“When my then fiancé, now husband, was diagnosed with cancer in 2012, my entire perspective on life changed. Things that seemed to be important before didn’t matter anymore. We both felt an array of emotions — scared, angry and sad as we were going through such a life-changing event in our mid-20s. I had run a handful of races before his diagnosis ranging from 5Ks to half marathons. I definitely had the running bug, but his cancer diagnosis really hit me hard and transformed my running. For a while, running was the only thing that got me out of bed each morning. I ran more than I had because it made me feel like myself again. It helped me clear my head each morning, reset for the day and be ready for what life had in store for me. I know it’s cliché to say running is my therapy, but during that life event it really was and still is today. Thankfully, my husband has been cancer free since 2012. Running helped me keep a clear mind and allowed me to stay positive through it all. ” – HOKA Field Service Rep Melissa Territo from Austin, TX
Melissa’s favorite shoe is the Mach.
“At age 49, I was a 215-pound, weightlifting gym rat. In the summer of 2010, my wife told me that for her birthday in December, she wanted to run a half marathon. I hadn’t the foggiest idea what I was doing, but I talked her into letting me train her. That December, we ran and finished our first race. Two months later, I found out that also crossing the finish line with us was a Stage IV T3 sized tumor directly behind my Adam’s apple. Treatment started soon after. Between March and May, I lost my ability to drive due to meds, my voice due to radiation and over 40 pounds. I was declared cancer free in October and will celebrate six years this fall. I don’t lift as much as I used to, but I run more than I could have ever imagined. Each run, no matter how short or long, is a gift”- HOKA fan Christopher Nolan
Christopher is wearing the Bondi.
“I have seen more patients battle cancer than I care to admit, but no one showed as much grit and determination as Neil — he simply didn’t know any other way. Neil was my roommate through medical school and my best friend across 3,000 miles and 30 years. Neither of us is or was born a runner. He had hip problems, and my legs are way too short. But, if there was a challenge, Neil was up for it. He always finished what he started. We ran our first marathon together in 1998, and 12 years later, Neil was diagnosed with lymphoma. In December of 2015, despite cancer, chemo and me slowing him down, we finished the Tucson Marathon. I probably would not have finished the race if it weren’t for him being there beside me. His next target was the New York City Marathon, but New York would have to wait until he had recovered from his bone marrow transplant.
Neil died this past fall, and I like to think that when he died, he killed the cancer too. As I said, he didn’t like to lose. He did not give up, and he never gave up. This fall, Neil’s brothers and I will be running the NYC Marathon in Neil’s honor. I will be the one with a pair of Neil’s shoes strung over my shoulder. This time it’s my turn to help him finish what he started.”- HOKA Fan Marshall Silverman
“Rob is a 15-year brain cancer survivor. One month after his surgery, while doing six weeks of daily radiation and chemo, he decided he wanted to start running and train for the Chicago Marathon. Rob trains in rain, sun or snow and usually at 4:30 a.m. before work. He only takes time off when he is on chemo. Rob finished Chicago 2015 in just under six hours. Despite successes, his journey hasn’t been easy, and after all his effort and sacrifice, two weeks before the 2016 Chicago Marathon, we were told his brain tumor grew back, again. The doctors wanted to operate immediately, but Rob decided to wait two weeks until after the marathon. We went to Chicago with very heavy hearts. We didn’t know if he’d survive, let alone run again. With every step he took during those 26.2 miles, he wondered if that would be his last marathon ever. He persevered and gave it his all, finishing Chicago 2016 in 5 hours 4 min. We went to NYC two weeks later, for his third brain surgery. It was amazing. He came through with flying colors and miraculously had no side effects post surgery. Rob runs for the American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA) to raise awareness about brain cancer. The fundraising goes toward patient and caregiver education and clinical research. He says he started running because it is the only thing in his life he feels he has control of. He also says he runs for brain cancer patients who can’t run for themselves. Running has helped him so much with the neurological symptom management and anxiety caused by this type of brain tumor. Rob is truly an inspiration and a silent warrior.”-Rob’s wife, Sherlyn Celone-Arnold
Rob’s favorite shoe is the Arahi.
“I hiked across the Philippines for 88 days, a total distance of 3300-plus km, to raise awareness about childhood cancer. I’m one of those people who always explores and goes beyond my limitations. I came up with the idea to run across the Philippines and started planning for it, but lots of problems arose. It didn’t stop me. Instead, I decided to hike across the Philippines, unsupported, with all my things inside my backpack. Hiking the Asian Highway 26 (AH26) wasn’t easy, but it was fun. There were different challenges everyday. To have done this was a big accomplishment for me, but to have done it for a greater purpose was priceless. I have chosen to raise awareness about the childhood cancer community, since my local running club always chooses this as our charity. During my hike, I talked to people I met on the road regarding issues about childhood cancer, what simple things they can do to help and what can they do to protect their children from acquiring it. I also visited children’s hospitals along the way to ask what issues they needed to raise to the people and specifically to the government legislators. I changed people’s perception of children with cancer and showed them that these kids have a much bigger chance of surviving cancer. These children are very hopeful that they’ll win their battle, and I wanted to help them win the battle.” – HOKA fan Derick Cordura