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The promise not to quit: APSU student running in half-marathon to help fight cancer

Some people decide to take up running to lose weight, set a new goal or begin a new hobby. Not Nicole Shea.

Nicole has always wanted to complete a marathon or a long-distance event, but she needed a reason beyond self-gratification to accomplish the feat.

I wanted to do it for a cause, the 19-year-old nursing major and ROTC cadet at Austin Peay State University said. I want to make a difference.
Some people decide to take up running to lose weight, set a new goal or begin a new hobby. Not Nicole Shea.

Nicole has always wanted to complete a marathon or a long-distance event, but she needed a reason beyond self-gratification to accomplish the feat.

“I wanted to do it for a cause,” the 19-year-old nursing major and ROTC cadet at Austin Peay State University said. “I want to make a difference.”

On Saturday, April 25, Nicole will run in the annual Country Music Marathon and Half-Marathon event as a member of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training. Since October 2008, she and other team members have been training and raising funds to help stop leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma and myeloma from taking more lives.

And her motivation is someone she knows from church — a 7-year-old boy battling cancer.

“No one in my close family has cancer, but I've known people who have suffered from it. My life has been touched by someone who has cancer,” she said. “Throughout my training, I have had hard days, especially those that involved running hills or in the rain. But cancer patients go through hard days every day.”

To date, Nicole has raised $1,582 toward cancer research. That's 87 percent of her $1,800 fundraising goal. Even in running, she has recorded some personal victories. On Jan. 16, she ran 10 miles. On March 7, she covered 15 miles, the farthest distance for her and closer to the marathon goal of 26.2 miles.

“It was really hard, but I made it. That is over half the distance so I still have work to do, but I promise I won't quit,” she said.

Now, Nicole is being tested on that promise. A few weeks ago, she sustained a small injury while training. She continued to train but incorporated more rest days into her workout plan. However, in early April, when she resumed her full training schedule, her injury progressed quickly, resulting in inflammation in her hip and femur.

“My doctor said that the full marathon is out of the question, but I will still be participating in the half-marathon,” Nicole said.

Call it dedication. A strong will. Or persistence. But for Nicole Shea, it's a sacrifice she's willing to make.

“I've always been a determined person,” she said. “What makes running this race so special is knowing I'm doing this for the people out there who can't do it for themselves.” -- Melony Shemberger


Note:
To make a donation to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training and help Nicole Shea in the mission to wipe out cancer, visit http://pages.teamintraining.org/tn/cmc09/nshea.