not to be

So he closed his arms around

You and whispered “Come to me”

You didn’t deserve what you went through

So he gave you rest

God’s garden must be beautiful

He only takes the best

And when we saw you sleeping

So peaceful and free from pain,

We could not wish you back

To suffer that again."

Love the Sophie's Run Team..........xoxo

Monday, October 13, 2008


Preparing for week 7 and the Hawks Nest 10-13-2008

Today our team enjoyed a well deserved day off. Our bodies needed the break after the grueling week. The day began with a radio interview with the Hudson Valley News. After a full 6 weeks of running we had so many more stories to share with the media about our progress and our soon-to-be entrance into New York City.

Earlier in the afternoon we had to visit a local mechanic shop to fix one of Laverne’s mishaps. I am not sure how well he will do in Vegas driving the bus with pole dancers. It may be a bit of a bumpy ride!!

Today I spoke to my brother’s mother-in-law Betty. She was over at our house celebrating Thanksgiving. I had to laugh a bit because I asked her if she could “physically” see my dogs at home. I tease my brother because every time I call I cannot hear my dogs barking (that is unusual). Betty assured me that my dogs were doing well. My mom was a huge pet lover. She had a soft spot for dogs. Her and her father shared the same compassion for animals. My mom’s father would bring home almost every stray animal he could find. At one point they had two cats, a dog, and two birds. When my dad and mom first got married they were told that they could not have any children. This upset them very much. To comfort my mom, my dad bought her a dog (a Yorkshire Terrier). Just shortly after they welcomed the dog into the home, my mom became pregnant with my brother and than me. My parents were so thankful for the opportunity to raise my brother and I and we were blessed to have them both as our parents. They considered this their miracle. My brother and I always had dogs in our lives growing up. They give an unconditional love that is limitless. I will never forget taking my mom to “see” the dogs that we currently own. I told her that I just wanted to show her these Schnoodles. She told me that we would go and look but not buy one. As soon as we walked in, my mom had picked out two dogs and my brother and his wife the other. She was relentless in there!! This was the type of lady that my mom was. She was compassionate, caring, and genuine beyond words. Those dogs were meant to be in our lives. They sensed my mom’s cancer and would lie beside her and comfort her on her tough chemotherapy days. I believe that they helped her live a little longer. I will forever be so protective of my dogs at home. They helped my mom in so many ways; keeping her warm when she brought home her chemotherapy for two days and barking when she needed help. Never underestimate the intelligence of an animal…………they truly sense what us humans may not know.

Today’s song is “Maybe Someday”

“They say that nothing lasts forever
But we know our two hearts beat together
And though you're far away
Every night I pray
Maybe someday… someday…

Maybe someday
I will understand
baby someway
We'll trace these footsteps in the sand
just walk away… maybe someday”

Love the Sophie’s Run Team……..xoxo

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving 10-12-2008

Today we began our day at the Carriage House restaurant in Barryville. Another beautiful day for running. We have been so lucky with the weather. We thought we would running in cool weather by now, but so far it is still shorts and T-shirts.
The leaves continue to change as we run through the mountains. Jill had a fox run in front of her today. If I had seen the fox, I may have jumped right off the mountain!! Terry, my cousin, joined us for our run again today. Although yesterday was flat, today he had to face a couple of hills with us. We managed to get through the day and celebrated another successful week. On route today we met Ron Babus, a U.S. Park Ranger. He stopped by to find out what our run was about and wished us well for our remaining journey.
We had lunch in Port Jervis. At the restaurant we met a group of young Ukrainian’s having breakfast/lunch. One gentleman was from Canada and wrote for a Ukrainian newsletter. They were all interested in our run and wished us well on our journey.
Many of the patrons at the restaurant were very welcoming of us, offering their support for the rest of our journey.
Today was a tough day for us being away from our families for Thanksgiving. Being away since September 1 seems so far away. I am lucky to have my dad with me, but still miss the rest of my family very much. Jill has been away from her children, and Nat from her parents and brother and sister. My cousins (Uncle Mike and Chocha
Pat’s children) came to spend the weekend with us. I wanted to thank the team for all of the sacrifices they have made to be a part of Sophie’s Run. I know how hard it has been for them to be away from their loved ones. We would like to thank the Americana Diner and Family Restaurant in Middletown, NY for cooking us a traditional turkey dinner. You have made our Thanksgiving very special. The food was tremendous………..and sooooo filling. The General Manager, Jimmy, arranged our dinner.
Thank you for everything. To Corinne, our server, we couldn’t have asked for a better server!! We felt like you were a part of our family. Corinne lost her father to cancer about 30 years ago.
Instead of a song today, I thought I would share a part of a very special thank you.
At Natalie’s families Thanksgiving, every member must say what they are thankful for at the dinner table. Natalie’s sister’s boyfriend is in Iraq until the spring.
He sent his thank you to the family and I wanted to share a piece of it for the blog. It really makes us realize what we all should be thankful for…………… “I guess what I am thankful for is quite simple; really the simple things in life that oft go unaccounted. I am thankful for hot water to shower and shave with;
thankful for electricity and plumbing and windows and comfortable beds. All these things are mostly non-existent here and the people know nothing of them and are happy despite these things. I am thankful that I can walk/run/drive down a street at home and not have to worry about the road blowing up underneath me or someone shooting a rifle/rocket or grenade at me. The people live with all of these things here every single day and have been doing so for the last thirty odd years. It is not quite normal to be shot at or even shot here, simply for living and for no other reason.”
Love the Sophie’s Run Team……….xoxo

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Christmas in October?? 10-11-2008

Although it is Thanksgiving weekend, today we received an early Christmas gift with a relatively flat run. What a difference from the hills that we experienced throughout the week. Uncle Mike and Chocha Pat’s children (Terry, Rob, and Tanya) came to visit for the Thanksgiving weekend. Terry joined us on our run today and was able to keep up with us three women. We were hoping for some big hills for him but he got off easy with a flatter day. Although the flat surface was a welcome relief, the pounding on our legs has taken its toll. Stiff quad and calf muscles are a now a part of our remaining runs. Today we continued to run through Sullivan County. We were blessed with another beautiful scenic run. Our day ended at the Carriage House Restaurant. We met many great patrons at the restaurant. Our team had the pleasure of meeting Robin; a breast cancer survivor. We would like to thank Robin and Billy for their donation towards our run.
This poem was written by a terminally ill young girl in a New York Hospital. It was sent by a medical doctor. Jeff and Jill forwarded on the poem to me. The poem touched me deeply and I wanted everyone to have the chance to read such a beautiful poem that speaks the truth about life and about living every day to the fullest. On this Thanksgiving weekend, it makes me appreciate everything and everyone that I am so thankful for.
“Slow Dance”
Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?
You better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.
Do you run through each day
On the fly?
When you ask How are you?
Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done
Do you lie in bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?
You’d better slow down
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.
Every told your child,
We’ll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time
To call and say ‘Hi’
You’d better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.
When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift…..
Thrown away.
Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over.
Sent by:
Dr. Dennis Shields, Professor
Department of Developmental and Molecular Biology
1300 Morris Park Avenue
Bronx, New York
Love the Sophie’s Run Team……….xoxo

Friday, October 10, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving weekend 10-10-2008

Today we began our day in Delaware. Another beautiful day. The leaves are turning, sun shining, and warm weather………….what more could we ask for. This is the perfect weather and scenery to start our Thanksgiving weekend. Today was another long run that had its share of tough hills. There is nothing we can do to avoid these hills so we just accept what we have ahead of us each day.

We stopped for lunch at The Carriage House restaurant. As we were leaving the restaurant, my dad met a couple from New Jersey MIke and Arlene who donated $100 to our cause. Thank you for the support.

After spending the last 5 days in Villa Roma, we have now moved to the Holiday Inn in Middletown. We would like to thank the owners and staff at Villa Roma for their support and hospitality during our stay. We will be back to visit!! We would also like to thank the owners and staff at the Holiday Inn in Middletown for their warm welcome and hospitality.

Many of us on the trip are away from our family and friends this Thanksgiving. It is hard being away from family during the special times of the year. It is even harder missing family members that are no longer here to celebrate with us. On this trip we have formed a family and a new tradition. We are all thankful for so many things, but most importantly for our continued health among us all. I look back to the very first Thanksgiving without my mom and how I dreaded all the first holidays. I have to be honest, the second year of holidays was harder on me emotionally. This is when it truly “hit me” that my mom was not going to be with me physically. During the first year without a loved one, we seem to be preoccupied with friends and family helping us to get through the tough times. Although we still have friends and family with us in the later years, it is the actual time span without a loved one that makes you realize your holidays will never be the same. This weekend will be a time of reflection. I ask everyone, what are you truly thankful for?

Today's song is "Thank You For Loving Me"

"It's hard for me to say the things
I want to say sometimes
There's no one here but you and me
And that broken old street light
Lock the doors
We'll leave the world outside
All I've got to give to you
Are these five words tonight

Thank you for loving me
For being my eyes
When I couldn't see
For parting my lips
When I couldn't breathe
Thank you for loving me
Thank you for loving me"

Love the Sophie's Run Team...........xoxo

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Laverne a liar?? 10-09-2008

Today we ran through Delware. Although it rained last night, we were blessed with a beautiful, warm, and sunny day. This allowed us to take in even more breathtaking views during our run. As we run up the mountains and look below, the trees, water and rock magnify in the sunlight. We couldn't of picked a better time of the year to run. We are all still working through our aches and pains. As we try to heal each night from a heavy day of hills, we get hit with just as many hills the following day. Recovery is no longer a word that is in our vocabulary. The end is in sight for us and this keeps us moving up the hills.

Laverne did not hit anything today, but he did tell a little "white lie" that he found very funny!! After our first stop, he told us ladies that it was pretty flat for the rest of the day. As we began to run, it was flat for about 1 km, but then there was another huge hill followed by about 3 others. Nat was swearing aloud at him the entire way up the hill.......lol!! Thank you Laverne for getting her up the hill!! Jill has continued to recover from her tight calf and is motoring up each and every hill!! Jimbo has a new camera and has become quite the photographer. He now positions us for every shot for about 2 to 3 minutes. Uncle Mike and Chocha Pat are both doing well. Uncle Mike keeps us in line and ensures that we are all on track throughout the trip. He also wrote an article about us ladies for a newsletter that I will share parts from later in the week.

Today I thought a lot about how far all of us have come in 6 weeks of running. An ending that seemed so far away is just around the corner. Although we are in our toughest stretch, we all see the finish line and are so motivated and excited to get there. I know that I have written about what we will do after the run, but today it really hit me that it is coming to an end. I wish time could stop or slow down. This was the same feeling I felt when my mom was ill. The days went by to fast. I remember watching the movie "Back To the Future" many times as a young adult. How many of us would travel back to the future? I often wonder when one goes through the final stages of their life if they do travel back to the future before they enter heaven. What goes through their minds? I truly feel that my mom was remembering her mom and dad when she was passing in preparation for their reunion in heaven. As I look back, I would give anything to travel back in time if only for a day or two. This should be a lesson to everyone to live each day to the fullest. Don't let time pass you by or live with regret. Go after what you dream and always believe in the impossible. Learn from the bad and the mistakes that we make. We are not perfect. After the run is still a mystery. I am scared about how I will feel but I believe that every journey has a purpose and maybe I will truly discover my purpose when I get home........

Instead of a song today, I write from Kim MacGregor and Arline Malakian's book "Be.....a Woman: expressions of life." Every woman should own this book!!

"With my feet upon the ground...I tread.
With my hands to touch and hold...I feel.
Life has taken me to many places,
marked by the distance traveled,
measured both in miles and emotions.
In stillness...I catch my breath.
How capable I have been."

Love the Sophie's Run team.........xoxo

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Bingo 10-08-2008

Today we ran from Sullivan County to Delaware. We were all in awe of the scenery in the mountains. Looking down at the trees changing colours made us forget about all the hills we ran through yesterday. Although dogs are still a worry on our trip, as we get further up the mountains we now see deer wandering in the woods. It is breathtaking and peaceful. Our run today was flat at the start. As we continued to recover from yesterdays hills, we all thought we were in the clear of any 3 mile lifts today. We were wrong!! At about the 15 km mark we were faced with two large hills. At this point I couldn't feel my feet. Thank goodness for the mental toughness. Just when we wanted to give up, we all pushed ourselves to the finish line. Ironically, our last stop of the day was at a Church. Someone was looking down on us today.

Natalie and her family have a good friend Slyvia Pitt. Slyvia has been following the run and encouraging us every step of the way. Colorectal cancer is close to Slyvia's heart. She lost her husband to the disease a few years back. Today Natalie dedicated her run to Cass Pitt, the husband of Slyvia. Cass was watching over us ladies as we pushed our way up the last two hills!!

After our run today we came back to Villa Roma. We decided that we would relax by joining in on a game of Bingo with about 60 Seniors. We thought that we could earn some more money for the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada. Bingo is definetly not our game and will just stick to running. The only thing that Nat wanted to win was the oreo cookies that were part of the grand prize. We had to fight the Seniors for the package of cookies and needless to say we came out empty handed. The bingo brought back many memories of my Baba (grandma) who lost her battle to colon cancer. She too ignored all of her symptoms. By the time she went in to see a doctor it was too late. My Baba was instrumental in my life while growing up. She would take care of me during many summer months. I have many fond memories of the times I spent with my Baba. I get a chuckle today as I think of how she would always worry about me playing sports and being a bit of a "tomboy." I will never forget how she would sit me down and teach me how to knit and do the things that "little ladies" enjoyed doing. With this being said, she was always one of my biggest fans at soccer games and basketball games. When my Baba was diagnosed with cancer, her reaction was so different from my moms. My Baba accepted her illness, but just didn't have the strength to fight her disease. I would go over to visit her and many times she didn't have the strength to even open her eyes. I still live with the pain of seeing my Baba have to suffer as she did. Although I miss her very much, I thank God for reuniting her back with my Gigi (grandfather). Afther she lost my Gigi, she was never the same. Deep down I know that she longed for the day that they could be together again.............

Today's song is "The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face"

"The first time ever I saw your face
I thought the sun rose in your eyes
And the moon and the stars were the gifts you gave
To the dark and the empty skies

The first time ever I kissed your mouth
I felt the earth move in my hands
Like the trembling heart of a captive bird
That was there at my command my love"

Love the Sophie's Run Team..........xoxo

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


The only thing flat today was my chest 10-07-2008

I couldn't resist the title of the blog...........but it was true. We began our day in Hancock. We all knew that this would be our toughest week, but we didn't expect what we were faced with. Throughout the past five weeks we have had to deal with many aches and pains. Jill has had a tight calf and IT band, Nat felt her quad muscle tighten on our hills and was afraid it would tear, and myself I have dealt with a tight IT band and have had problems with the changes in altitude. We are all working through our aches and pains; finding quick solutions so that we can heal and continue to run everyday. We don't have any time to recover from injuries and just have to work through them. There are days when our bodies tell us that enough is enough, but we push them past our maximum threshold. With our hardest week ahead, we will continue to work through our pain and push our bodies to reach our end goal.

Today was my hardest day of the run. I almost puked going up a 3 mile hill. The problem with the hills is that we don't know how high they are. As I have said before, we felt that it was best not to know what we were faced with each day. Mentally, I have decided that I want to run up the hill as fast as I can to get it over with. I learned today that this was not the best move. As I ran up the hill, I was struck by a major change in altitude. I went from warm to completely freezing and my chest felt like it was hit with a hammer again. This was the first time I almost cried from the pain and almost puked. Thankfully the support from everyone helped me to make the chest pain go away. The problem with running fast was that I couldn't catch my breath and I wasn't getting enough oxygen into my lungs. I have learned my lesson!! I run for Tom (a fellow employee) at work every Tuesday and I thank him for being my inspiration today!! Jill has been battling through a tight calf and IT band. This has put lots of pressure on her knee and causing pain both before and after she runs. She is working through her pain and battling the remainding days. Nat has also worked through aches and pains. In the past she tore her quad muscles when trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon. This is on her mind as she runs through the mountains. She strained it the other day and was worried that it would tear again.

We would like thank our support team.........my dad, Uncle Mike, Chocha Pat, and Jeff Harper for taking care of us ladies. You all mean so much to us!! We couldn't do this without you all!! Thank you dad and Uncle Mike for fixing the banner today!! To Julie, Gail, and Hilary at the CCAC, thank you for the help and support from the CCAC.

At lunch today we talked a lot about how our remaining days are all major accomplishments for us. We are sore and tired but after every run we feel as though we have conquered the world. This reminded Jill of her mom and her father-n-law battling cancer and me of my mom. When my mom was sick, we treated her illness on a day-by-day basis. Jill spoke about when her mom would eat a yogurt and how everyone felt that she was on her way to recovery because of the accomplishment. I know exactly what Jill meant. My mom lost her appetite during chemotherapy. I remember how her taste buds dramatically changed and she would have me on "scavenger hunts" to find foods that would satisfy her appetite. She called me one day to ask if I could find her a banana cream pie. I looked everywhere and couldn't find one for her. I felt that I had let her down. Everytime I brought her a meal home, it was a 50/50 chance that she would like it and if she didn't I would go back out to get her something else. I will never forget the time that I made her home-made spaghetti sauce. I cooked all day hoping that I could get her to eat. She ate a little bit; usually the portion of a young child. I went out with my dad to the pub after she had her dinner. She called me at the pub to tell me that I made her sick because I used the wrong tomatoes in my sauce. I was so upset with my mom and hung up on her. I came home and we both cried saying how sorry we both were. My mom never meant what she said to me. Her chemotherapy took away her taste buds and she was frustrated that she couldn't gain the weight she needed to fight her disease. As she was dealing with dying, she was frustrated that there was nothing she could do to reverse her cancer. I was frustated that there was nothing I could do for her to make her better. I would have taken my mom's place at any point of her illness. I loved her and still love her that much. I admit that being a caregiver was emotionally very tough. I keep a lot inside about how hard it was to watch my mom die. I still try to block a lot of it out of my mind. There are times that I felt I didn't do enough for my mom. She told me everyday how much she loved me and appreciated me caring for her. I try to keep this memory in my mind to keep me going every day......................

Today's song is "Your Raise Me Up"

"When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up... To more than I can be."

Love the Sophie's Run Team............xoxo

Monday, October 6, 2008


Gravy 10-06-2008

Today was our regular day off. We enjoyed the beautiful scenery and surroundings of Villa Roma. We spoke to guests, sharing our story and continuing to raise awareness. We are gearing up for our sixth week of running. We are all anxious and nervous as we get closer and closer to New York city.

We would like to thank United Medical Associates in Binghampton NY for all of their support again towards Sophie's Run. We really do appreciate everything.

My brother sent me an email last night asking me if I knew how to make our mom's mushroom gravy. He is preparing to cook Thanksgiving dinner and will be serving our traditional pierogies with dinner this year. On our trip, we have all spoken about our heritages, traditions, and things we remember about our moms. Jill's mom was a fabulous baker and has passed on many of her traditions to Jill. I have tasted Jill's baking and I can tell her mom passed on some wonderful recipes. Nat's mom loves to cook as well. Nat speaks about her mom's lemon meringue pies and mincemeat pies. I remember my mom in the kitchen cooking before every holiday we celebrated. Her and I would go shopping every Thursday to pick up the groceries we needed for the holiday dinners. My mom would start cooking and always prepared food for 50 people instead of the 20 we had over for dinner. She would teach me how to prepare all of the traditional dishes; borscht, perogies, mushroom gravy, and cabbage rolls. In our last year together, she would write down all of her recipes ensuring that I knew how to prepare everything for when she would be gone. I remember cooking the borscht for the first time. My mom was too ill to sit with me in the kitchen. I would run up and down the stairs with the pot of soup so she could taste it and make sure I was following her instructions. Borscht is a traditional beet soup. I wish I had more time to learn all of her recipes. In my mind, I thought that she would be with me longer than a year. I think that my mom knew she didn't have many more holidays together. She was preparing me for when she left. I am so proud of my brother for wanting to carry on the traditions that my mom taught both of us. Never forget your heritage or your traditions. These are the two things that make us rich in life
and help us to keep the memories of our loved ones alive. I can still smell my mom's mushroom gravy in the kitchen and the cabbage rolls and pierogies cooking. I would give everything to see her again and to spend another holiday cooking together for our family..........

The song today is Wintersong lyrics by Sarah McLaughlin

"It's late and morning's in no hurry
but sleep won't set me free
I lie awake and try to recall
how your body felt beside me
when silence gets too hard to handle
and the night too long,
and this is how i see you
in the snow on Christmas morning
Love and happiness surround you
as you throw your arms up to the sky
i keep this moment by and by
oh how i miss you now"

Love the Sophie's Run Team..........xoxo

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Someone is looking down on the Sophie's Run Team 10-06-2008

Today the team was given a break with an extra day off. We are still on schedule, but there was a four lane Highway between Deposit and Hancock that was not safe to run on. It would be like our team running on HWY 401 from Milton to Toronto. Even though we had a day off, we still needed to train. We want keep our muscles and joints thinking that they should still be running on the Sunday.

We would like to thank the Holiday Inn in Binghampton for their wonderful hospitality. We were there for the past few days and are now staying at the Villa Roma. Thank you Villa Roma for your hospitality. We look forward to the next five dayts. This will be our stay for the next 5 days. We may actually be able to unpack our suitcases while we are here. During our run yesterday, we met Frank Verdon who was a nursery operator outside of Deposit. After speaking with him, he informed us that he would go in to find out if he should be tested and have a colonscopy.

As we enter into our sixth week, we all know that this will be the toughest stretch of the run. The terrain and hills are going to be a huge challenge. This is where the mental part of the run becomes so important. I remember calling out my mom's name to help me get through one of the toughest hills last week. I anticipate that this week I will have to remember my mom's worst days and the pain she suffered to get me up these mountains. There is one image of my mom that I will never forget. It is the day that she knew she would be going into the hospital to die. The look of anguish and despair on her face still breaks my heart today. I remember her looking at the house knowing that it would be the last time she would see it. I went with her to the hospital knowing that there was nothing that I could do to make things better. I felt so helpless for her and I would have changed places with her in a second. As she laid in the hospital in pain, I kept on telling her that she may be able to have radiatation on the tumor that had re-surfaced. My mom just shook her head at me to tell me that she couldn't go on any longer. This day still haunts me today. My mom always did everything to make me better when I was ill and there was nothing that I could do to make her better. This is the week that I will go on for her. I won't give up on any of the hills. I am so lucky to have such a great support team. Together we have gotten one another through the tough journey. I know that Jill's and Nat's moms are with both of them as well. Nat told me tonight that she will never forget the day her mom went into surgery to have one of her lungs removed. We feel so helpless waiting for answers from the doctors when our loved ones are ill. It is a roller coaster ride of emotions. These are the emotions that make us all fight for a cure..............dry your eyes mom.........
Today's song is is "Mama" sung by Il Divo

"Mama, thank you for who I am
Thank you for all the things I'm not
Forgive me for the words unsaid
For the times I forgot

Mama remember all my life
You showed me love, you sacrificed
Think of those young and early days
How I've changed along the way [along the way]

And I know you believed
And I know you had dreams
And I'm sorry it took all this time to see
That I am where I am because of your truth
And I miss you, yeah I miss you

Mama forgive the times you cried
Forgive me for not making right
All of the storms I may have caused
And I've been wrong, Dry your eyes [dry your eyes]"

Love the Sophie's Run Team..............xoxo

Saturday, October 4, 2008


A day free of hills 10-04-2008

Today we began our run just outside the Village of Deposit. We were escorted by Broome County Sheriff's Deputy Daniel Browne. He also led our escort earlier in the week. Thank you for the help again today!! What a great day of running. The weather warmed up and the sun was shining. We also were blessed with a relatively flat surface for the majority of the run.

As we entered Deposit, we were greeted by Sue Moranda and Tiania Shaffer of the American Cancer Association. They were honking their horn and cheering us on as we ran into their town. They followed us to our second stop. Sue and I spoke briefly about the importance of early screening for this disease. It was interesting to talk about the different health care systems that are in Canada and the United States. One thing I learned is that we all have a common goal to reduce the number of lives lost to this disease. Being aware of the signs and symptoms and taking preventative action is something that should be a "MUST" and not just a "WHEN I HAVE TIME." At our second stop, we were intervied by Deborah J. Stever, a reporter with the Deposit Courier.

Yesterday outside our hotel, we met a very nice lady that told us she lived in Deposit. She said that she was going to try and come to see us run today. Just as we were heading into the last stretch of our run, she ran up and down the street cheering us on and wishing us well. Thank you for the support.

Tonight we are joined by many people from back home. Natalie's mom and dad (Rosemary and Tom) stopped into visit us on their way home from Myrtle Beach. Rosemary never forgets her sprakling CCAC T-shirt that she designed. Everyone will see the beautiful design when we arrive in New York. My brother, sister-n-law and my nephew (Jason, Debbie, and Cole) are all here for a visit. It has been a whole month since my dad and I have seen them. They were joined by my cousin (Rob) who is my Uncle Mike and Chocha Pat's son. Three other very special visitors are the Specks. Charlie, Julie, and little Hannah all came up to lend us their support.

Seeing little Cole and Hannah come visit us reminds me of how innocent children are. Both children are so precious and have brought a calm and warmth to our journey. My mom would always say that she lived her life for her children. She would tell people that her children are #1 and that her and my father were #2. She sacrificed many things in her life to be the kind of mother that her parents were to her. The journey to New York does have many sacrifices by all involved, but the reward in the end is that lives will be saved and people will become aware. The sacrifice is worth the reward. As I look at Cole and Hannah, I think about how the run will impact their lives in the future. They are are future and we are their hope to make it bright, peaceful, and possibly cancer free..............

Today's song is "The Children Are Our Future"

"I believe the children are our are future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be
Everybody searching for a hero
People need someone to look up to"

Love the Sophie's Run Team............xoxo

Friday, October 3, 2008


Do you believe in miracles 10-03-2008

We started our day today just outside of Windsor. It was a cool and rainy day. The temperatures have been slowly dropping as we make our way into October. We were met today by Deputy John Goodwin of the Broome County Sheriff's Office. Our team has forgotten what it is like to run on flat surfaces. As we continue to make our way through the mountains, we are faced with 3 km hills that are on a slant. Our right legs are getting a real work-out as they try to keep us from sliding down the wet and slanted surface. Although this may not seem to bad, the pain it causes on your opposite leg and knee can lead to injury and constant pain. This is something that we did not expect, but something that we are all working through. In Windsor, we were greeted by a lady at an elementary school who rushed out to give us water. Although it was raining, she still came out to wish us well. Thank you!! On route today, Jason Whitman of WBNG News came to film us as we made our way up the 3 km hill. Thank you Deputy John Goodwin, we appreciate you being patient as we made our way through the mountains.

Today was another great day of meeting some truly remarkable people. We would like to thank United Medical Associates in Binghampton NY for all of their support towards Sophie's Run. To Charles (Chuck), Jon, Alisha, Darryl, Karen, and Stacey, we appreicate everything you have done. Your kindness will never be forgotten.

As I am writing this, Nat just had a suprise visit from her mom and dad. Welcome back Rosemary and Tommy. We have missed you very much.

To Cindy and Todd, thank you for your card and the "gift" for the halfway point of the trip!!

At dinner today, Jill mentioned the word "miracle." Do you believe in miracles? I believe that things all happen for a reason, but I am not sure if I 100% believe in miracles. When my mom was sick, I prayed for a miracle. While on her chemotherapy, she had a couple of major set-backs. During one of her set-backs she had a burst ulcer. We were told that there was a strong sense that she would not make it through the night. I prayed and prayed to God that he would let her live, even if it was just for another month. I was looking forward to the month of August with my mom and going to my Chocha Pat and Uncle Mike's cottage as we did every long weekend in August. My mom did live for another month and we did have a great last month together. Ironically enough, my mom died on the day that she had a scheduled colonscopy to try and remove some of her tumor. Is the miracle that my mom lived through her burst ulcer? Or should the miracle have been that she was able to have most of her tumor removed? Or is the miracle that she did not suffer any longer with her disease? I cannot answer these questions because I am not sure if the miracle I was looking for was truly answered. I am still confused about my mom's death, but maybe a miracle will happen to me......................

Today's song is Sarah McLachlan "Ordinary Miracle"

"When you wake up everyday
Please don’t throw your dreams away;
Hold them close to your heart
Cause we’re all a part
Of the ordinary miracle.
Ordinary miracle

Do you want to see a miracle?
ohh ohh ohh, ohhh ohh ohh...

It seems so exceptional
That things just work out after all.
It’s just another ordinary miracle today.

Sun comes up and shines so bright
And disappears again at night.
It’s just another ordinary miracle today.
ohh ohh ohh, ohh ohhh ohh...
It’s just another ordinary miracle today."

Love the Sophie's Run Team.............xoxo

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Windy in the mountains 10-02-2008

Today was a long run. After a day of rolling hillllllllllllsssssssssss, we had another long day of running ahead. We ran through Harpursville today. We were escorted by Deputy Daniel E. Browne. Thank you for the escort today!!

Running through the mountains does have its advantages. Although the hills have been a challenge, the beautiful view of the trees turning colour across the mountainside is breathtaking. The weather has started to cool off. We faced a very windy stretch today. I thought we were going to blow away. Running in the wind is very difficult. You need to force your legs to get you past the resistance.

So, just when we thought mailboxes and safety lights were all that Laverne would hit................we were wrong. We apoloigize to all residents that Laverne did hit your street sign and actually got it stuck on the side of the RV. The sign was there to warn drivers of the curve in the road. Luckily it wasn't broken and is still in place.

The team has suggested that I needed a hair cut on more than one occasion, or rather a make-over. So, I decided to take the big step today and cut my hair. I am so happy that I did because my dad, uncle and I were introduced to the best hair place in Owego called Shear Paradise. Betsy and Katie are the owners and welcomed us with open arms. To all their employees (Jennifer, Julie, Jen and of coures "Bad Bob" who cut my hair) thank you for everything. The staff contributed to the run and were so supportive of our journey. To patrons Valerie and Gayle, thank you as well for your donation. If anyone is in Owego and needs a hair salon please go to visit Shear Paradise. What genunie people and terrific people!!

We would like to thank the Owego Treadway Inn and Conference Center for their hospitality of our team. Your facility is beautiful and the food is terrific.

Today I dedicated my run to Michele , the lady that I met in the Cornell bookstore this past Sunday. She had sent me an email and spoke called a coincedence a "godincedence" that I spoke about in a blog earlier this week. I truly believe our meeting was meant to be. Two strangers becoming friends and sharing stories of our mom's deaths. Thank you for the support Michele. Today is the 35th anniversary of her mom's death. Michele is a 5 year colon cancer survivor and her sister is a survivor as well. I read about Michele's story she wrote for the Colander on www.colonclub.com. As I think about Michele's story, I see how strong she is both losing her mom and being a survivor. I hope that I can be as strong as her in the future. I can't run away from everything forever. I run to raise awareness, but I alslo run to hide the grief that is deep inside. I fear for the a day that I may never be able to run again. I hope that day will never come, but I have to be realistic. Many ask me if I will run when I return home. I tell them I will slow down to please them, but honestly I am not ready for that yet. I am addicted to being with my music and alone with memories of my mom. Maybe a "godincedence" will happen upon my return that will help me to cope in other ways. Time will tell, but I am slowly opening the door............

Instead of a song today, I wanted to quote a bit of Michele's Lattimore Sedor's story.

"I think the message in all of this is that you continue to live. Once you are diagnosed, it’s not a death sentence. You have to keep one foot in front of the other and it’s like my doctor said, “This will be over in six months and you’ll be living a good life.” I look at it now and say not why me, but why not me? I’m in a position that my family is so recognized and we are so large, people can look at me and we’ve shared our story so many times in an effort to get people to understand this is so serious and so sneaky. In my case, it just snuck up on me."

Love the Sophie's Run Team............xoxo

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


One big day of hills, hills, and more hills 10-01-2008

We began our day at the Chenango Forks Volunteer Fire Department. Kenny Belanger, proprietor of a fruit stand, donated peaches and a jug of apple cider to our team. Thank you Kenny. We appreciated the extra fuel to begin our day. We were escorted today by Sgt. Dennis R. Rowlands of The Broome County Sheriff's Department. Him and his wife are expecting their first child in April, 2009. We wish them all well!!

Today we ran wearing the Elmira Fire Department T-shirts in memory of Lieutenant Vincent Francis Giammona. Lieutenant Giammona died in the line of duty on September 11, 2001 (9/11)."

The best way to describe our day was hiiiiiillllllllllllllllsssssssssssssss and more hills. The three of us runners had decided at the beginning of the trip that we didn't want to know or see the route that we would be running. We felt that this would discourage us and we felt that it would be better if it were a suprise. Well today was a suprise. It seemed as though we were running up and down hills all day. We are definitely developing some tight butts for Laverne and Shirley to look at in the RV!! Put your sunglasses on boys!!

We stopped for lunch today at Gramma Country Cafe in Harpursville. We spoke to many people in the diner who were either cancer survivors or had relatives that were recovering from cancer. Everyone wished us well on our awareness campaign. We continue to meet so many inspiring stories and people along our journey.

Today we moved to new stop at the Owego Treadway Inn. My dad met Randy Oste at the hotel. He had told my dad that his wife had undergone a colonoscopy and had polyps removed. This demonstrates how important early detection is for this disease.

We are happy to have Jeff join us on our journey. He was at home running a golf tournament for Sophie's Run. Thank you Jeff for all the work for the run. Our hotel looks onto a river. Jill, a vetern fisherwoman, was able to get in quick hour of fishing. We are anticipating her catching some large fish and cooking us dinner one night. Nat would love to send a big hello to all her Casey's friends and family in Guelph. She thanks everyone for all the well wishes and messages.

At lunch today, Jill spoke about her mom's cancer. Jill lost her mom to breast cancer. Near the end of her mom's cancer, Jill moved home to take care of her. Our conversation made me think a lot about when I was caring for my mom. I would research on the internet and constantly ask questions looking for a cure that would save my mom. As a little girl, I dreamed about getting married and having children. I looked forward to sharing these memories with my mom. When my mom became sick, I felt that time was running out and I felt guilty for not getting married and giving her grandchildren before she left this earth. I still live with this guilt today. I wanted to find a cure and stop time so that my mom would be there with me to pick out a dress and be in the hospital with me when I delivered my first child. The guilt that I feel has caused me to close the book to these parts of my life. Maybe one day I will change my mind, but only time will tell. Maybe my life was not meant for children or a marriage. If not, I will not live with the regret but rather live a life that would make my mom happy. I will live
with with the values my mom taught me and be a good Chocha (Aunt) to all my nephew and soon to be niece or nephew. Time will only tell the journey that is ahead.....................

Today's song is "In This Life" by Delta Goodrem

"I was nurtured I was sheltered
I was curious and young
I was searching for that something
Trying to find it on the run
Oh and just when I stopped looking
I saw just how far I'd come
In this life
In this life
You give me love
You give me light
Show me everything that's been happening
I've opened up my eyes"

Love the Sophie's Run Team..............xoxo

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Laverne has lost a headlight 09-30-2008

Today was the official start of our fifth week. We began our day at the Lisle Post Office. We were met by County Deputy Sheriff Daniel J. Balmer who provided our escort for the entire run today. County Deputy Sheriff Daniel J. Balmer lost his mother to Lieukemia and his father is currently battling throat cancer. Thank you for the escort and all the best to your father. On route today, we were met by Jan Carabeo of News Channel 34 in Binghampton, N.Y.. She interviewed us and filmed part of our run.

We may need a new RV driver for our trip. I guess Laverne thought that mailboxes were too boring to hit, so instead he took out one of the safety lights at the back of the RV. I do admit it was a tight fit over the bridge, but the best part of the day was his explanation of the events. He has insisted that we only need one safety light and that the other one was unnecessary. I will remember this when driving his car back home!!

Today was another day of firsts. Upon a recommendation by County Deputy Sheriff Daniel J. Balmer, we went to lunch at the Speedie and Rib Pit to try our first Speedie!! What a treat. A speedie is marinated chicken meat or pork that is served on a sandwich or pita. There are different combinations, but all were excellent. We spoke to Taleen, one of the ladies that served us our lunch. She informed us that her sister had recently had a colonoscopy and that they found 9 polyps, but none were cancerous.

As we were driving back to our hotel today, we stopped for gas at the Dandy Mini Mart in Savre P.A. A woman who recently underwent an operation on her back, approached my dad and Uncle Mike about the run. She gave them both a hug, wished us all a "God Bless" and made a donation. She had seen the interview on News Channel 36 the previous day.

We would like to thank Kyle for continuing to keep the blogs on the site up-to-date!! You have been a great friend along the journey. Also thank you JF for keeping the CCAC site going.

Thank you Chocha Pat for keeping our towels all washed for us!! We appreciate it all. Also thank you Patti for thinking about Sophie's Run and chosing it as the charity this year.

I will never forget the day that my mom lost her hair while on chemotherapy. My mom was always a lady that had her hair "just perfect." We always joked with her about how much hairspray she used in her hair. She always made sure that she was dressed up before leaving the house. I was quite the opposite. My idea of getting dressed up would be my track suit or jeans, and a sweat shirt. Either way, she always let me be comfortable when we went out together. I was so worried when I found out that my mom would lose her hair. Together, with her hair dressor, we went to pick out a wig made for her. She was so beautiful in her wig. She absolutely loved her wig better than her real hair. When I would drive her to her chemotherapy appointments she would constantly pull down the visor to look at her hair in the mirror. Her wig made her look about 20 years younger. I was so happy that she could still feel beautiful as she went through very tough treatments. For me, the hardest part of caring for my mom during her illness was trying to give her the best last days of her life. The wig was one way that we were able to make her happy going out and feeling good about herself. I wanted to quote again from Kim MacGregor and Arline Malakian's book Be.....a Woman: expressions of life.

"I promise to be ture to myself,
to turn away from judgement and cast aside fears.
I promise to find strength from within,
to surrender to happiness and admire individuality.
I promise to love who I am,
to accept myself and others for who they are.
Whether I am a daughter, a friend, a sister,
or a lover, I promise to always be me."

Love the Sophie's Run Team.......xoxo

Monday, September 29, 2008


Brokedown Palace 09-29-2008

Today the Sophie’s Run Team enjoyed a much deserved day off. After a week of hills and unexpected terrain, the rest was appreciated by all. Although it was a day off, the team still woke up early and worked out in the gym to keep our muscles and joints loose.

My dad and Uncle Mike went to the Elmira Fire Department to work on the banner for the RV. We would like to thank the Fire Department for their hospitality and warm welcome of our team. Allowing us to use your facility was very kind and generous. Our entire team visited the Fire Department later in the afternoon. It was great for Jill to continue to meet the fire departments along our route. Jill always told us that the Fire Department is a big family. Our team has realized how strong the family is from Milton to Ithaca to Elmira. While speaking with the Elmira Fire Department we learned about Lieutenant Vincent Francis Giammona. Lieutenant Giammona died in the line of duty on September 11, 2001 (9/11). That was the day of his 40th birthday. What a hero he was in the eyes of his peers and to the Sophie’s Run Team. Our team will wear the Elmira Fire Department T-shirts in honour of Lieutenant Giammona on one of our runs this week.

Before lunch, we were interviewed by Ted Fioraliso of News Channel 36 (ABC). Thank you Ted for covering our story. Just after our interview our team was honoured to meet Mr. Allen Fusco, the owner of the Elmira Holiday Inn we are currently staying at. Mr. Fusco, we want to thank you so much for everything you have done for our run. Your hospitality and kindness is so much appreciated. We will continue to use all the kindness we have received and run our hearts out.

Laverne is up to his old tricks. My dad (Laverne) has informed the Sophie’s Run team that he has an interview in Las Vegas. He has decided to apply to drive a bus for pole dancing. I wonder how he will get a job without a reference!!

Today during our interview with Ted Fioraliso, he had asked the question as to what is the easiest and hardest part of the run. In thinking about the easiest part of the run, it is by far the company that we are all surrounded by. We all have different stories and different pasts, but yet we all are guided by a strong vision and mission. What we have learned about ourselves and about one another is so special and something that will make us all stronger as we move forward after Sophie’s Run. If asked, would you do something like this again, the answer is simple………….it is a yes. My mom taught me to live selfless. Whatever I can do to continue to give back to others I will definitely try to be a part of.

Today’s song is dedicated to Mr. Mott, my mom’s old boss. The song is Brokedown Palace by the Grateful Dead. This song was written by Jerry Garcia for the passing of his mother.

“Fare you well, my honey, fare you well my only true one.
All the birds that were singing are flown, except you alone.

Im Going to leave this brokedown palace,
On my hands and my knees, I will roll, roll, roll.
Make myself a bed by the waterside,
In my time,in my time, I will roll, roll, roll.

In a bed, in a bed, by the waterside I will lay my head.
Listen to the river sing sweet songs”

Love the Sophie’s Run Team………xoxo

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Paul Gordon 09-28-2008

Today marked the end of 4 full weeks. In regular fashion, our last day of the week has always been the hardest. It poured rain. We fought through it. Our feet are raisins. We are hoping that they go back to normal by Tuesday. We had two other visitors today. Gerry and Irene Chopiany left Mississauga at 4am to join us on our run today. For all of us Ukranians they came with Kielbasa and Rye Bread!! Thank you so much for the snacks!! Deputy Sheriff Clifford J. Alexander escorted us for part of the run again today. Thank you for your help.

Us women are in our zones!! We all have a common goal and nothing is going to stop us from getting there........not even the rain. Today was a day of many firsts. Jill had her first ice bath, and Nat and I both went to the bathroom in the bushes for the first time in our lives. As we run through the mountains, we realize that we are far and from many towns and cities and have to make adjustments along the way!!

Today I thought about Paul Gordon. Between finishing school and going back for my graduate degree, I have worked for Gordon Food Service for close to 5 years. Although I never met Paul Gordon, I was able to learn about the core values that have made his company a huge success for both internal and external customers. Integrity and his faith in God were very important to him. I remember being at work and recieving an email that Paul Gordon was ill. I read the letter that he sent to all Gordon Food Service employees. This was the first time that I truly learned about Paul Gordon. I almost cried at my desk reading that letter. It was a turing point for me. After my mom had passed, I did have stages of being angry and upset that God had taken my mom away from me. I didn't understand why he had taken such a beautiful and caring lady. As with many things, I avoided going to church. After reading Paul Gordon's heart-felt address to his employees and how he was ready to journey to God, I realized that it was not God that I should be angry with. This letter made me feel at ease knowing that my mom was in a peaceful and pain-free place and now in the hands of God. Although both may be gone too soon their legacies live on............

Today's song is "Gone Too Soon"

Like A Comet
Blazing 'Cross The Evening Sky
Gone Too Soon

Like A Rainbow
Fading In The Twinkling Of An Eye
Gone Too Soon

Shiny And Sparkly
And Splendidly Bright
Here One Day
Gone One Night

Like The Loss Of Sunlight
On A Cloudy Afternoon
Gone Too Soon

Like A Castle
Built Upon A Sandy Beach
Gone Too Soon

Like A Perfect Flower
That Is Just Beyond Your Reach
Gone Too Soon

Born To Amuse, To Inspire, To Delight
Here One Day
Gone One Night

Like A Sunset
Dying With The Rising Of The Moon
Gone Too Soon

Gone Too Soon

Love the Sophie's Run Team.........xoxo

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Chocolate 09-27-2008

After enjoying a week of warm weather and beautiful sunshine, today we were faced with some rain. It poured this morning, but by the time we began running it turned to a light mist. We had two very special visitors who joined us on their bikes as we ran today. Dave and Joanne Ardill came up to show their support. Thank you for joining us today and for lunch as well. We will see you soon in New York.

The start of today marked the halfway point of the run. We are all so suprised that we have already completed 50% of our journey. Where has the time gone!! As we made our way through Ithaca over the past few days, today we started to enter the mountains and "rolling hills" that will be a huge part of the run for the next two weeks. We ran through Richford today. We would like to thank Deputy Sheriff Clifford J. Alexander for escorting us today. Deputy Sheriff Clifford J. Alexander is also the Fire Chief for the Richford Volunteer Fire Department. He is a 20 year veteran at the fire department.

We finished our day today at the Country Folks Diner in Richford. This was the same restaurant we ate at yesterday. We would like to thank the owners Elaine Berlin, Melissa Zuck, and Fred Berlin for their donation and wonderful food. We would also like to thank our server Renee Rockwell for her great service for the second day in a row. We will see you all in the morning as we depart for another day.

After lunch we went to visit Cornell University. What an amazing University. The old historic buildings and the view in the mountains of the leaves changing colour made this day so special. While in the Cornell store, we met a lady that is a 5 year colon cancer survivor. Her story was very inspirational and we wish her a very healthy future!! I think that Nat bought every article of clothing with Cornell on it. She could pass as a student. Actually, we are dropping her off to class tomorrow and giving her a day off running. Good thing she looks good in red. After our visit to Cornell University, we all went to the Ithaca Apple Festival.
Ummmmmmmmm caramel apples and great food!! What a way to cap off a great day.

We would like to thank Uncle Mike for all his help in organizing us ladies. We appreciate everything!!

Today was one of the first days that I took in the beautful scenery that we were surrounded by. I usually am so focussed on the road ahead, but today was a day that I couldn't resist watching the trees change colour in the distance. As I enjoyed the scenery, I thought a lot about my mom and her love for chocolate. My dad has a sweet tooth for chocolate on this trip and it made me think back to when my mom would hide her "stash" of chocolate in the house from my dad. This was her weakness, but something that she looked forward to while watching tv each night. In typical fashion, my dad would be upstairs watching his shows and my mom and I downstairs. She would hide the chocolate in a drawer in our family room. She used to have me on the look-out to make sure that my dad would not be coming downstairs so she could enjoy her choclolate all to herself.
If he would appear unexpectedly, that chocolate would be hidden so fast from his sight. I talk about the chocolate today because it is part of the healing process.
When my mom passed away, I tended to stop watching the television shows we enjoyed together, stopped going to the places we used to shop in, and stopped following any routine that was a part of our lives. I found that I would get claustrophobic if I was watching a show we enjoyed or in a place that my mom and I would frequent. I still have not been to the movies since my mom passed away. These are the steps that I need to take. Maybe the memory of the chocolate will help me to overcome my fears and start to allow myself to heal. I cannot answer all of these questions yet and do not know if I ever will be able to. Is there a time frame that we should get over the loss of a loved one? Are we ever completely healed? When does the hurt go away? or does it?

Today's song is Angel by Sarah McLachlan

"In the arms of the angel fly away from here From this dark cold hotel room and the endlessness that you fear You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie You're in the arms of the angel May you find some comfort here"

Love the Sophie's Run Team.........xoxo

Friday, September 26, 2008


United We Stand 09-26-2008

We left the Holiday Inn Ithaca this morning to take up residence at the Holiday Inn Elmira for the next 5 days. We want to express our thanks to William Else (The Chief Engineer) and his staff for all of their assistance during our stay. We thank all the staff, especially Paul Klinger, for all your kindness and during our stay. I know I have said this before, but today was truly an amazing day in so many respects. The Sophie’s Run Team is still in awe with the events that took place today. It all started out with a huge welcome reception from the Ithaca Fire Department. As we arrived at the Central Station in Ithaca we were greeted by a large number of Fire Fighter and other Fire Department Personnel, many dressed in shorts and T-shirts. There was also a fire truck draped with a large Canadian Flag and a large American Flat. Ithaca Fire Department Fire Chief Brian Wilbur informed us that the fire truck would be part of our escort and the fire fighters would run with us. The send off was very heart-warming and humbling. Jill always speaks so highly of her fellow Fire Fighters and Chief Brian Ellsworth in Milton and now we understand the strong bond that exists. When we say Ithaca is beautiful, this includes all of the residents in the community. Fire Chief Wilbur also offered his help with contacting other fire departments and jurisdictions to get them involved. Michelle Darrow, a lady we met during our first evening in Ithaca was also there to offer her support and make a donation to our cause. Michelle is currently undergoing treatment for lung cancer. Her support and donation to the run was very inspirational. This morning we were also contacted by City of Ithaca Police Officer Matthew Pagliaro who informed us that her and Officer Brett Cary would provide our police escort. Officer Pagliaro was one of the Police Officers stopping traffic as we ran through Ithaca. The support this morning demonstrated that we are all united. American or Canadian, we are all touched by cancer. Together we raised awareness and all embarked on a mission to stand up to this terrible disease. We do not know how to thank Ithaca for the warm welcome. Us ladies will take your kindness and continue to give back to those we meet on our way to New York. We began our run with a police car in the lead, the fire truck behind, the runners, two more fire SUB’s, the RV, another police care and Jeff Harper. Many other Police Officers stopped traffic as we made our way through Ithaca. Our run today included our biggest hill yet!! Almost a 5 km hill!! All of us runners, including those from the fire department, tackled the hill with ease. Great job by all!! Hopefully we can all feel our butts in the morning!! At our first stop the police, the fire vehicles, and most runners departed. Before he left, Fire Chief Wilbur presented us with hats from the Ithaca Fire Department and a bumper sticker that read “Ithaca is Gorges.” Ithaca Fire Fighter Scott Eaton and his father Ron, continued and finished today’s run with us. Thank you Ron and Scott Eaton; you are a great father and son team.

We ate lunch at the Country Folks Diner in Richford. We told our story to those in the Diner in Richford. They too were touched by our story. They talked to us about their exposure to cancer, either personally or through family members. One of the diners spoke of his wife who was undergoing treatment for kidney cancer. We pray for her recovery. Melissa Zuck, one of the excellent cooks and owner of the Country Food Diner made a donation to our cause. Thank you!!

We arrived in Elmira today and were welcomed with open arms by Misty Purdy, the Director of Sales. She arranged a welcome reception for us at the hotel that included Angelo Fusco, people associated with the local Cancer Association, members of the local Chamber of Commerce, Becky Thatcher and Tom Sawyer. During the reception we were interviewed by Salle Richards of the Star Gazette. Elmira is also a very special town to visit. We learned that Mark Twain used to write in Elmira. At the hotel, a young girl and boy dressed up as Becky Thatcher and Tom Sawyer to demonstrate the rich history that surrounds Elmira. The history of the town is encompassed in the hotel. Misty thank you for your hospitality and for introducing us to your community.

Today was such an emotional day. The kindness by everyone is something that has touched all of us deeply. Arriving at the Ithaca Fire Department brought back the same emotions that were felt on September 1, when we left Milton. As the community thanked us for doing this run, it is truly us that want to thank you. Thank you for making us all feel as though we were back home with friends and family. The Sophie’s Run family has expanded and it includes so many new friends from the Ithaca and Elmira area. God Bless………...

Today’s song is “We Are The World”
“There comes a time When we head a certain call When the world must come together as one There are people dying And it's time to lend a hand to life The greatest gift of all We can't go on Pretneding day by day That someone, somewhere will soon make a change We are all a part of God's great big family And the truth, you know love is all we need” Love the Sophie’s Run Team……….xoxo

Thursday, September 25, 2008


An Amazing Day 09-25-2008

For the past few days we have been staying at the Holiday Inn in Ithaca. The support from all of the staff has been truly amazing. We would personally like to thank the Director of Sales, Paul Klinger for everything you have done for our team. Paul, you truly understand customer relationship management!! I will definitely pass on our experience and encourage others to stay at your facility. Thank you from us all!!

Our run began with a visit from Allison Lazarz, a reporter from NEWS 10 NOW, who met us at 9:30 am this morning at our starting pint on US 96, on the outskirts of the City of Ithaca. She interviewed us and filmed segments of today's run from start to finish. Thank you Allison for all of your support. Jeff Harper took up the lead position again guiding us safetly to the City of Ithaca.

Yesterday we were paid a special visit from Jill's daughter Brooke, and her friends Tallon and Allison. These ladies were cheering us on with posters and balloons at every stop today. We loved the poster that read correctly this time "Go Girls!!" You ladies rock!!

As we entered the City of Ithaca, we were met by the City of Ithaca Police Officers Derek Barr and Scott Peters, who together with a number of additional Police Officers escorted us safely to our final destination at the Ithaca Fire Department Central Station. Police Officer Derek Barr told us that his mother was Canadian and that he had many relatives in Sudbury, North Bay, and other parts of Northern Ontario.

We all want to thank Assistant City of Ithaca Police Captain John Barber for all his assistance in making today's run such a success.

At the end of the today's run we were met by Ithaca Fire Chief Brian H. Wilbur and all of the Fire Department Personnel. Fire Chief Brian H. Wilbur, himself a survivor of prostrate cancer, greeted us warmly and presented us with Ithaca Fire Department T-shirts. Both Nat, myself and our team were so happy for Jill today. We truly saw the love and passion that Jill has as a firefighter. She ran past Nat and I today in anticipation of finishing at the fire department. Both Nat and I were proud to see our fellow runner and friend enjoy a special day. Jill we are all proud of you!! Jill ran the last 5 km in her bunker gear and Nat wore Jill's firefighter jacket as we entered the Ithaca Fire Department. Thank you Fire Chief Brian H. Wilbur for welcoming us with open arms.

The warm hospitality offered by Paul Klinger and the staff at the Holiday Inn in Ithaca, the fabulous police escort provided by the City of Ithaca Police Department, and the warm reception given to us by the Ithaca Fire Department made this day very memorable.

Later in the day we were interviewed by Rob Montana of the Ithaca Times. We told him about our journey and he is writing a story for next weeks paper.

The Holiday Inn in Ithaca was hosting a Guest Appreciation function at 5:00 pm in the lobby of the hotel and Paul Klinger offered to set up a table for us during this event so that we could speak to guests and promote our awareness campaign.

We would like to thank my Uncle Mike for all the help arranging the escorts, interviews, and keeping us organized. Thank you Uncle Mike.

Today was a very tough day for my dad. September 25th would have been my mom and dad's 37th wedding anniversary. It is so special to know that my mom and dad shared such a strong and loving bond for so many years. I wanted to share a story about "the ring." This story has made me believe that God does work in magical ways. On my parent's 34th anniversary, my dad thought it was their 35th. He had a special ring made for my mom. My mom found out about the ring, but told me not to tell him it was only their 34th. There my dad was planning a big dinner to present her with the her special ring. Family and friends came to share what my dad thought was the their 35th anniversary. As he presented her with the ring, she said to him "honey this is only our 34th anniversary." This ring was meant to be given to my mom at that time in her life. She enjoyed it for close to a year before she died a few weeks before their 35th anniversary. I believe that God played a hand in the my mom's ring being one year early. My dad always said that he will never have another love like the one he had with my mom. My brother and I will never have another love like our mom either. Our loss has made us closer and stronger as a family. Dad, I know that mom is thinking about you in heaven today. One day you will be together again. She always told us that we were lucky to have a father like you!! Mom was so right. We love you very much. As we celebrate my parent's wedding anniversary, we are also blessed and happy to announce that my brother and his wife are expecting their second child. With death there is birth!! My mom is so proud tonight to see the love between Jason and Debbie expand into a loving family as her own. Life is a circle that has good and bad times. Today is a day to celebrate. Although we are septarated by heaven and earth, there is no separation in the love we have for each other.

Today's song is "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong

"The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
They're really saying I love you.

I hear babies crying, I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll never know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world"

Love the Sophie's Run Team..........xoxo

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


The resilience of the human body 09-24-2008

Today we were met by Seneca County Deputy Sheriff James Conkey who escorted us to the county line. April joined us for parts of the run today. She tackled one of our biggest hills with ease and fit in well with the team today. The weather was in our favour. We were blessed with sunshine and a cool breeze to for our trek. We were all in awe at the beautiful countryside from afar. Jeff Harper took over the lead as we entered Tompkins County. As we ran through Trumansburg a passing Trumansburg Police Officer with lights flashing pulled in behind the RV to assist us through the town. As we made our way along today’s route many people showed their support by honking their car horns and giving us a thumbs up signal.

On the home front, Laverne and Shirley have been relatively quiet. Everyone was worried about how they would handle us three women for 8 weeks. I think that they have learned how to tune us out or they may have bought some ear plugs for the remainder of the trip. Through it all, they continue to keep us in line!!

After our run today, we went to visit a beautiful waterfall in Ithaca. It was the perfect day to see the beauty that surrounds this area.

We talk a lot on the road about our body’s ability to recover and how far we can push it both physically and emotionally. We have all realized that there is both an art to running and a mystery that will are all trying to uncover on our journey. As we prepare for our days on the road, we cannot predict how we will feel the next day or if our bodies will tell us that it has had enough. This is where the emotions and the mental strength take over. Before my mom was diagnosed with cancer, her body went through a similar resilience as the three of us running. As she continued to lose blood, lose weight, and have constant fatigue, her mental strength is what kept her moving every day. She continued to go to work and take care of our family as she always had. She did this for 2 to 3 years; ignoring her symptoms out of fear and lack of education about the disease. When she finally went to see the doctor, she needed 3 blood transfusions. Ourselves and the doctors do not know how she went to work and functioned as thought nothing was wrong with her. If only, if only, if only…………………..it is the “if only” she had gone in sooner that keeps us focused. Although we are taking a physical toll on our bodies, the mental strength the three of us have is unsurpassed………….

Today’s song is Strong Enough.

“God, I feel like hell tonight
Tears of rage I cannot fight
I’d be the last to help you understand
Are you strong enough to be my man?

Nothing’s true and nothing’s right
So let me be alone tonight
Cause you can’t change the way I am
Are you strong enough to be my man?

Lie to me
I promise I’ll believe
Lie to me
But please don’t leave”

Love the Sophie’s Run Team………xoxo

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


The time is flying by 09-23-2008

Today we started our day just outside of Geneva. We were met by Seneca County Sheriff’s Deputy Frank Eldredge. He was with their K-9 Unit and had his dog in the back of his vehicle. He provided our escort today. While taking a rest in Ovid we were met by New York State Police Officer Kenneth Hilkert. He stated that he had seen an email that had notified all the local Law Enforcement Officers to be on the look-out for the Sophie’s Run Team. Jill’s son Ryan and his girlfriend April came up to visit us for a few days. They were a great support in following us and encouraging us every step of the way. Ryan is quite the fisherman. Before we even started running, he caught a Bass just outside his hotel room.

The run today was a nice downhill slope. We have learned to appreciate these days as we prepare for the mountains ahead. I have been rooming with Nat for the last 3 weeks. I think I am in need for a new roommate (hoping Jill will take me in) after Nat left me to fend off another dog. I was nice enough to let her know that the dog was coming and she was nice enough to leave me there with itJ

During lunch we met two inspirational people. One was a cancer survivor and the other one is currently battling the disease. Both wished us well and were touched by our mission to raise awareness. Hearing their stories signified the importance of the run and our mission to save lives and stand up to this terrible disease. After lunch, we went to our hotel at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Ithaca. Our team would like to thank Paul and his team for their welcome reception.

One of the books that I have been reading on the run is called Be A Woman: expressions of life by Kim MacGregor and Arline Malakian. Both Kim and Arline lost their mothers to colon cancer. Their book has not only been inspirational, but the messages through the pictures and words have been a welcome addition on the journey of Sophie’s Run. My mom always made me feel beautiful. As I struggled to find my own path in life, there were very difficult times where I felt that I was never smart enough, beautiful enough, courageous enough, or strong enough. During all these times, I was always beautiful in my mom’s eyes. I miss our countless evenings sharing laughs and even crying together. I often go for drives alone at night hoping that I can find that comfort and moment to still speak with her. I know that she is listening and I know that she hears me. She taught me that beauty starts within. She instilled in me the values, generosity, and love that allow my beauty to surface and not be afraid of the world outside. In my eyes my mom was beautiful each and every day we were together. Even though her chemotherapy took a toll on her physically, her inner beauty and warmth could still be felt through her smile and loving touch. I now understand why heaven is so beautiful………… Instead of a song today, I wanted to quote from Kim MacGregor and Arline Malakian’s book Be A Woman: expressions of life.

“The window of my soul reflects the sun,

Provides a shield from the pain,

Washes clean with tears.

It is the internal divide

Between what is seen on the outside,

And what exists on the inside.”

Love the Sophie’s Run Team…..xoxo

Monday, September 22, 2008


Gearing up for week 4 09-22-3008

Today was our third day off on our journey. After a grueling week, the day off was well deserved!! Great job by all on another successful week. Our awareness campaign continues to touch lives and make a difference in every town and city we visit.

Today started out with a radio interview with Todd Messer from the WHCU news team in Ithaca. They will be airing the interview to help promote our awareness campaign.

Natalie’s parents came up for a visit last night. Tommy (Natalie’s dad) was at a function on Saturday night. He spoke about his family and mentioned the run to the crowd. After he spoke, a lady came up to him to donate $20 towards our cause. She had lost a family member to colon cancer. Our run is continuing to raise awareness back home. We would also like to welcome Chocha Pat and Jeff back!!

Today we met a young bellman named Justin!! Justin you rock!! Thanks for carrying all of our luggage and for giving us a great tour of the property.

One of my favourite movies is “Pay It Forward.” In the movie, a young boy works hard at trying to better the world. He lives his life giving back and helping people by “paying it forward.” Today, the three runners were treated to a very special day from Blayne Johnson. Blayne is a good friend of Jill and Jeff Harpers. When he found out about the run, he wanted to do something for us runners. Blayne we cannot thank you enough for your kindness today. We all appreciate everything you have done. Us ladies will take what you have given us and “pay it forward” each and every day we run. We will use our day to continue to make the lives of those around us better and maybe one day cancer free. Thank you!!

At the end of the movie “Pay It Forward,” the song “Calling All Angels is sung. Our team dedicates this song to everyone tonight…..

“and every day you gaze upon the sunset
with such love and intensity

why it`s...it`s almost as if

if you could only crack the code

then you`d finally understand what this all means

but if you could...do you think you would

trade it in

all the pain and suffering?

ah, but then you`d miss

the beauty of the light upon this earth

and the sweetness of the leaving

calling all angels

calling all angels

walk me through this one

don`t leave me alone

callin` all angels

callin` all angels

we`re tryin`

we`re hopin`

we`re hurtin`

we`re lovin`

we`re cryin`

we`re callin`

`cause we`re not sure how this goes”

Love the Sophie’s Run Team………xoxo

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Three Weeks Completed 09-21-2008

Today we began our day on the outskirts of Geneva. This was one of the few days that we did not have a police escort for our 20 km run. Instead, we had a very special escort in Mr. and Mrs. Doug Ranch. They led us and made sure we were safe every step of the way. Thank you for all the help today. The weather was perfect for running. All three of us runners enjoyed a cooler day. After a grueling week of hills, we all fought the physical pain and ran with high emotions knowing that we were at the end of another successful week.

Upon one of our stops today we came across two albino deers. What a beautiful site to see. It made me appreciate the natural habitat that exists. I often forget about taking the time to experience the life past all the construction and housing developments that I am surrounded by.

After completing another successful week, we all went for lunch to Dana's Time Out Restaurant. There we were greeted by Nat's parents Tommy and Rosemary. Rosemary was wearing her re-designed "Sophie's Run" t-shirt. We love the glitter and the beads. We are going to start selling them on the road with us!!

Yesterday I received a call from my Uncle Don and Chocha Sandy. Both my Uncle, Chocha Sanday, and their boys have been another support system for us when my mom passed. I love them all very much. I am so happy that our families were able to reunite after my Baba (grandmother) had passed away. One of the common sayings that I have heard at funerals "is that we shouldn't let a funeral be the reason for family to get together." This is so true. Life can pass you by and change within seconds. The call I received from my Uncle Don to tell me that they loved me meant so much. I remember my mom always calling me two to three times a day to tell me how much she loved me. I would give anything to have one of her messages back so I could hear her voice again. There have been times through my grieving that I have gone into a complete panic not being able to remember the sound of my mom's voice. These times have been very difficult to get through. Without running, I don't know how I would have been able to get past them. I often zone out while running; sometimes listening to the same song over and over for 20 km. It is not the song I hear going through my mind, but rather a peace and a connection that I have made with my mom again.........

Today's song is "Hello Again" by Neil Diamond and Alan Lindgren

"Hello again, hello
Just called to say 'hello'
I couldn't sleep at all tonight
And I know it's late
But I couldn't wait

Hello, my friend, hello
Just called to let you know
I think about you every night
When I'm here alone
And you're there at home

Love the Sophie's Run Team......xoxo

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Welcome to Geneva!! 09-20-2008

This weekend was full of many suprises. Last night first started out with a suprise visit from Andy, Nan, and John from Guelph. We were sitting at the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Restaurant in Rochester when the three of them walked through the door. What a pleasant suprise. Thank you for the visit. At the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Restaurant we were met by the manager Lori who is a cancer survivor. Lori welcomed us warmly and wished us well on our journey. What a great restaurant and eating experience!!

On Saturday morning, we were met by Ontario County Deputy Sheriff Martin Gochenaur who led us to the City of Geneva. He was joined by Deputy Sheriff Scott Avedisian. Andy and John joked about joining us for part of the run, but all jokes turned to reality and the two of them made us proud running along side with us. Great job to both of you!! As we continued our run, we were met by City of Geneva N.Y. Police Officers Patrick Quigley, David Felice and Brian Choffin who took over the escort duties through Geneva. The scenery was beautiful as we ran through the city.

We would like to also thank three special guests, Rhoni, Steph, and Cormic for their visit. Rhoni and Steph are better known as the gruesome twosome!! After our first stop, we saw this car drive by with a lady hanging out the window yelling at us. The Officers that were with us thought that they had road rage, but then we realized that it was Steph and Rhoni coming for a visit!! Thank you for the visit.

After our run we returned to the Geneva Centre Mall to enjoy a delicious B.B.Q chicken dinner that was being sponsored by the "Geneva Lakefront Child Care Centre." The B.B.Q was to raise funds for their charitable work. We spoke at length to two of the ladies serving the dinner (Anna and Jen). They were very interested in and supportive of our run. They were going to go and visit our Web Site tonight.

At our last stop of the day, Terry (Laverne) met a lady named Mary from Rochester. We hope that you will come to visit us in New York and wish you all the best!!

As we made our way back to the Ramada in Geneva, we were suprised again by The Ranch's. They are coming to watch us run tomorrow and have been very supportive and a sponsor of Sophie's Run.

Today was a very exciting day. Having all of our visitors made us realize how supportive everyone is of our run. As we run further and further from home, we know that there is still a strong bond of friendships and family following our progress back home. One of the questions that I think about is "what will we do after the run?" After spending over a year training and planning for our journey, the fear of it all being over in 5 weeks is something that goes through my mind often. Today made me realize that there is still strong support system at home. I look forward to making more memories with friends and family and embracing the experience of Sophie's Run with all of them. Life does not end after Sophie's Run....................it is just the beginning.

Today's song is a request from the Gruesome Twosome. It is fitting for all of the friends and family that have come to visit us. The song is "Lean on Me" by Bill Withers.

"Sometimes in our lives we all have pain We all have sorrow But if we are wise We always know that there's tomorrow Lean on me, when you're not strong And I'll be your friend I'll help you carry on For it won't be long 'Til I'm gonna need Somebody to lean on"

Love the Sophie's Run Team...........xoxo

Friday, September 19, 2008


We are all extraordinary 09-19-2008

Today we started out say just outside of Canandaigua. We were met my Ontario County Sheriff's Deputy Herrington who provided our escort. As yesterday was mainly uphill, today we were rewarded with some lengthy downhill stretches. As we entered Canandaigua we were joined by Ontario County Deputy Sheriff Daniel Bennett. They both escorted us through Canandaigua ensuring that we made it through all of the intersections safely. Officer Daniel Ball of The Canandaigua Police Department also assisted with part of the run.

As the day progressed, we had a very special addition to our running team. Ontario County Sheriff's Deputy Dave Storie, who provided our escort yesterday ran with us. He did a great job keeping up with us ladies. Thank you Deputy Dave for all of the support!! Deputy Sheriff Bennett expressesd his admiration and support for our journey. He also made a donation towards our cause. Thank you!! We would also like to thank The Messenger Newspaper and Kathryn Rybczak for the article you wrote about our awareness campaign.

Before we left for New York, I went to a Sunday service with my brother's in-laws. Betty, my brother's mother-in-law" has treated me like one of her daughters right from the start of my brother and his wife's relationship. She too lost her mom at an early age, and she has also been there for me when my mom passed away. My mom and Betty shared a touching moment a few days before my mom passed. Betty promised my mom that she would be there for Jason and I as if we were her own. The connection that these two women felt during that promise is something that is still strong today. The mass that we attended on the Sunday had a sermon about "extraordinary" people. It was a very moving sermon. What I have come to realize on the road is that we are all extraordinary and we all have something special to offer the world. God created us all equal, however, he gave us unique qualities that make us all extraordinary. One thing many people didn't know about my mom was that she was a very talented artist. She used her talent to draw many pictures for a kindergarten class that she was a teacher's aid for. God gave her this talent and she passed on this talent to the children that she was happy to be a teacher's aid for. I will always remember her drawings and the love that she put behind each and everyone of them.

Today I am going to quote a part of a poem by Michael P. Haller called "Unique"

"The greatest gift God gave to usis our own free will To follow the paths that we chooseand our potentials fill"

Love the Sophie's Run Team..........xoxo

Thursday, September 18, 2008


We are not in Kansas anymore 09-19-2008

Today reality has set in. "We are not in Kansas anymore!" So far, our team has been lucky to have relatively flat surfaces to run on with the odd steep hill to challenge us. Well, today we were faced with another round of hills; one that felt like it would never end. As we began our day, we were met by Steve Kampstra, the General Manager for Gordon Food Service in Canada. He drove 3 hours to meet us for our run today. Steve surpassed his personal best today. He has never ran past 10 km, but today he ran his heart out until he ran 20 km!! When we finished our kilometers for the day, Steve continued to run on!! He raised $1800 in pledges for Sophie's Run. Thank you for everything Steve. We appreciate your support and for lunch as well!!

Our run today started on the outskirts of the Town of West Bloomfield. We were met by Jack Haley, the Senior Photographer for The Messenter Post Newspapers. He interviewed us and took pictures of us during our run. We were also escorted again by Ontario Sheriff's Deputy Dave Storie. Thank you Deputy Dave Storie for all of your assistance today.

After our run, we went for lunch in the Town of Victor at McGhans Nearly Famous Pub. The food was absolutely delicious and the service was excellent as well. Clem, the owner, welcomed us warmly and gave us a number of momentos. Thank you Clem, we will wear our "luck of the Irish" necklaces with pride and for good luck.

Today I thought alot about how my Uncle Mike and his entire family. Our families have grown up together sharing almost every holiday, family gatherings, and major achievements with one another. Although our families are not related by blood, there is a bond between us that will never be broken. My Chocha Pat and my mom were true sisters. My Chocha Pat (aunt) has come up to visit on the trip. I feel like my mom is right there with me. I miss her now that she has gone back home. Even with my mom gone, my Chocha Pat is still here to be a monarch in our family. My Uncle Mike is also very special to me. He has always supported every endeavour as if I were his own child. Both my Chocha Pat and Uncle Mike have treated my brother and I like their own children and have been there for my dad to help him get through my mom's death. Their children are our extended family as well. The Boyko family has tought me that I am not alone in this world. I always feared losing my parents, but they have ensured me that I have another support system that will be there for the rest of my life. How comforting this is to know that we as humans do not have to tackle the journey in life alone. Welcome people into your life and take every opportunity to learn about their experiences. We are born with a blank "slate." Fill this slate up with friends, family, and experiences. Do not travel the world alone.............

Today's song is "Footprints in the Sand"

"You walked with me
Footprints in the sand
And helped me understand
Where I’m going
You walked with me
When I was all alone
With so much I no along the way
Then I heard you say

I promise you
I’m always there
When your heart is filled with sorrow and despair
I’ll carry you
When you need a friend
You’ll find my footprints in the sand"

Love the Sophie's Run Team...........xoxo

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Up, Up, and Away...Welcome the Hills!! 09-17-2008

Today was a very exciting day for the Sophie's Run Team. We had the honour of being interviewed on 13 WHAM Morning News in Rochester. We were interviewed by Holly Maynard first thing this morning. We were able to speak about our awareness campaign, our mission, and the journey ahead. Although we were nervous, the team did a great job!!

After our interview, we headed out to begin our day of running. We were met by Livingston County Sheriff's Deputy Sergeant Matthew Bean who provided today's escort through Livingston County. Sergeant Bean has been very helpful arranging our escorts in Livingston County. Thank you very much!! Today was a tough running day for our entire team. The aches and pains have started to set in. Blisters, black toes, and tight IT bands have started to be an obstacle for the three of us. The unopened muscle creams are starting to get used!! As we worked through our mini obstacles, our team did not realize the day of hills that were ahead. Each hill seemed like a mountain from afar. As we ran closer and closer to every hill, each of us runners fought through our pain and handled the hills with ease. We all chuckled that we are developing some nice looking "butts" for those driving in the RV behind!! We would also like to thank Ontario County Sheriff's Deputy Dave Storie for assisting with the end of our day today. Both Deputy Dave Storie and Deputy Sergeant Matthew Bean escorted us to the end of our run at West Bloomfield.

As we made our way back to the Holiday Inn for some rest, we were met by a reporter for the Daily Messenger Newspaper for Canandaigua. She had asked some great questions, but one really made me stop and think. She had asked if the three runners were lifelong friends. This made me think about how lucky I am to have Jill and Natalie running with me all the way to New York City. The three of us only became close friends in the last two to three years. It is interesting how our paths have crossed. I remember the very first time that I met Jill. My dad actually introduced me to her during breakfast at the Fifth Wheel in Milton. She was there with her daughter and I was there with my mom and dad. That day, I would have never known that the journey in my life would lead a similar path to her past. Jill also lost her mom the same age I did, and her mom and my mom were the same age when they succumb to their cancers. I believe that the meeting at the Fifth Wheel was God preparing me for the journey ahead. For Nat and I, we met through soccer in Guelph. We both became friends and this extended into our families as well. As I became close with her mom and dad, my mom and her mom became a support system for one another as they both battled through cancer. Nat's mom is a cancer survivor. At a time when I needed Jill, she was there. Her experience with her mother helped me to cope with my mom's death. My mom's diagnosis helped me to offer support for Natalie during her mom's cancer. All three of us women have two mother's in heaven watching over us and one special lady and mom here on earth making sure that we are safe on our journey. Never leave a relationship on a bad note..............we never know the path that God has laid out for us........

Today's song is "Count On Me"

"Count on me through thick and thin
A friendship that will never end
When you are weak, I will be strong
Helping you to carry on
Call on me, I will be there
Don't be afraid
Please believe me when I say
Count on..."

Love the Sophie's Run Team.......xoxo

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Laverne and Shirley lost in Yonkerville 09-19-2008

Today we started out the day at the Livingston County Line outside of Caledonia. We were first met my Rocco, a photographer for The Daily News in Batavia. Rocco is originally from Montreal and returns every two months to visit family and friends. This was a special day today. Kelsey, a local resident of Batavia and a track athlete from The College at Brockport, joined us on our journey. We had met Kelsey and her mom Denise when we began our day on Sunday. Denise is currently battling colon cancer and it was a true honour to have her daughter join us. We were also joined by Livingston County Sheriff's Deputy Tom Dougherty, who escorted for our run. Today was a beautiful day. The weather was warm, but the breeze kept us from being too hot. We couldn't have asked for a better day. We would also like to thank Sheriff's Deputy William Cartwright for assisting us through Avon.

There were not do chasing incidents today!! Jill did see her bulldogs as we drove by, but luckily we were in the RV this time!! Although we would like to thank Laverne and Shirley for loading up the RV with our luggage today, I cannot resist sharing the story when they lost Jill part-way through our run. As we approached our last stop, we became a little bit concerned when we didn't see Jill behind us. After a few minutes passed, Laverne and Shirley, motored into the parking lot saying telling us that Jill was lost. They turned around and went back to look for her. We were all confused because they were following behind her in the RV. All of a sudden we saw Jill run up to us. Apparently it wasn't Jill that got lost, but Laverne and Shirley that took a slightly wrong turn.

We would also like to apologize to Louie for the joke that Jeff played on him!! Us ladies had nothing to do with it!! Thank you to Jeff and Chocha Pat for keeping the Laverne and Shirley in check. We love you all and couldn't do the run without all of your assistance!! We had lunch at Tom Wahls in Avon N.Y. He donated three meals for us runners. At Tom Wahls we were greeted by a couple from Caledonia who made a donation to our run. We also were re-united with Genesee County Sheriff's Office Jail Chaplin, Donald S. Zeagler. We thanked him for his prayer that helped us get through the hot weather on Sunday. It was Nat and my turn to do laundry last night. Thank you Jamal and Olivia for all your help. Jamal you rock. Thanks for washing, drying, and even folding our laundry!! Later this afternoon we arrived at the Holiday Inn Airport in Rochester. We were greeted by RoseAnn Kuti who welcomed us warmly.

Today I thought a lot about Kelsey and Denise!! They remind me so much of my mom and I. Kelsey too started to run when her mom became ill. As we shared stories, I couldn't believe the similarities and the chance meeting that we had this past Sunday. Our team truly believes that our lives were meant to cross paths. Life is very precious. There was a time in my life when I thought that I was invisible and that cancer would never touch the lives of those closest to me. I was selfish and wrong to think this way. Cancer is real and cannot be taken lightly. Don't be afraid to tell those closest to you that "you love them." Take the time to be with your family and friends and to listen to the stories and memories that they have to share. We are so connected by cell phones and computers these days. I am someone who has to rush home to check my email and answer my cell phone. Computers and cell phones can wait...............giving my family a hug and asking how their day was cannot wait................don't say goodbye before you say hello.

Today's song is "Thankful" sung by Josh Groban

"Somedays, we forget to look around us,

Somedays, we can't see the joy that surrounds us,

so caught up inside ourselves,

we take when we should give,

so for tonight we pray for,

what we know can be,

and on this day we hope for,

what we still can't see,

It's up to us, to be the change,

and even though we all can still do more,

there's so much to be thankful for,

look beyond ourselves,

there's so much sorrow,

it's way to late to say, I'll cry tomorrow

each of us must find our truth,

it's so long overdue"

Love the Sophie's Run Team..........xoxo

Monday, September 15, 2008


Two years.. :( 09-15-2008

After a hard week of running, we have our second day off on the run. A job well done by everyone!! Each week is a new challenge and all of us are focused on the road ahead. We would like to thank Donald S. Zeagler, the jail Chaplin from the Genesee County Sheriff's Office, for stopping and saying a prayer for our team yesterday. Our team would also like to thank the Holiday Inn in Batavia for the ongoing hospitality. Your staff, facilities, and food have all been great.

Thank you to the CCAC, Barry, Gail, Julie, and the Sophie's Run team for the blue roses that were sent to the hotel.

Today we met with Philip Anselmo from The Batavian Online News. He came to interview our team about our journey. He met us at the Walmart, where we set up our awareness table and were interacting with local residents about the signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer.

Today is a very difficult day. It marks the second anniversary of my mom's death. Jill told me that the reason that it hurts so much is a testament of the love that my mom and I had for one another. She is so right in what her words. I still cannot believe it has been two years. It seems like yesterday that she was home with our family. I will never forget the last week that I spent with my mom. This is when the cancer had completely taken over my mom and I knew that there was nothing we could do to reverse it. My mom had gone through two tough setbacks during her chemotherapy. The last one was very hard on her physically and emotionally. After fighting through a 'bout of pneumonia, my mom had to take a break from the chemotherapy until she was strong enough to continue her round of treatments. For a whole month, I had my mom back. We took a trip to Buffalo together and even went to my Uncle Mike and Chocha Pat's cottage to spend the August long weekend. This was the mom that I had before she was diagnosed with cancer. In mid August, my mom's cancer started to come back. This time it surfaced and masked itself as shingles on one side of her body. As time progressed, the pain and cancer got worse. My mom was now completely bedridden. I slept on a couch beside her and attended to her day and night. She could no longer get up to go to the bathroom.
Everytime she had to go, the pain from the tumor was too unbearable for her. I would try to make her as pain-free as possible, but there was nothing that I could do to make her pain go away. That week was an emotional struggle. Having my mom wake me up in the middle of the night reciting the "Our Father" and mistaking me as her mom and dad was painful to watch. I knew this was the end. Although this was a difficult time, I started to realize that my mom had accepted to move to the next journey in her life. She was mistaking me for her mom and dad because she could now see them in heaven. I had to remind myself that my mom was once a daugher and not just a mother. How could I be so selfish and wish my mom back when she wanted to be with her mom and dad. I was at peace knowing that my mom would be with her mom and dad in heaven. Being able to witness this transition has erased all fears I had of death. We all fear the unknown. I no longer fear death because I know that the journey ahead will be one that will re-unite me with my loved ones that have passed on.

My brother took my nephew to the visit my mom at the grave today. My brother told Cole that he was going to see his "Baba." When they arrived at the cemetary, Cole said that he didn't see Baba. My brother said that "Baba" was in the sky. As Cole left the cemetary, he looked to the sky and said "Bye Baba."

Today's song reflects how our family feels about the loss of our mom, wife, and Baba......."Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd

"How I wish, how I wish you were here. We're just two lost souls Swimming in a fish bowl, Year after year, Running over the same old ground. What have we found? The same old fears. Wish you were here."

Love the Sophie's Run Team....xoxo

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Dog Gone Wild..09-14-2008

Today we began our day at the "Gym" at the Batavia City Limit. We were hoping for cooler weather, but it was very humid and the sun was shining for most of our run today. We would like to first thank our friend Louie for his donation towards the run!! We really appreicate it!! At the "Gym" we met a very special mother and daughter, Denise and Kelsey. Denise is battling colon cancer and has surpassed doctor's outcomes!! The Sophie's Run team wishes you all the best and will dedicate a leg of the run to you!! Keep fighting!!

We were met today by Genesee County Deputy Sheriff Dan Richardson. He provided the team with an escort for a 3rd day. As we approached the LeRoy border, we were met by Detective John Cordidorio and Officer Doug Ehrhert of the LeRoy Police Department. They escorted us through LeRoy. As we approached the end of the LeRoy border, Deputy Sheriff Dan Richardson again took over our escort duties and led us to the end of Genesee County. We want to thank Deputy Sheriff Dan Richardson, the Genesee County Sheriff's Office, the Batavia Police Department and the LeRoy Police Department for all of their assistance. Together we are all making a difference!!

There were a few incidents today that made us all jump out of our shorts. Nat came across her first road kill today!! Jogging along, she didn't see the animal in front of her. As I looked away, Nat looked down, and again, I thought she was going to jump into oncoming traffic. I think that Deputy Sheriff Dan Richardson thought that we were breaking into another dance moment!! Next we had our first dog incident of the day. This one involved Jill. We would like to thank the two Bulldogs that decided to chase her. This was a classic "Dukes of Hazzard" moment. The RV door opened up and Jill graciously jumped in to avoid our furry little friends!! We thought we had our dog incident of the day, until myself and Nat came across good ol' Rocky!! As we approached our last 2 km of they day, Rocky decided to leave his property and come towards us. I cannot repeat the words that came out from my mouth!! Thank you Deputy Sheriff Dan Richardson for coming to our rescue. Rocky didn't want to listen to his owner and get off the road, so as a result we had held up traffic on both sides of the street. The Sophie's Run team is hosting "dog defence" at our hotel tonight. We are all aruging about who gets to dress up as the dog and who gets to practice their "WWF" moves on one another.

While running today, my IPOD ran out of "juice." Music is what keeps me motivated when running. As I continued to jog, I could hear Nat's music through her IPOD. She was listening to a beautiful rendition of "Amazing Grace" that was performed with bagpipes. This song brings back memories of my mom's funeral. One of my mom's close friends Carroll Baker sang "Amazing Grace" at my mom's funeral. As honoured as our family was to have her sing, I know that my mom could hear her beautiful voice all the way in heaven. You could feel the connection that these two friends had for one another. My mom's funeral service was an open casket. I remember starring at my mom trying to keep an image in my mind of what she looked like. I feared the closing of the casket and seeing her for the very last time. At the end of the mass, everyone had the opportunity to go and say a final farewell. I thought that this would be the final time I would see my mom, but I was wrong. I see my mom in my dreams and I know that I will see her again in heaven. That day at the casket was not goodbye, but rather it was "until we meet again............"

"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures."

Love the Sophie's Run Team...........XOXO

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Ain't No Mountain High Enough..09-13-2008

Today we started our run in Genesee County. We were lucky to avoid the rain, but the humidity was overwhelming. There we were met by Genesee County Deputy Sheriff Dan Richardson. He continued to escort our team to the city limit of Batavia N.Y. On our first stop, we were met by the sweetest little girl walking her 10 month old wrinkle dog. She was sure to tell us runners that her dog was a girl and that she could get pregnant. This was some very sound advice. We all had a little chuckle before we continued on into Batavia. As we made our way into Batavia Officer Scott Mullen of the Batavia N.Y. Police Department took over and escorted us through the city. Our team would like to thank the entire community of Batavia for their warm welcome. We were honked at and cheered at through an entire 5 km stretch. What a great feeling it was to know that our awareness campaign is making a difference.

There were no mishaps for Laverne and Shirley today. We would like to inform all residents of Batavia that your mailboxes are safe. Laverne learned his lesson yesterday with the close call. On a sadder note we almost lost Nat today to an oncoming grasshopper. I thought she jumped right out of her shorts!!

Today I thought a lot about my dad and I. When my mom had passed away, it was just my dad and I left in our family home. We both learned so quickly how differently we were grieving. He was grieving the loss of his soul mate of 34 years and I was grieving the loss of my mother. Since both of us are stubborn and somewhat impatient, we argued from time to time through our grieving processes. My dad found it hard to look at my mom's belongings, but I wanted them left out as if nothing had changed. I am very lucky to have my dad. He put up with a lot of my built up anger from my mom's death and allowed me to slowly go through the stages of grief. I admit that I am not through them yet, but I am moving in the right direction. Dad, I love you very much and I am sorry that you are also without our special lady.

Today's song is one that was close to Jill. I feel that the words of this song are so inspiring. To everyone and their loved ones, "There Ain't No Mountain High Enough..................."

If you need me, call me.
No matter where you are,
No matter how far.
Just call my name.
I'll be there in a hurry.
On that you can depend
and never worry.
You see, my love is alive
It's like a seed that only needs
The thought of you to grow.
So if you feel the need for company,
Please, my darling, let it be me.
I may not be able to express
The depth of the love I feel for you,
But a writer put it very nicely
When he was away from the one he loved.
He sat down and wrote these words:
No wind, no rain,
Nor winter's cold
Can stop me, babe
If you're my goal

Love the Sophie's Run Team.xoxo

Friday, September 12, 2008


Sophie's Run Team has turned to prunes.....09-12-2008

Almost two weeks have gone by. We began our day just outside Genesee County. Shirley almost had a mishap with the RV. Instead of parking the RV on the side of the road, he parked it at the end of a driveway; blocking the people who lived there from exiting their house. Of course, the nice lady and gentleman that lived there needed to leave. Shirley decided to back up about 1/2 an inch from all their mailboxes. The couple rolled down the window to speak to us. We thought they wanted to hear about our run, but rather they let Shirley know how they felt about almost knocking down their mailboxes. After the small mishap we were met again by Deputy Kevin Landrigan of the Niagara County Sheriff's Department. He escorted us to Genesee County. As we ran to Genesee County, we were then met by Deputy Sheriff Dan Richardson of the Genesee County Sheriff's Office who escorted us for the balance of the day. Our day began rain free!! We thought we had missed all the rain, however, at about the 7 km point, the rain poured, and poured, and poured down. We fought through the rain and continued to run. Our new motto is the "good, the bad and the ugly........we do it all!!"

Even though it was raining, a young couple drove up beside the RV and asked my dad if we accepted donations. They drove up to Jill and gave her their donation. After we finished the day, my dad and Uncle MIke met with Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble of the Genesee County Sheriff's Department to thank them for their co-operation and assistance. He had viewed our Web Site and was happy to help us out.

Today we switched to the Holiday Inn in Batavia. Our team would like to thank my dad and Uncle Mike (Laverne and Shirley) for all of their hard work in loading and unloading us women's suitcases. We really appreicate everything!! Laverne and Shirley even made us buy another piece of luggage so that the lifting would not be so heavy. Here the three of us were in Walmart buying more luggage. We must of looked like "Crazy Canadians" as we walked from the Walmart last night rolling our new luggage behind. Last night Jill visited the Lockport Volunteer Fire Department. It was great to see Jill in her element. We are so proud of her and her accomplishment of becoming a Fire Fighter in Milton.

Jimbo, we miss you!! Come back soon!! Good luck at baseball tonight.

I thought a lot about my mom today and why I was avoiding going to see her at the cemetary. I put off picking out her stone because I didn't really want to admit that she had left me. When we laid her stone down, my dad wanted everyone to go and visit her together. I still didn't feel ready to visit. I remember my mom telling me that she wanted me to visit her and that she hoped I would find comfort with her. The day that her stone was laid, I did get the courage to see her. I cried the entire drive to the cemetary. When I got there, all of the fear that I had was immediately gone. I felt so close to my mom that I didn't want to leave. I spoke to her just like she was right beside me. This was a huge step for me. I think that time will help me to heal. I don't think that anyone should have to force their grief but rather let it happen naturally. We will know when we are ready to visit the cemetary, part with the clothing, and engage in the memories of our loved ones we have lost. Today I listened to Christmas music because this was my favourite time of the year with my mom. May everyone in heaven rest in peace tonight.......

"Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace"

Love the Sophie's Run Team.....xoxoxoxoxoxox

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Remembering September 11....09-11-2008

Today marked the Anniversary of September 11 and the tragic event that took place 7 years ago. In honour of those who lost their lives and those still defending their country, the Sophie's Run team wore special t-shirts that represented the United States of America. We started the day back at The Lockport Municipal Office. There Mayor Michael Tucker met us and appreciated our respect for his country by wearing our shirts. We would like to thank Officer John Nolan of The Lockport Police Department for escorting us through the town. Officer John Nolan was in the 2nd police car that escorted us to The Municipal Office yesterday. He said that he had checked out our web site and read the blogs that we have posted so far. He was very impressed with our journey. We would like to thank Terri and all the staff at the Holiday Inn in Lockport for your hospitality and the support. Your hotel is beautiful and the food awesome. Thank you for making us feel like home. As we ran to the edge of Lockport, we were met by Niagara County Sheriff Deputy Kevin Landrigan who continued our escort as we left the Lockport Police Juristiction. We were cheered on today by 2 Lockport Municipal Employees who were working along route. We finished todays run in Royalton. What a beautiful day for running a such charming countryside. We did come across some thankfully friendly dogs today. Jill, Nat and I have decided to carry raw pieces of steak tomorrow just in case one of these dogs runs off their leash.

We miss our trainer Jimbo. Jeff had to head home for a few days. The Sophie's Run team would like to congraluate him for on his "league nice guy" award from the Milton Softball league. Go get'em Jimbo!!

Today's run saw Jill pass Natalie and Nicole. Jill ran her heart out today!! Don't worry Jilly Billy, Nat and I have decided that we will "clothsline" you if this happens again. I think that Nat will have to get on my shoulders if we want to reach her though:) To make matters even worse, at our last stop, Jill flexed her "pipes" in celebration of another successful day. When I decided to do the same, Deputy Kevin Landrigan informed me that I didn't have pipes but rather "pipecleaners." I have been in the gym working on my pipecleaners ever since!!

For today's song, we all wanted to remember everyone whose lives have been affected by the events that happened on September 11; 7 years ago. To all the troops, remember that you will never walk alone. We are all thinking about you and praying for your safe return home.

"You Will Never Walk Alone" by Rogers and Hammerstein

Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Tho' your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone
You'll never walk alone

Love the Sophie's Run Team......xox

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


The Arrival in Lockport!! 09-10-2008

The Sophie's Run team cannot believe that we have already completed 10 days of the run. The days are flying by too fast. We think this is due to the fact that everyday has new challenges and as we continue to run, we meet new communities and people along our journey. Today we started off just outside of Lockport in Sanborn. We would first like to thank Deputy Tim Gilliam and Deputy Scott Millville for their help yesterday in escorting us to Sanborn. Today, we were escorted by State Police Trooper Charles Larry Richardson. He escorted us to the City Limits of Lockport. There we were met along our route by Sargent Sam Taglienti of the New York State Police. He came to make sure we were safe and everyone was doing well. Everyone has embraced Sophie's Run and are so gracious in helping us raise awareness. Today Mayor Michael Tucker met us at City Hall. As we prepared for our entrance to City Hall, Mayor Tucker arranged to have Officer Terry Gill of the Lockport Police Department escort us through town. As we ran up to City Hall, Mayor Tucker and the local media were there to greet us and wish us all the best on our journey. Sophie's Run Team would like to thank Carson's Deli in Sanborn for the support and donation towards Sophie's Run. Your food is amazing and we thank you very much. Thank you to Mayor Tucker, all of the police escorts, and the community of Lockport for welcoming us with open arms.

Today we had a few funny moments. We have learned that Natalie has a fear for grasshoppers. The roads are surrounded by grasshoppers and at one point I thought she was going to jump into the oncoming traffic. The RV crew and Jill thought that her and I were doing a special dance as we tried to avoid the grasshoppers.

I would like to share a few emails that Nat and Jill received. This one was from Nat's family in Ireland...........
"Following your run each day and saying a little prayer for you all. All your family and friends here wish all of you the best of Irish luck to make your journey happy and healthy.

Kate and the Golden girls, The Reillys, The Pattersons and all of us send our love and best wishes. Talk to you soon. Your young aunties. xxxooo"

and from the Fire Chief Brian Ellsworth in Milton, he wrote our team the following:
"Keep going step by step - you are saving lives through your awareness efforts!

My email quote is actually from a patient who succumbed to cancer. I loved his outlook on life....

"There are a lot of things to think about but nothing really to worry about".... Matthew Kupke ( RIP).

So keep us thinking about what we need to proactively think about.....and if we are ahead of the game, we will not need to worry about something like colon cancer. Because through your efforts, we will already have thought about it! And gotten ourselves checked!"

To Elena her sisters, and Steph who lost their mom and grandma of colon cancer a year today, our thoughts are with you.

I wear two rings on my fingers....one says wish and one says protection. They are from my two friends Kim and Tammy. I think that God answered all my wishes before I was born. He gave me two loving parents that made all my wishes and dreams come true. If I knew that I would only have my mom for 29 years, I wouldn't wish for a different mom. I was blessed to have this special lady in my life and now I have her to protect me as I continue to experience and journey into the world. Thank you Kim and Tammy for reminding me of that!!

Todays song is "When You Wish Upon A Star.........."

"When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you

Like a bolt out of the blue
Fate steps in and pulls you through
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true

Love the Sophie's Run Team..................xoxo

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


RAY of sunshine...09-09-2008

Day 9 started out with the true "direction challenged" runners having a moment. Asour police escorts prepared us for the start, the three of us ran in the wrongdirection. We thought it would be a good idea to add a few extra kilometers to theday.........!! Our first set of police escorts were from the Niagara Falls PoliceDepartment. Thank you Captain Sal Pino, Officer James VanEgmond, and Officer JasonHaug. They followed us on to our first stop where we were greeted by our next setof escorts from the Town of Niagara Police Department. Thank you to the Chief ofPolice H. James Suitor, Sergeant Jeffrey J. Spears, and Officer Kellie Treis. Atour third stop, we were met by the County of Niagara Sheriff's Department. Thankyou to both Deputies for your escorts. Deputy Tim led the way to our final stop inSanborn, just 10 miles outside of Lockport. We cannot thank all of the escorts forwelcoming us Canadians and stopping the traffic at every light to ensure our safety. You all were amazing!! Thank you Deputy Tim for your suggestion of Tina'sRestaurant. We all enjoyed a home cooked lunch at Tina's Restaurant. There thestaff and patrons were all excited about our journey. Thank you Tina for thedonation towards the run. After we left Tina's, upon another recommendation, wevisited the Marlboro Inn. There we met a 14 year cancer survivor Mel and herfriends Sharon and Patti. Keep on fighting Mel!! Mel's mom is battling colorectalcancer. Thank you ladies for buying Sophie's Run t-shirts!! In yesterday's blog, I meant to copy an email from a friend that had just lost hergrandfather to colorectal cancer. Here is the email I wanted to share witheveryone:"You are doing an amazing job and your Mother must be so proud for the strength,courage and inspiration you are demonstarting to all of North America and beyond. Mygrandfather died last week from the battle against colon cancer. One of the lastthings he said to me, was that he hopes someday there will a cure and that no oneelse will ever have to go what he went through. Through this tough time, I read yourjournals each day to remind myself that people like you are working towards creatingmy grandfathers dream and many others. I would like to thank you and hope that youremember him in the days ahead. Keep up the awesome work and know we are behind youall of the way! Melaine and all the staff at Troys Diner!!"

Natalie also had a special run today. She learned this weekend that the father ofher best friend's boyfriend is battling colon cancer. Today Natalie dedicated herrun to Ray. Ray, keep on fighting!! We hope that the run will not only raiseawareness, but that it will help to find a cure one day!!

Today I wore my shirt for Tom. Every Tuesday I will be running for Tom, a co-workerof mine that survived colon cancer. Tommy-Bahami, I miss you!! We are hoping that Jill will be able to get some sleep tonight. We have discoveredthat the less sleep she gets, the funnier she becomes. We no longer need to do ourcore strengthing because Jill's humour is keeping us laughing every minute of theday!!

Our RV crew was in fine form today. Laverne and Shirly did not have any fightstoday.......but it is only 3:30 in the afternoon. From the CCAC in Montreal andToronto, to my dad, Uncle Mike, Jeff, Chocha Pat and us runners..........it is atotal team effort!!

Today I thought a lot about how prevelant cancer is in our lives. Young, old,black, white, Canadian, or American..........................it touches all ourlives. Being welcomed by the USA with open arms demonstrates how we are all in thebattle together. Looking back, I remember the exact moment and place I was when mydad called to tell me that my mom had rectal cancer. The hardest part of that daywas having to see the fear in mom's eyes as I came home to hug her and tell her thateverything was going to be o.k. This was the day our fight began. Although my momhas passed on, her fight still continues. It continues in us all. It is touchingto see how everyone has come together to make a difference. We hope that the fearsof cancer will be changed to visions of hope...........

Today's song is Shine On by Jet. For those that have lost their battle to cancer,know that you will always Shine on.............

When the days all seem the sameDon't feel the cold or wind or rainEverything will beokayWe will meet again one dayI will shine on, for everyoneSo please don'tcryAlthough I leave you here this nightWhere ever I may go how far I don't knowBut Iwill always be your lightThat if the moon had to runawayAnd all the stars didn'twanna playDon't waste the sun on a rainy dayThe wind will soon blow it all away

Love the Sophie's Run Team.

Monday, September 8, 2008


The Many Versions of Family 09-08-2008

So our very first day off after running from Milton, ON to New York City. What a week. Our team cannot begin to tell you how "life changing" this past week was. We all realized that Sophie's Run is making a difference and touching lives both young and old. To everyone that cheered us on, wrote on our blog, visited, and sent us messages.........thank you all!! You are keeping us motivated and strong. I received an email last night from that read:

"I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your grandfather. It is such a terrible disease and I hope one day other's will not have to go through it. I will remember your grandfather on my way to New York. I am hoping that the run will help to raise awareness and one day find a cure. Know that you now have a special guardian angel watching over you. Would I be able to use part of your message for one of the blogs? I won't say who you are if you don't want, but I want other's to know that we are all fighting this disease together."

This is what makes the run worth it!!

Today we visited the Mayor of Lockport. Mayor Tucker is welcoming us with open arms. On Wednesday we are meeting him at his office and he has arranged for the local media to attend. The next "leg" of the run to Lockport is pretty flat. We don't hit the heavy hills until Ithaca. My Uncle Mike also made progress with the police. The police in the USA are just as welcoming as Canada.

Jill was paid a suprise visit from her brother. Natalie's parents are here for their constant support. Natalie's mom has transformed the Sophie's Run shirt into a collectable. She is sparkling and proud to have the colorectal cancer ribbon on her shirt.

What I have realized thus far is family comes in many different forms. Family is not just blood. I consider our team to be a part of my family. I cannot thank this group enough for everything they have done to be a part of Sophie's Run. I love you all very much and I truly am honoured to have you all on this journey. I don't know how to thank you all, but please know that I am so touched and proud to say that you are all family!!

Natalie gave Jill and I a card and I would like to share the front of the card with everyone:

"Courage, My Friends,
Tis Not Too Late,
To Make a Better World" By Thomas Douglas

No song today.............just remember your family and friends; those we have lost and those that we have close to us each and everyday!!

Love the Sophie's Run Team

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Border Crossing........Enter the United States of America. 09-07-2008

Day 7 is complete!! 7 Days ago we started in Milton, ON and now we have crossed the Rainbow Bridge and entered into the United States of America. What an acccomplishment for us all. The day started out cloudy with the sun just hiding behind the clouds. We thought that it would turn out to be a sunny day for our run through Lundy's Lane and Clifton Road and across the Rainbow Bridge. At 9am, our team headed out to yesterday's finishing point. As we started to stretch our 110 km stiff joints, a fire truck pulled up with Simon Green and Mike Hill. Simon and Mike were from the Niagara Falls Fire Department. They were there follow us through Niagara Falls. As we continued to prepare for our run, Jill's good friend Penny arrived with her family. Next, Toni and her husband Vince showed up to offer their support, and of course for our running partner Toni to join us for this monumental day. (We will miss you Toni!!). We were also so lucky to have Natalie's parents (Tom and Rosemary) join us and my brother Jason, sister n law Debbie, and my little nephew Cole come to visit. We cannot thank everyone enough for their constant support.

Our police escorts for the day were Sergeant Ernest Pieneman and Constable Steve Ballard. Both were from the Niagara Regional Police Service. Today we had two police cruisers escorting us. As we began our run, the rain started!! What happened to the sun that we thought would sneak out past the clouds? Although the rain didn't stop, nothing was going to ruin this monumental day. With police and fire sirens escorting us on our last "leg" of Canada, almost every car waved, honked, or cheered as we ran through the rain and near the Rainbow Bridge. Our second stop before the border was outside the Keg Steakhouse & Bar. Here we were greeted by Jill's family (many nephews and nieces) and of course our two some Brook (Jill's daughter) and Tallon!! Brook and Tallon were waving signs and streamers as we ran by. P.S. We love the signs even though it said "Go GILRS"....lol.......you two rock!! Penny and her family, Rosemary and Tommy, Debbie, Jason, and Cole all followed us the entire way. With the rain pouring down harder, we finished our second stop ahead of schedule. We would like to thank the Keg for the complimentary coffee and hot chocolate to warm us up from the rain and cool weather.

We were due to cross the border at 1 pm. As we prepared for our last 2 km or so of the day, the rain poured down hard!! The rain did not stop us from leaving. Rain or shine, we were going to run!! In the lower part of Lundy's Lane (through all the tourist sites), our police escorts paraded us to the Rainbow Bridge with the fire truck honking the horn loud for everyone to hear. We were cheered on by many!! The rain didn't stop people from coming out to clap for our accomplishment!! The Sophie's Run team thanks you all for the support!!

As we approached the border, our RV and us runners had to separate. Us girls ran right up to the border, presented our passports, and continued running through!! Congrats ladies on a job well done. As always, this is a team effort. Lavern and Shirly, Jeff, and Chocha Pat made sure the RV was in order for the border crossing. Our team is strong and we all belive in eachother!!

Today I couldn't stop thinking about my nephew Cole and the love my mom had for her little boy. Everytime I see him smile, I think of my mom holding him and singing to him the song "If You Are Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands." I believe that Cole gave my mom the extra "push" she needed to fight through her tough chemotherapy days. He was her angel and her inspiration. Everytime Debbie brought Cole for a visit, her eyes would light up with love, but at times some sadness. The sadness would be for her fear that her cancer may prevent her from watching this angel grow up to a boy and then a man. I think as my mom started to accept that her cancer had advanced to a terminal stage, she started to realize that she would still be able to watch over her angel. Cole now has a guardian watching over him everyday. Altough my mom is not physically here, her spirit is still singing and guiding Cole through life...............
"If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands,
If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands,
If you're happy and you know it,
Then your face will surely show it.
If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands

"Here we come USA..............love the Sophie's Run Team

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Fonthill was called Font"HILL" for a reason......09-06-2008

Today we started the day at the Pioneer Gas station just outside of Pelham. Our team would like to thank and send our gratitude to Randall for all of his support yesterday and today. Without hesitation, Randall has given us free water, juice, and muffins for our trip. He even offered our RV crew coffee or tea for the road. As we were ready to leave, Randall came out with roses for us runners. We appreciate all of the support and we are overwhelmed with the kindness that you have given us.

Today our police escort was from Constable Chris Lucy. He ensured that we were safe as we prepared for the our journey into the outskirts of Niagara Falls. As we were all getting used to the hot weather, today we had a slight change in our routine...........rain. We all couldn't believe the change in weather. Although we feared the rain, it was a welcome relief once we got started. The cool weather felt good on our muscles and joints. Our first stop today was at Gallagher's Farm Market. The staff there provided us with fresh peaches, bananas, and grapes for us all. Thank you so much for your generosity. At Gallagher's Farm Market, we were approached by three nice patrons that had seen us on Good Morning Canada this morning. They listened to our story and were so amazed with our journey to raise awareness. Our mission is still alive.......................awareness, education, awareness, education.

We continued to make awareness stops. Fonthill was so welcoming of our team. It seemed like every car in Fonthill honked at us sending their support. Today was the first day that we had to face some pretty steep hills. Although they looked like mountains from the distance, all three of us tackled them with ease. We all cheered after each hill saying "bring on the next one."

We ended our day just 10 km outside of Niagara Falls. What an accomplishment so far. Although the three of us are running, it truly is a team effort. We couldn't do the run without Laverne (Terry), Shirly (Uncle Mike) and Jeff. Even our visit from Chocha Pat was a welcome addition. We had to laugh again today at Laverne and Shirley directing one another on how to back-up and park the RV. Jeff loves to get the two of them going. We are going to start filming them so that we can start a reality show at the end of our run.

Both Natalie and Jill have some great experiences to share that have happened to them along the journey.

The other night, Nat received a message from a friend she has not seen since high school. Her friend wanted to wish her well on her journey and commend her on her efforts. Her friend's dad lost his battle to complications from colorectal cancer. One thing that we all realized on this journey is that there are many people that are touched by this disease. It needs to start being talked about, and this run is getting people to start the talking that is needed!!

Although I don't like to think about Jill in the bathtub, I have to tell this story. After we ran yesterday and did a quick work-out at the gym, we all went to get ready for dinner. As Jill was in the bath, she received a call on her cell phone. The person on the other end asked her if she could work the 7:15 to 11:00 shift at Sobey's. Jill kept on telling the girl that she had the wrong number. Finally Jill said, I am actually sitting in the bath right now because I am running from Milton to New York City. The girl on the other end said, I know you.......Sophie's Run. What a small world!! We are touching people out there. Sophie's Run is reaching the public as we hoped it would do. Last night I had a dream that was very emotional. Everytime I dream about my mom, I always get sad when I wake up and realize that she is not there.

Last night's dream included my dad's mom, who had lost her battle to colon cancer. In my dream I knocked on my grandma or as I called her "Baba's" apartment door. My mom answered the door and was crying because my "Baba" was no longer able to speak. In my dream, her cancer had gotten worse that she was no longer able to communicate with us. From that dream, all I remember is how smooth and soft my "Baba's" hands were. I remember it as though my Baba was still alive. I can remember her holding onto my hand and how soft and warm her hands were......................I long for that day when I can be with my mom and her again.

As music is so healing, todays song that came on at the start of our run was Meatloaf's "I would do anything for love."

"Some days it don't come easySome days it don't come hardSome days it don't come at allAnd these are the days that never endSome nights you're breathing fireSome nights you're carved in iceSome nights you're like nothing I've ever seen before or will againMaybe I'm crazyBut it's crazy and it's trueI know you can save meNo one else can save me now but youAs long as the planets are turningAs long as the stars are burningAs long as your dreams are coming trueYou'd better believe it! -That I would do anything for love"

Tomorrow we will be running through Lundy's Lane around 11 am to 11:30 am and crossing the border at between 12:45 and 1 pm on Sunday.

Love the Sophie's Run Team.........

Friday, September 5, 2008


Perfume 09-05-2008

Well today we finished Day 5 of the run. Today started in Smithville and ended just south of Fonthill. Tomorrow we will begin at the Pioneer gas station on HWY #20 just outside of West Lincoln. Although today was not very hot, it was very, very windy. We all thought we were going to have to wear 10 pound weights to keep us on the ground. Our team was so greatful to have company today. We were joined by Toni again and three new runners Pastor Bryce, Lindsay, and Jason. They were all from Lorne Park Baptist Church. What a great job they all did. Jason and Lindsay were only planning on running 7 km each, but they ended up doing the entire 17 km!! Before we began our run, we were paid a special visit from Cst. Heather McInnis #9605. She came to meet our crew and to wish us all the best. I also learned that Cst. McInnis lost her father to colon cancer. Today I dedicated my run to her and her father. We were also paid a special visit by Dave Kenny!! He suprised us all with a bouquet of flowers for Jill, Nat and I. Dave thank you again. That was a pleasant suprise

Laverne and Shirly were well behaved today. I think the visit from Chocha Pat, and Jeff's constant babysitting kept the two in check!! We have decided that the two of them should get their bus licenses' upon their return.

As we all continued to fight the wind, we were all excited when we passed the sign that said "Niagara Falls." Although we are still about 40 km away, it seemed so soreil to see that we have almost run to Niagara Falls!!

We were also sad to have our last day with Kelly. Kelly is an inspiration to us all. Not being able to run about 6 months ago, she worked hard, trained, and ran the first 5 days with us. Great job Kelly. We will miss you!! Kelly's husband Jeff visited us on route. He has been so supportive of the run. He is a race car driver and has put the Sophie's Run logo on his car. We cannot thank him enough for the support!!

Tonight we are staying in the Fallsview Hotel. The staff have been so welcoming. Thank you for the support!! The past two days we have been at the Comfort Inn in Hamilton and St. Catherines. Thank you all for your hospitality. We are all so overwhelmed with the kindness.

For some reason, all I could think about today was my mom's perfume bottle that sits in my bathroom at home. Although this perfume has spoiled, I cannot bring myselfto throw it out. If I throw it out, I fear that I may forget her smell................or maybe I think she is coming home and will one day use her perfume again. I don't know why I couldn't stop thinking about this bottle. This bottle brings back so many memories of my mom. I remember as a little girl, watching my mom get ready for work. She would get up, make us breakfast, get us dressed, and then get ready. The last thing she would spray was her perfume. Today, I could smell the perfume and I could remember sitting there as a little girl as though I was there again............................

Jill made a comment today that was so true. Running is a very emotional sport.................we agreed that we don't think about the sore feet or the length we have run, be we think about the events taking place in our lives, or the memories of those we miss dearly.

Todays song was Chances Are:

Chances are you'll find meSomewhere on your road tonightSeems I always end up driving byEver since I've known youIt just seems you're on my way...................

Chances are I'll see youIn my dreams tonightYou'll be smiling like the night we metChances are I'll hold you and I'll offerAll I have..........

I hope we all dream about our mothers tonight.............

love the Sophie's Run Team

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Laverne and Shirley 09-04-2008

So Day 4 is now complete. Us women have decided to nickname my dad and Uncle "Laverne and Shirley." Laverne, being my dad is always right. No matter if Shirley says to turn left, he knows it is best to turn that RV right. Hence, it is 4:40 in the afternoon and we just arrived at the hotel!!

Yesterday we forgot to mention a very important little girl who came to visit us. Her name was Kennedy. She came to cheer us on and was wearing a "Go Jill Go" shirt. Is great to see the different generations that we are touching.

We began the day in Stoney Creek. Today our police escort included to officers. They ensured that we were safe as we ran into Smithville. Although it was still hot, today we had a breeze that made the running more bearable. We continued on HWY #20 through the beautiful countryside. The scenery was beautiful. I have to say that this was tough day for me. My mom and I used to love to take day trips into Niagara, often taking the back roads. I can remember our last trip to Niagara together. Deep down I think she knew she may have not been with us much longer. Being ill from her chemotherapy, she would push herself to spend the day with me and visit local markets and restaurants. These are the times I miss most. How does one fill these voids? This is the struggle that I still face each day...............

As we continued down HWY #20, we were lucky that the Rotweiller that wanted to attack us was tied up by a chain. We all wondered if he would be a good mascot for the RV. Our first stop was at a gas station with a sandwich shop attached. This was in Fulton. The ladies there were so kind to offer us a free lunch. After a quick break, we headed out. We all ran our hearts out!! Kelly, Jill, and Natalie have been so supportive this first week together. Our first day ended in Smithville. We have to thank the Dell Pharmacy in Smithville!! Marta, Debbie x 2, and Valerie we miss you already. They were so kind to come out to meet us and support our cause. What a welcoming community!! After we left Smithville, we went to eat at the Judge and Jester Pub in Grimsby. Ross was gracious to offer our whole team lunch. The food was amazing!! We were able to speak with many of the patrons in the pub about our cause. They were all touched and inspired by our mission to save lives. Thank you Annie for your support as well. She took care of us and made a donation to Sophie's Run. The kindness that everyone has shared with us is overwhelming. Our team cannot thank everyone enough. We will use your kindness and run our hearts out to New York. Tomorrow we will begin our day at 10 am at the Tim Horton's in downtown Smithville just off HWY #20. Special thanks to Jeff for all your help again today.

One of the songs that I listened to over and over today was "Holy Mother" by Eric Clapton and Stephen Bishop. The words are so meanful for the journey we are all on............

"Holy mother, where are you? Tonight I feel broken in two.Ive seen the stars fall from the sky.Holy mother, cant keep from crying.

Oh I need your help this time,Get me through this lonely night.Tell me please which way to turnTo find myself again.

Holy mother, hear my prayer,Somehow I know youre still there.Send me please some peace of mind;Take away this pain."

Until tomorrow, our team thanks everyone for their support.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


The Journey sets in 09-03-2008

Well Day number 3 is all finished. We ran to Stoney Creek today. We started at the edge of Hamilton and made our way on the hottest day yet. The humidity was overwhelming, especially running the first 2 km on fresh ashphalt. What a day!! We were honked at and cheered on by everyone in Hamilton. Cars would yell to us "We saw you on the news and wish you all the best of luck. Keep up the great work." Jill even had a gentleman give her $10 as she was running by his car. After the first 5 km, we stopped at a plaza outside a Walmart. We set up our awareness table and had a young gentleman come up to visit our table. He spoke to Jeff about not feeling well and having some sympotms that were on our educational materials. After making a donation to the run, he told us he was going to go to the get checked out by his doctor. This is what the run is all about!! Education + Awareness = Lives saved!!

A good friend of Jill's, Toni, came out to run with us today. She did great!! As we headed back out after our first stop, the heat was our biggest challenge. This is when I feel that Jill's mom and my mom were taking care of us all. As we continued to run, cars and trucks were honking and cheering us on. Everyone respected on the roads and welcomed us in their community. As we finished our day, we stopped at a parking lot of a bar just outside Stoney Creek. At the bar, a young lady told us that she lost her mom to colon cancer. These are the stories that keep us moving.

The togetherness that our team feels is overwhelming. It is true when we said it is not about the race, but about the journey. This is a journey!! We have all been brought together to make a difference. The first song that I listened to today was The Beatles "Let It Be." I think the words speak for themselves about how we are feeling:


As we make the journey, we do hear words of wisdom. These words of wisdom keep us going!! Until tomorrow..........

Love the Sophie's Run Team
P.S. Thank you Shannon for the Alphabets. You rock!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Hot Hot Day 09-02-2008

Today was another success. We completed 21 km. It was a very, very, very hot day. The heat got to us at times, but we managed to get through it. We were very lucky to have the support of our police escort Tom. He directed traffic and made sure that everyone knew that we were running through Burlington. Our first awareness was at a plaza in Burlington. Three young high school girls came over to visit to find out what we were doing. They were encouraged by our campaign, bought markers and signed our banners. We were touched that we were able to engage a younger crowd. Then we went to meet the Mayor of Burlington, Cam Jackson. He was very welcoming of us. We met with him and learned about his efforts to raise awareness for colorectal cancer. Then we carried on our journey. This is when the heat started to take its toll and the lactic acid in our legs built up. We fought through it though!! What was so encouraging was people telling us that they saw us on the news and how proud they were of our awareness campaign. At our next stop we continued to touch people. People bought our shirts and continued to sign our banner along the way. After our run, we went to dinner at the Queen's Head in Burlington. They treated us to lunch!! Thank you!! We continued to touch and share our story. A gentleman at the bar came up and handed us $40 and wished us well on our journey. What a day!! We all realized that this campaign is touching lives and will save lives. I felt my mom with me today; guiding us and making sure the team was safe. I still feel that we were all chosen for this journey. I am blessed to have a great team with me. My dad, uncle, Jeff, Jill, Natalie and Kelly.......what a team!! Us girls do wonder how long my dad and uncle will last........lol........they are taking good care of us women!! Thanks,Nicole & Team


The First Steps 09-01-2008

"Today was an emotional day for all of us. It is somewhat soreil...........an idea that started almost 2 years ago is now a reality. We are all motivated by the awareness and education that it will bring to colorectal cancer. We are all feeling great. No blisters or sore feet yet. We would also like to thank everyone who came out, volunteered, and participated in Sophie's Run. We are all so greatful. Tomorrow we will be starting in Burlington and running to the border of Hamilton. Will keep you posted on our progress........" Thanks,Nicole & Team

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"We all grieve and heal differently. It is part of life to experience both good and trying times. I truly believe that it is not about yesterday, but it is about making a difference for tomorrow. Sophie's Run is going to make that difference. It will raise awareness, it will educate, and it will save lives."

-- Nicole Chuchmach
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