More than 1,700 runners from all over Maryland and beyond participated in the 4th Annual Maryland Half Marathon Sunday, May 6, 2012, in Howard County. The race raised more than $200,000 to benefit the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center. Allison Leer of Indianapolis was motivated to run the Maryland race by the story of Dozer, the dog who accidentally joined in the last year’s half marathon and became an international celebrity, raising more than $30,000 for the cancer center. Allison, whose father is a cancer survivor, lost her own canine running partner last year. She agreed to share her moving story with our readers.
By Allison Leer
Six years ago, I started into yet another attempt, none of which had ever been successful, to lose weight. But this time it worked – and 80 pounds came off! As the weight came off, I started to walk with a neighbor dog, Chancey. Chancey and I walked at first, then after a while we started to run just a little, then a little more, and a little more.
Eventually, my husband and I adopted our very first dog, Cecil, and it was LOVE at first sight and I became a fanatical dog lover! Cecil was my running and training partner and my best friend (see photo, above, far right). We ran more than a 1000 miles together. Cecil motivated me to get out and keep running and keep the weight off. Cecil ran races with me, including a half marathon, just like Dozer!
Lighter and with the best training partner I could ever ask for, I set a goal for myself to run a half marathon in all 50 states. But I lost my beloved Cecil in July. I run with Cecil’s tags and a picture of him on my watch; so his spirit will still be with me, as I run a half marathon in each of the 50 states. (Maryland was state #23.)
Last year, when I saw Dozer’s story, I sent it to all my “dog friends” and encouraged them to donate. And, as a fanatical dog lover, I knew the Maryland Half Marathon was THE race I wanted to run in Maryland. I never dreamed I’d be able to meet Dozer and get a picture with him. HE IS A ROCK STAR!
Three years ago, my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The diagnosis was a devastating blow to the whole family, as cancer affects the whole family. Our eyes were opened to a completely unfamiliar world of cancer and the extraordinary people in it.
He underwent 43 radiation treatments at the Hendricks Regional Health Cancer Center (in Danville, Ind.). Every member of the staff was amazing – nurses, receptionists, doctors, cleaning staff – every single member of the staff was supportive and caring during his treatment. (Two of the nurses even run half marathons and Mom and Dad have attended some of their races, cowbell and all, to cheer them on.)
Our family saw firsthand the remarkable good that donations to a cancer center can bring to patients. Dad is cancer free! Thanks to all the wonderful people at the cancer center. They are all ROCK STARS too!
The Maryland Half Marathon was an amazing race for me. Eighty pounds lighter, running a half marathon! Getting my picture taken with Dozer, a ROCK STAR! (That’s us above, with Dozer’s owner, Rosana Dorsett.) And raising money for the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center – it just doesn’t get any better!