Dear Neighbors,

This year’s National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer was especially heart-felt in so many ways. As I ran, I wore the names of two women who embody what this race is all about. My friend, Wendy Chioji, a long-time news anchor, who spent her post diagnosis life modeling what survivorship should be, and our very own Marina Kaplan. We lost Marina a couple of weeks ago, and the freshness of that loss was felt by many as we ran through the streets near her home. Marina lived with cancer with honesty about her fears, and a fierceness to help other women with metastatic breast cancer. She was the very definition of the spirit of this race and the “Together We Will” theme that we carried through the weekend. There were so many people from around the nation running with their own stories of loss and triumph. I can’t think of a better community to send them into for comfort, encouragement and love. This was absolutely the most crowd support I’ve seen in our 13 years, and that is truly saying something. I think my favorite sign (and there were many) was “Hello Stranger, You Inspire Me.” Every runner felt that sentiment from this crowd. So once again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for showing up and showing out. To the police, the volunteers, and everyone who makes this weekend the signature event it is, my heart is full, and I am grateful beyond words.

Together We Will,
Donna Deegan
Atlantic Beach