Running for Awareness

Running for Awareness

From Rolando Amaya

Please sponsor me as I run a marathon in honor of my mother, a recent breast cancer survivor. All contributions go to the Alamo City Cancer Council, who provides cancer patients with education, resources, and services.

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My Inspiration

Last summer, my mother, Norma Meisel, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Upon hearing her diagnosis, I immediately flashed back to May of 2012 when I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Hearing that I had cancer was terrifying. Immediately, my life felt like nothing more than a series of physical exams and nervous anticipation while awaiting the results. Amongst all of the fear and uncertainty surrounding my cancer diagnosis, the most difficult part of the ordeal was explaining everything to concerned family and friends. I always knew that I was going to be fine; convincing distraught loved ones of that was not easy. In the end, I was lucky in that my cancer was not aggressive and did not spread. After surgery and a chemotherapy treatment, I was pronounced cancer free and remain so to this day.

As a cancer survivor, one would think that I could take my mother’s news in stride. I could not. I vividly remembered what I went through and knew her treatment would be worse than mine. That was difficult to accept. The most difficult part for me was knowing that I was now the scared family member with whom I had so much trouble confronting during my ordeal. I knew there was nothing I could do to ease the physical and mental pain she was about to endure. With that came tremendous feelings of guilt and sadness.

As she endured surgery and months of chemotherapy treatments, my mother maintained a positive frame of mind and stubbornly kept to her normal lifestyle to the extent that she could. She aggressively maintained status quo; during the holidays she made sure that all of our family traditions were uninterrupted (an example: for Christmas dinner, she insisted on “only” making a turkey, prime rib, about 11 sides, dozens of cookies, and a pie). Her strength and resolve lifted the rest of the family. Despite all that she was going through, it was my mother who ended up making me feel better, just as she always has.

My mother’s chemotherapy treatments are now over. She’s still recovering from the side effects but getting better every day. She has been tested and declared cancer free. We are all thrilled. She has been deeply touched by this ordeal and has decided that she would like to help other women with breast cancer by donating her time to the Alamo City Cancer Council (ACCC), a cancer advocacy organization founded by her cancer doctor (see below).

In so many ways, my mother is, and always has been, my inspiration. I couldn’t make her pain better, but I can help her by raising money for this wonderful organization. That is why I am asking that you please sponsor me as I run this marathon in honor of my mother.

The Charity

The Alamo City Cancer Council is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in San Antonio, Texas. Its members are representatives from organizations that focus on the needs of individuals afflicted with cancer. The ACCC members believe that by pooling the talents of these organizations they can provide a more effective and valuable service.

The mission of the Alamo City Cancer Council is to provide education, resources, and services for any project that supports the cause of the eradication of cancer. They seek to reduce disparities between the diverse populations of Texas by providing underserved populations with information about cancer and cancer-related services, empowering them to make more informed decisions.

For more information on the ACCC, please visit

The Marathon

On Saturday, March 14, I’ll be running the National Marathon here in Washington, DC ( This will be my fourth time running the race. The times for each of my first three marathons were 4:01:00, 4:02:52, and 3:58:16, respectively. This year I’m hoping to run my best time yet; I’m pushing for 3:50:00.

I’ve been running hard for hours on end in the freezing cold getting ready for this race (see third picture above). The below freezing temperatures we’ve been having since November have led to many ups and downs throughout my training, but overall, I’m happy with my progress to date. Most importantly, this is the first time I’ve made it this far into my training without injuring myself (knock on wood…). I have three more heavy training weeks until the race. After that I’ll taper for a couple of weeks and then it’s time to run.

Sponsorship by the Quarter Mile

I have broken the 26.2 miles of the marathon into 105 quarter miles. It is my goal to have a sponsor for each of the 105 quarter miles. As the quarter miles grow more difficult, the sponsorship level increases. Below are the sponsorship tiers by mile:

  • Miles 1 to 4: $30 per quarter mile (16 sponsors)
  • Miles 5 to 9: $40 per quarter mile (20 sponsors)
  • Miles 10 to 15: $50 per quarter mile (24 sponsors)
  • Miles 16 to 20: $60 per quarter mile (20 sponsors)
  • Miles 21 to 26: $70 per quarter mile (24 sponsors)
  • Quarter mile 26 to 26.2 (almost): $140 (1 sponsor)

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