Two-time cancer survivor to run her first marathon

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Saturday, September 16, 2017
Two-time cancer survivor to run her first marathon
Two-time cancer survivor to run her first marathon. Ali Gorman reports during Action News at 7 a.m. on September 16, 2017.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Sunday is the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon.

While there will be many athletes taking part, it takes on special meaning for a South Philadelphia woman who is a two-time cancer survivor.

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 do that," Happy says.

But Cyrena Chang Paulin encouraged Sarah to run anyway. Now, she's hooked.

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

Sarah is 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," says Happy. The diagnosis was lymphoma, "I had tumors in my chest cavity, and there was a shadow over my heart from the cancer."

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

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

It took two operations, but Sarah beat cervical cancer. And she recently got married!

She says having doctors with access to the latest research saved her life.

Happy 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."

Along with that, the AACR says the music keeps runners going.

"All of a sudden, you see this blues band, or a soul band, or a rock 'n' roll band. It's fantastic," says the AACR's Mitch Stoller.

The Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon holds a weekend full of events in the Philadelphia area.


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