Bucket list checked: Philly marathon runner dying of cancer meets Pink

As she prepared for the Philadelphia Marathon, Diane Berberian made it clear that meeting Pink was a priority.

ByBrock Koller WPVI logo
Tuesday, November 30, 2021
Bucket list checked: Philly marathon runner dying of cancer meets Pink
"You have a kind of bravery that I don't understand," Pink told Berberian after hearing of her inspiring story.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Longtime elite runner Diane Berberian had one thing left on her bucket list - talk to her favorite singer and fellow Philadelphia area superstar Pink.

The Philadelphia Marathon runner, who is living life to the fullest while facing the reality of dying of cancer, got to cross that last item off her list when the multi-time Grammy Award winner popped in for a virtual chat over Zoom.

"You have a kind of bravery that I don't understand," Pink told Berberian after hearing of her inspiring story. "You're bringing comfort to other people while you're walking. You're walking through this."

Her goal was to meet Pink - or, actually, as she put it "Pink needs to meet me!"

Berberian is battling bone cancer which has spread to her liver. One year ago, she was given a month to live.

Since then, the Bensalem native has had a day named after her in Boston, thrown out the first pitch at Fenway Park and, just days ago, dropped the puck at the Flyers game.

RELATED: Runner dying of cancer will leave energy, spirit at Philadelphia Marathon

"I do know I'm dying. I know that my body is breaking down. My mind is changing a little bit, but I'm not done," said Diane Berberian, who will leave her energy and spirit don't the streets of Philly this weekend.

And she wasn't done yet. As she prepared for the Philadelphia Marathon, she made it clear that Pink was a priority.

Her goal was to meet Pink - or, actually, as she put it "Pink needs to meet me!"

Before talking with the pop superstar last week, Berberian was a guest of honor at a local soccer field. She signed shirts and spoke with children who were there to meet the person they call "the legend."

Pink let her know, "You are a legend. You know that, right? You are a legend."

Berberian said she's learning to be a legend, but her family says she is a legend in her own mind. Pink said families are there to keep us humble.

Berberian showed Pink her tattoos that adorn her body and tell the story of her triumphs and perseverance.

One on her arm reads: "She believes she could...so she did."

And, boy, has Berberian lived up to that adage.

There's a joke going around, like the famous Kevin Bacon game, there's six degrees of separation between Berberian and everyone else.

"Even with you," Berberian told Pink, "That's why we kept saying somebody's going to know somebody."

"Now it's two degrees of separation," Pink said with a laugh.

Berberian told Pink she did not want waste any more of the singer's time.

Pink replied, "You haven't wasted a second of my time."

In fact, Pink had questions for Berberian. She wanted to know how did marathons become Berberian's calling.

The Bensalem runner said being athletic has always calmed her down. So she took up running and became good at that. Then she said she became a blind runner and realized she was good at that, too. She said endurance running was her mental therapy.

Berberian took that energy to the Philadelphia Marathon earlier this month. She was helped through the weekend, all 44 miles, by a team of 20 friends and family members. She then walked to the finish line.

"The whole marathon weekend my line was 'she believes she could so she did. And when she couldn't anymore, we pushed her to the finish line,'" Berberian said.

Pink, who grew up in Doylestown, Bucks County, always makes sure to give her hometown a shoutout whenever possible. Berberian wanted to do the same and make sure Pink knew about the love the city showed on race weekend.

"You would be so proud of the people of Philadelphia. As bad of a rap, you know, Philly people (get), by the second day, all I heard was 'Diane,'" Berberian said.

Berberian said people who saw her story, which Jamie Apody reported on Nov. 15, came up to her and were cheering her on through the half marathon, 8K and full marathon. Someone even brought Berberian flowers.

"I'm just walking the path. Just trying to get it all in. But I lived large before this. I did a lot. I did a lot of everything I wanted to do, personally, professionally, athletically. And you know, how else would I die? I'm gonna die the same way. Working on it, making it the best I can," Berberian said.

Berberian told Pink that she is part of her everyday routine - and her race days.

"Most of my days start with the song of the day and it's a Pink song. When I race, it's always a Pink song," Berberian said.

"That means the world to me," Pink said. "Thank you."

On that special Zoom call, Pink did some singing. She performed Queen's "We Are the Champions" for Berberian who said she would post that video to her Facebook page at a later time.

As for Berberian saying that Pink needed to meet her, the music superstar said she wasn't offended at all. She was in full agreement.

"Oh, I love it. Yeah, I do. I'm like she's totally right," Pink said.

Berberian said now that she's met Pink, she'll have to think of something else to add to her bucket list because she's far from finished.

Pink suggested learning how to make a swirl pumpkin cheesecake, since she messed up baking the dish - twice - for Thanksgiving.

Berberian then suggested she can send Pink some Tastykakes.

"Butterscotch Krimpets were my favorite," Pink said.