Before Lewis could participate in her first 26.2 mile run her cousin, Sabrina “Bucky” Walton, succumbed to the cancer. Walton was 43-years-old. Lewis decided she would still make the trip to San Diego and run – not to help her cousin, but to honor her memory. In the process, Lewis raised $3,548 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
“When I got to the finish the emotion hit me and I just burst out in tears,” said Lewis who admitted the run was not an easy task. “By the 16th mile, I suffered an ankle injury and it got pretty tough, but I thought that’s minor compared to what cancer does to a person. You can’t soak away cancer. You can’t wash off cancer. You can’t put an ice pack on cancer.”
Lewis said she’s committed to running a marathon a year to honor her cousin and to raise money in efforts of finding cures for leukemia and lymphoma – cancers that attack the blood. In May, she will run the Cellcom Green Bay (WI) Marathon with a goal of raising $5,000. In efforts to raise funds Lewis is hosting a hip hop trivia night on Sat., March 17 at Ginger Hop, 201 E. Hennepin Ave. The event begins at 9 p.m. and costs $25 per team up to four individuals. All the proceeds will benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Lewis has a webpage where individuals can donate, track her progress and encourage her in training. The site web address is http://pages.teamintraining.org/mn/GREENBAY12/SEECALIRUN.
Lewis found encouragement from a fellow runner who has her own cause.
Sonya Goins, a news producer with WCCO, suffers from Crohn's disease.
Crohn’s disease is an autoimmune disorder that usually affects the intestines. An autoimmune disorder is a condition that occurs when your body's immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue.
“I was diagnosed with Crohn’s in 1985,” said Goins, who experienced severe pain and internal bleeding as a result of the disease. “I planned on running the San Diego (marathon) but was physically unable.” Goins said she had half of her colon removed due to the affliction.
“I saw on Facebook (Lewis) was running and I thought I have to support her,” said Goins who said she has raised more than $8,000 in the fight against Crohn’s within the past two years. “We motivate each other.”
In addition to raising money for Crohn’s research, Goins said she has a goal to raise awareness. “I don’t think people get the personal side. They don’t know what it’s like to live with Crohn’s or to lose a loved one to cancer,” Goins said.
Goins will participate in a June Crohn’s walk/run at Lake Harriett. She also has a webpage to support her efforts. That web address is http://online.ccfa.org/site/TR/2012TakeStepsWalk/Chapter-MinnesotaDakotas?px=1945903&pg=personal&fr_id=3171.
Both Lewis and Goins are affiliated with Black Girls RUN!, an organization with the mission to encourage African American women to make fitness and healthy living a priority.