Cancer changes lives, often in deep and profound ways. The impact of diagnosis and treatment often leads to cancer patients and their families forming lasting relationships with their healthcare team. Springfield’s “Happy Half Marathon” illustrates just how powerful that bond can be.
In 2011, a group of family members ran from Springfield, OH to Yellow Springs, OH while training for a marathon. Their run raised money for the cancer treatment of a family member, Mike Maloney, who was a patient at Mercy Health – Springfield Regional Cancer Center. After Mike sadly passed away, the “Happy Half Marathon” was born.
Making a Difference
The purpose of the race is simple, to make a difference in the lives of area residents fighting cancer. Proceeds from the race benefit the Mercy Health – Springfield Regional Cancer Center, its patients, and their families.
“Using the money in this way extends the legacy of the Happy Half,” says Pilar Mock, Director of Oncology Services at Springfield Regional Cancer Center. “The funds help us launch and strengthen programs that complement the organizers’ wish for people to choose happiness.”
One program proceeds from the race have helped grow is the massage program. Massages help cancer patients with sleep, pain management and stress as they undergo treatments. However, medical massages are usually expensive. Thanks to the “Happy Half Marathon,” Springfield Regional Cancer Center offers this service for only $10 per session. The program was even able to purchase a new table and funding also helped keep this popular service in house.
Funds raised by the race have also helped the cancer center launch and sustain a strength program. As patients undergo treatment, their endurance often declines. The strength program creates an individualized plan based on each patient’s capacity. Research shows that strength programs can lead to fewer hospitalizations. However, insurance typically doesn’t cover the cost.
“Starting a strength program was a dream we had but were never able to do,” says Mock. “The Happy Half has helped make that possible.”
Hard Work and Helping Others
Chris Meister, “Happy Half Marathon” organizer, knows training for and running a half marathon is hard work. But it also has physical and spiritual rewards.
“As you are training for the Happy Half, you are doing something great for yourself. Running 13.1 miles is difficult whether it is your first time or your thousandth time,” says Meister.
“There will be times when your training runs are difficult. In those times, it is important to remember stories from the cancer center. You are running for your community and a cause that is bigger than all of us. Your investment in yourself and in the Happy Half Marathon has a direct, positive impact on others. That is something that you should be proud of.”
The 2019 Happy Half Marathon took place on August 17 attracting 308 runners and more than 225 volunteers. This year’s proceeds of $12,000 will once again benefit Mercy Health – Springfield Regional Cancer Center.
Learn more about the cancer services available at Mercy Health.