Founder of NED

I’d never been interested in distance running before cancer. I lacked the patience (not to mention, I’d never understand the point). However, after I lost my strength from my cancer treatment, I couldn’t play most sports. Running seemed easier than anything else.
So that became my exercise. It was meditative, giving me time to reflect on what my body had been through. Also, running a marathon is recognized as the No.1 cancer survivor cliche activity globally. I have a competitive streak and figured why not try it myself? I was curious to see what all the hype was about.

While I knew it was certainly possible for me to run a full marathon, I didn’t quite know how to train. I knew I had to be super self-disciplined so I came up with a plan. Starting small, I ran a quarter-mile on the first day, adding a quarter-mile every day until I could run 26.2 miles. That first quarter-mile was torture, but it didn’t kill me, so I stuck with it. I began to like the incremental progress I could make physically and psychologically. I rebuilt my self-confidence by committing to the little things.

Although my plan didn’t exactly go according to plan (it took me more than a year and a half to run my first 10K), I finally participated in the Seattle marathon in November 2021 – four full years after my first quarter-mile attempt straight out of recovery from chemotherapies.

Just like marathon training, starting an initiative like NED requires dedication. My mentor at the University of Washington, Professor Annabelle Gould, often reminds me of author Anne Lamott’s precept: address challenges “bird by bird,” one step at a time.

Problems don’t always have obvious solutions. Sometimes the move is taking it day by day until the solution finds you.