Losing a loved one to lung cancer is a pain that no one should have to experience. After Jason’s mother passed away from lung cancer in May 2018, he committed to doing something positive in her honor. On November 3, he’ll be running in the 2019 New York City Marathon as part of the GO2 Foundation Endurance Team; a group of committed athletes with a common goal of raising funds and awareness for lung cancer.
In exchange for his entry to the New York Marathon, Jason and fellow team members each pledge to raise $2,500—funds that will support our research and support services. With plenty of time to spare, Jason has already raised over $5,000 (double the required minimum) with no end in sight.
Compelled by his story and impressed by his efforts, we connected with Jason to learn more about this veteran distance runner’s experience as a first-time GO2 Foundation Endurance Team fundraiser.
What has surprised you most about your fundraising experience so far?
I decided to fundraise for the GO2 Foundation because I wanted to take control of what has been the hardest and most heartbreaking thing to happen to my family — losing my Mom, Stephanie, to lung cancer. I started this journey with the goal of doing something positive, to channel my energy in a way I thought would be productive, to do something good. Most surprising has been that this has been a really important part of healing from the loss of a parent.
A year after my mom’s passing, fundraising has enabled me to share my story, remember and honor my Mom, reconnect with friends and family, and advocate for why the GO2 Foundation is so impactful to so many people. I have been so moved by the love and support received. For anyone that has dealt with cancer with loved ones, you carry that intense experience with you for the rest of your life.
I reflect back to when my mom first told me she had cancer — it changed me forever because it challenged everything I thought to be true in the world. Today, I have shifted my focus to doing what I can so that other people do not have to say goodbye too early to the people they love.
Were you ever concerned you could hit your fundraising minimum?
I’m an optimist, so doubt and fear have no place in my mindset. Professionally, I have been in advertising sales for most of my career. Having a quota, establishing “reach” goals and realistically understanding the challenges ahead has been something I accept with stride for work; all of those elements can be intimidating if you’re only focused on the big number in front of you and if you do not have a plan. When you break that big number down into a plan of attack, you can then compartmentalize, prioritize, and start chipping away at the things you need to do to hit your goal. My approach to fundraising for the GO2 Foundation is no different.
What advice would you give someone considering joining the endurance team?
Join the endurance team because you care and because you have a story to tell. I attended a Lung Cancer Living Room event at GO2 Foundation’s San Carlos office and was brought to tears as I heard from people currently being treated for lung cancer, from caregivers, from doctors, and from SURVIVORS. I saw first-hand how the organization is helping people and creating a beautiful community around something that is otherwise an awful disease. Seeing this gives me hope that other people won’t have to lose their loved ones the way my family did. If you believe you can play some small role in making that true too, well, that’s reason enough to join the endurance team.
Whether in honor of a loved one or in support of those fighting the disease, fundraising efforts through our Endurance Events help raise awareness and much needed funds for the lung cancer community. Want to work toward your personal fitness goals while making a positive impact? Join an Endurance Team, create your own DIY Endurance Fundraising page, or sign up for a walk/run in your area!