For those of you who know me, running has always been a passion of mine. Whether it's a quick run after a long day in the office or running with teammates at the beach during my playing days, I've always had the "runners bug". Over the past few years I've found that my runs have more of a purpose. This November's Marathon is not about me but rather about shedding light on the scary reality that brain cancer & brain tumors can have on families all around the world. During the past year of rehabbing a completely shattered ankle and never thinking I'd have the same mobility as I once had, it was thoughts of the fight my beuatiful niece has already gone through in her 4 years of life and will continue to go through, which have gotten me to this moment. This run is in support of the strong parents of these beuatiful children like my amazing sister, Erin, and hardworking brother-in-law Ralph Bertelle.
What I am asking of my family, friends, colleagues and strangers, is not neccessialiry a monetary donation (although I hope you do :)), but for you to take a second a read about the inciredible things the Children's Brain Tumor Family Foundation are doing in this world. Whether it's taking a second to read about the work these doctors and oganztion are doing, donating to the cause, helping me get through a leg of a long training run or just keeping these beautiful children in your thoughts and prayers. Gabriella and I, along with our families will be forever greatful.
Every run has a purpose.
**A message from Erin Bertelle**
Three years ago today was the scariest, most nerve wracking day of my life. Not knowing what the next day was going to look like. Not knowing what the future of my daughters health would look like. There were so many different emotions and so many questions. We were relieved knowing the tumor was hopefully going to be fully removed but scared what complications may come with that. We were grateful knowing Gabriella was in the absolute best hands in the most amazing hospital with the most supportive family and friends surrounding us. But terrified thinking about the extensive surgery our 1 1/2 year old baby was about to undergo. Would we be home within a few days, weeks, we didn’t know. Leaving our other baby home and being 5 1/2 months pregnant with another. Nervous was an understatement. Sad, frustrated, confused, every emotion you could imagine me feeling i did. But grateful still. Grateful for the opportunity to have one of the best neurosurgeons in the country operating on her.
We left the house and headed into Manhattan that night. While Gab slept soundly in between us in the hotel room i dont think Ralph or myself got more than a couple hours of sleep. The anxiousness of those hours leading up to her surgery were almost unbearable. And also knowing that when we were saying goodbye in the operating room her skull was about to be sliced open was the most horrifying thought in the world. But it was time to say goodbye and hope for the best possible outcome. And so after what felt like a lifetime in the waiting room, Dr Souweidane came for us. He was able to do a total resection, everything went really well and we were going to be able to see our girl soon!! The biggest relief was knowing that this was a benign tumor. And we were already somewhat educated on the possible side effects of the surgery but still not prepared for the difference in quality of life compared to our other healthy 1 1/2 year old daughter. And no matter how much we know or understand about Gabs health it still hurts me everyday. That there will always be medication, tests, procedures, etc just to live a normal life. At such a young age this is all she will ever know to be normal. Which i guess is a good thing too. She doesn’t know any different. But we as adults do. And that’s the hard part for us. She’s as happy and smart as a kid could be at her age. We will never not worry about her but we also have our safe place at New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell. Where she has the most amazing team of doctors and of course her surgeon.
And this is why when my brother John was looking to become part of a team to run in the 2020 NY Marathon, we got him teamed up with CBTFF. The Children’s Brain Tumor Family Foundation part of The Children’s Brain Tumor Project at Weill Cornell. Gabriella was fortunate in that her tumor was benign, and operable. Other families did not have such a fortunate diagnosis. And so we understand what it means to be grateful and want to try to raise as much as we can for these families and this amazing organization. So PLEASE help John get to his goal and donate what you can to this cause!!!! And for whoever will be in the area on Nov 1st come hang out with us and cheer him on to the finish line!!