Why is Wendy Drake spending hours every week running in the mountains, in rain, snow, sleet, and mud, facing exhaustion and risking injury? She is training for her first 100-mile mountain trail running race, but she also has some extra motivation. She’s not just running for herself—she’s running for a cause, to raise money for pancreatic cancer research.
Drake and the people in her community were stunned this year when their friend, who was ultra-fit, healthy, and just four months out after completing her first 100-mile race, finally got a diagnosis for the back pain that had nagged all summer. Marcy Servita’s pancreatic cancer was Stage IV and inoperable. It didn’t seem possible, but there was scant time to think about more than her care. Marcy lived only 60 days after her diagnosis.
Unfortunately, says Drake, this is an all too familiar story. There are no early warning diagnostic tests and by the time pancreatic cancer is discovered, it’s almost always too late. Forty-five thousand cases are diagnosed each year, and each year 40,000 people die from the disease. Additionally, pancreatic cancer is projected to become the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States by 2030, according to research conducted by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network published in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
On Sept. 26, Drake will begin running her first 100-mile race, The Bear. With 21,986 feet of elevation gain, this race will test her limits mentally and physically, just as pancreatic cancer does everyday for both patients and caregivers. She hopes to raise $1 for every foot of elevation gain in the race toward her project “Elevating a Cure.” Proceeds raised from this fundraiser will help support the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, a nationwide network of people dedicated to working together to advance research, support patients, and create hope for those affected by pancreatic cancer.
Follow Drake’s last week of preparation and fundraising efforts at facebook.com/destinationepic. She’ll be carrying a DeLorme tracking device so that you can see her check in at each of the 13 checkpoints until the finish. To donate to “Elevating a Cure,” please visit her fundraising page.
About Wendy Drake
Wendy Drake is an adventurous endurance athlete, a twenty-five year veteran of the computing industry, and Chief Human to Scout, a border collie online when his human isn’t hogging the computer. (Facebook.com/explorerscout).
Based in Boulder, Colorado, she has been training in the mountains since 2007 and last year placed 3rd for women at the the Kodiak 50-mile run in California. The Bear 100, beginning in Logan, Utah, is her first 100-mile attempt.
The co-founder of the Boulder Banditos running club and the author of Running to Thousand Letters, Drake runs with the goal of Elevating a Cure to pancreatic cancer.