Why We Run

On October 10, 2021, Team Lynn Sage celebrates its five-year anniversary and joins thousands of others to run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. We caught up with a few of this year’s runners to share with us, why they chose to support Team Lynn Sage 2021.

Nick Baldwin:  Nick’s aunt was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer in late 2019 during her annual check- up. After watching his aunt fight breast cancer, Nick knew he wanted to run this marathon for a breast cancer charity. After learning Team Lynn Sage was a local charity, started in honor of a loved one that lost her battle, Nick knew Lynn Sage Breast Cancer Foundation was the right charity for him. Nick told us that although his aunt’s diagnosis has him a little more on edge when the phone rings, it has taught him more than ever, to appreciate the time and conversations he has with his loved ones. When asked what has been most surprising regarding his aunt’s cancer journey, he said, “I’ve learned that even a woman in her late 70’s with stage IV breast cancer can be energetic!” Nick’s advice to those facing a new breast cancer diagnosis is, “I couldn’t possibly imagine what it feels like to have a doctor tell me that diagnosis, but if I could give any advice it would be to stay positive. Turn to your friends and family who are there to help during these situations and keep a positive attitude.” On October 10th, 2021 Nick will be running 26.2 miles to honor his aunt in Brooklyn, New York. The largest donor to Nick’s JustGiving campaign will receive a picture of their face printed on the back of Nick’s racing shirt – donate here for a chance to receive this unique honor!

Eric Zingsheim: On January 17, 2019, Eric’s mom and business partner, Arlene, was diagnosed with Invasive Lobular Carcinoma. During her annual check-up the doctor noticed a lump. After a mammogram showed a tumor, she was referred to a breast surgeon and required a mastectomy of her right breast. After surgery, Arlene finally received some good news.   Because of the type of breast cancer and early detection, she would not have to receive chemotherapy or radiation.

What has been most surprising during your cancer journey?

“Realizing the love and support I have from my family and friends. Realizing what is truly important in life. Letting go of negativity and embracing positivity. Being able to help others.”

Arlene also shared that her breast surgeon, Dr. Katz, “Was amazing. When I first met her, I was surprised by how young she was, yet she was so knowledgeable and caring. She helped me make decisions on reconstructive surgery and coordinated with a plastic surgeon so that I would only have one surgery. She also advised me to have genetic testing which came back positive for the CDH1 gene which is associated with diffuse gastric cancer.”

What would you like to share with someone facing a new breast cancer diagnosis?

“Remain positive. The medical field has come so far in being able to successfully treat all forms of breast cancer. It is not a ‘death sentence’. Reach out to others who have had breast cancer to hear their stories and gain support. Rely on family and friends to help you through the emotional and physical aspects of your diagnosis. Ask questions. Seek answers.”

Eric was unaware breast cancer has touched many people in his family. While Eric lives in the United States, most of his family lives in Germany and does not speak English. Eric asked one of his mother’s friends to contact his relatives in Germany, only to find out, his aunt and several of his cousins also were also diagnosed with breast cancer.

Eric helped his mom focus on the things she could control like diet, exercise and sleep habits. “It’s easier said than done, but I think the more she was in control throughout the process, it helped minimize her stress and keep her immune system running optimally.” Arlene has lost ten pounds since her diagnosis. She attributes this to eating more plant-based foods and staying away from processed meats. In addition to walking daily to meet her 8,000 steps per day goal, she works out with weights three times per week. In an effort to destress her life, Arlene has stepped away from a few committees and shifted her focus to family, friends, helping others in her real estate business and living her best life possible.

On Sunday, October 10th, 2021, Eric will honor his mom’s journey by running with Team Lynn Sage to raise money and work towards a future where women no longer have to go through what his mom and so many others have had to endure.

Juan Florez: After losing his father to lung cancer, four short years later, Juan lost his mom to breast cancer when he was just a teenager. Juan was living in Columbia, it was the early 1990’s and treatment options for his mother’s breast cancer were not nearly as advanced as they are today. For many years Juan struggled with sadness and anger after losing both of his parents to cancer. He said, if he could give advice to someone facing a new breast cancer diagnosis, it would be “To stay strong and don’t give up. Your family and friends will be by your side.” Nowadays, Juan has a family of his own. With his wife, daughter and one more baby girl on the way, he is happy and more committed to making a difference for important causes. After meeting Laura Sage during the foundation’s Chicago in Good Taste campaign, and hearing the story of her mother Lynn’s tragic loss to breast cancer, Juan was moved and could relate to Laura’s loss. He now wants to make the Lynn Sage Breast Cancer Foundation one of the charities he stands behind to help make a difference in the fight against breast cancer.

What recommendations do you have for people looking to support a loved one with this diagnosis?

“To love them more and help them every step, don’t let them give up and trust science. Look for different options for treatment and as many doctors as possible. Fuel them with good times to help them beat cancer.” 

Juan’s mom used to tell him how proud she was of him for being a good boy. He has carried on her legacy by becoming a good man, keeping her in his thoughts throughout each decision he makes to ensure she would still be proud of him today.

Team Lynn Sage runs for our mothers, aunts, sisters, cousins, best friends, neighbors, teachers, etc. in the hopes that one day a cure will be found, and no one will have to experience the pain of hearing those words, you have breast cancer. Support our Team Lynn sage 2021 by becoming a runner or being part of our cheering section at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. To learn more, please email info@lynnsage.org for details.

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