Subscribe via email

Enter your email address below to receive the latest tips for beginning runners:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Cancer survivor gives Boston Marathon medal to her doctors

by Michael Morton

During her three decades running the Boston Marathon, Sandy Xenos of Hopkinton had placed finisher's medals in her father's coffin and given them to friends struggling with illness or grief.

But yesterday marked the first time one of the keepsakes went to people who helped save the Bellingham teacher's life.

"Your professionalism and kindness will never be forgotten," she said, reading a prepared salute at Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute before tearing up and going off-script. "You've changed my life."

At Xenos' behest, a jeweler had inscribed the medal with her initials, the initials of Drs. Michael Muto and Ursula Matulonis, and "Yawkey 10" - the tenth floor of the hospital's Yawkey Center, where she received chemotherapy. The doctors plan to frame and display the blue-and-gold memento.

"About the only way I'm ever going to see a medal like this in my life," joked Muto, who, like Matulonis, paused during a frenzied day for the brief presentation.

Months before, the doctors had been caught a little off-guard when Xenos announced her plans to still run Boston, despite a scheduled full hysterectomy for her uterine cancer.

But she stuck with her plans, even upon finding out she needed chemotherapy, a regimen that meant the race would fall between the fifth and sixth sessions.

At one point in training she pushed a shovel in front of her to clear snow, and at another she got up at 4 a.m. for a run before a morning chemo session, an appointment documented in a previous Daily News story.

She finished the race in 4 hours, 58 minutes and 11 seconds - coming in just 20 minutes behind her 2010 pace despite some labored breathing on the second half of the course and a sense that chemo-related anemia was wearing on her.

"The whole race was very normal," said Xenos, who ripped off her hat at the top of Beacon Street to reveal her bald head. "That's what I couldn't believe."

On Heartbreak Hill, some of her Bellingham High students showed up to cheer her on.

After finishing her final chemo session 10 days after the race, she returned to her job as wellness director in late May and resumed her voluntary role as graduation coordinator.

For the next year, Xenos will alternate every three months between checkups with her surgeon and her oncologist, with yesterday's visit yielding a clean bill of health. Now she plans to help with the Jimmy Fund's Radio-Telethon and to share her experience with other patients.

"There will be no better place for my medal," she said of Dana-Farber.

 Cancer survivor gives Boston Marathon medal to her doctors


Such an inspiration. This Boston Marathoner is an example of the greatness of the human spirit.

No comments:

Post a Comment