Young lawyer makes cancer research her motive for running

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Young lawyer makes cancer research her motive for running: Ali Gorman reports during Action News at 5pm on September 13, 2017. (WPVI)

Thousands of runners will be hitting the streets of Philadelphia this weekend as a series of races combines music and the city's historic sites.
But they also have a very serious mission. And it's especially important for one South Philadelphia woman.

When 33-year-old Sarah Happy started with her trainer, she wanted to stick to the gym.

"I said, you know, I love working out, but I hate running, so we're not going to to that," she says with a chuckle.

But Cyrena Chang Paulin of the Sporting Club at the Bellevue encouraged Sarah to run anyway.

And now she's hooked.

This weekend, Sarah will run and walk her first half-marathon, the Philadelphia Rock'N'Roll Half Marathon.

She's now a Runner for Research, raising money for the American Association for Cancer Research, the race's charity partner.

Sarah's first encounter with cancer came just after college.

"I could feel something in my arm, under my arm, and I went to the doctor," she says

The diagnosis was lymphoma.

"I had tumors in my chest cavity, and there was a shadow over my heart from the cancer," recalls Sarah. "Everything in my life changed."

After 6 months of chemo and 2 months of radiation, Sarah was cancer-free - until a routine Pap test a year later.

She recounts, "They're calling me and saying they want a biopsy, they're saying there's these cancer cells and we have to remove them."

It took 2 operations, but Sarah beat cervical cancer and she recently got married.

This 2-time survivor says having doctors with access to the latest research saved her life, so she hopes other runners will join the race, too.

"You can get involved with not only something you love, but something that's going to benefit a lot of people," she remembers.

And along with that, the AACR says the music keeps runners going.

"All of a sudden, you see this blue band or a soul band or a rock'n'roll band - it's fantastic," says AACR executive director Mitch Stoller.

Here in Philadelphia, there's actually a whole weekend of events, including a fitness expo on Friday and Saturday. The 5K and 10K races are on Saturday and the half-marathon is Sunday.

Online registration is closed, however, runners can register for the 5K and 10K at the expo on Friday or for the half-marathon at the expo Friday and Saturday.

For more information on the 2017 Philadelphia Rock'N'Roll Half-Marathon, CLICK HERE.

Related Topics:
healthhealthcheckcancermarathonsrunningSouth Philadelphia
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