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Finishing a Marathon During Chemotherapy

Hillary_st_jude_640_360The first St. Jude patient to cover the full 26.2 miles while receiving in-patient therapy.

When our St. Jude Heroes run a 26.2-mile course during the St. Jude Country Music Marathon to support our kids, they accomplish no small feat. But one patient took on an even greater challenge: becoming the first St. Jude patient to cover the distance of a marathon while receiving inpatient care.

In 2008, Hillary was diagnosed with b-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia and treated at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Her cancer went into remission after three years of chemotherapy. In October 2011, St. Jude doctors learned she suffered from an unrelated form of cancer: non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Hillary underwent another nine more months of intensive chemotherapy and achieved remission.

Sadly, Hillary’s cancer relapsed and she returned to St. Jude in 2013. Her treatment included more chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. Hillary’s goal to walk the length of a marathon kept her focused on the benefits of remaining active after transplant. She walked at least one mile each day to build strength and improve endurance.

Three weeks after her transplant, Hillary completed the last of 26.2 miles in the corridors of the bone marrow transplant unit, becoming the first St. Jude patient to cover the distance of a marathon while receiving inpatient care.

You can honor Hillary’s marathon walk by participating in our St. Jude Country Music Marathon. Run as a St. Jude Hero, and you can help ensure no family ever receives a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food—because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.