How a Marathon Can Change Lives

How a Marathon Can Change Lives

By Greg Lee, LIVESTRONG President
tweet me:
Step out of your comfort zone and see where the world takes you, like @livestronggreg. It could even save a life!

Multimedia from this Release

Jerry and Amy Frostick.

Me, Cindy Graf, Tara Costa and My son Grayson Lee.

Thursday, February 25, 2016 - 11:00am

CAMPAIGN: LIVESTRONG in the Communities


Sometimes when you take a chance and step out of your norm, you can truly have life-changing experiences. Several years ago I went to Virginia Beach to attend an event hosted by long-time LIVESTRONG Leader and supporter Cindy Graf. I met two incredible individuals Jerry and Amy Frostick who ran an event in town called The Shamrock Marathon. Cindy invited the two to Austin for the Ride for the Roses event later that October. After hearing about our efforts, they invited me to come to the Shamrock Marathon that next March and see what it was all about. I was asked to be on the starter’s podium and help get the runners started on their runs. My son Grayson and I went to the event, armed with a backpack of wristbands, but with no real idea what to expect.

Let me be clear, before this event I hadn’t run since Junior High. I play a lot of golf, but had never even entertained the idea of running a 5k much less a half marathon. Being a college baseball player, my son talked me into it and we ran alongside the participants. I met tons of people that day including a woman named Tara Costa – a celebrity contestant on the show “The Biggest Loser”. It just so happened that a film crew was there capturing her and others participating in the Shamrock Marathon that day. I had not intended on even running, but after hearing and seeing so many inspirational stories, I couldn’t shy away from the challenge. I knew I couldn’t drop out or quit. I ran 18.1 miles that weekend – more than I probably had ever run in my life. From that moment forward, I have been addicted to running; and last year alone I participated in 5 marathons and another 12 half-marathons.

A few months after that initial visit to Shamrock, I received a call from Jerry late one evening. Jerry’s mother Mimi had just been diagnosed (yet again) with cancer. They weren’t sure where to turn or exactly what to do. I was honored to get that call from Jerry and to be of help to Mimi. It is an example of what we do at LIVESTRONG every day (more than 8,000 times last year alone)……helping families cope, deal, and get valuable information to help them navigate thru their cancer journey.

Fast forward five years and here we are – with the week of the 2016 Shamrock Marathon just around the corner. For the past 5 years, LIVESTRONG has been the premier charity partner for the event and we are closing in on nearly a half-million dollars raised for our programs and services. To me, this run is so much more than a fundraiser. It was the catalyst that helped me get on a path to better health. It was a chance meeting that allowed LIVESTRONG to help a family in need. It began a friendship and a partnership for which I am very forever grateful. I am dedicating my run this year in Shamrock to Mimi and the 32 million facing this disease right now. Thank you, Jerry and Amy, for giving LIVESTRONG the opportunity to help so many more people affected by cancer. Your partnership has helped us make a huge difference in the lives of so many.

I can’t wait to get back to Virginia Beach and Shamrock Marathon Weekend. See you at the finish line!