Running and walking are wonderful gifts
This letter was written in 2015 by a brave and courageous 59-year-old woman who was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer with bone metastasis. She was also my beloved mother and best friend, a wonderful human being who I looked up to my entire life. She fought her disease until her very last breath with pride and dignity.
And although she never made it to the finish line, I hope that her words will continue to inspire and challenge people around the world to remember and to appreciate the simple and most wonderful things life offers.
"It’s 7:30 in the morning of November 15, 2015 and we’re at Point Mugu, along the Pacific Coast Highway, behind the Start line of the Malibu Half-Marathon. The sun is rising and the air is filled with a fresh ocean breeze. Excitement and smiling faces surround me. It feels as if we are all friends, even though I don’t know them. I feel in shape. I have a confession to make: I’ve never participated in a marathon like this one, or any other marathon as far as I can remember. With the exception maybe of a few short runs when I was a little girl. However, this year I will be there, at the Start Line at least.
It is two years now since I became an invalid and lost my mobility. I can only move around on a wheelchair, except in my dreams when I am free to run and jump and never get tired. I will be there with you because I’ve understood how much being able to run and walk are wonderful gifts that, all too often, we take for granted. I do not know when my journey on this planet will come to an end. But I can say with utmost certainty that I will never win a marathon.
However, I am thankful because I now understand how precious and important it is to take the time to be grateful for the simplest, most natural things, such as being able to walk, run, admire what’s around you, be with other people, feel free, feel good and breathe.
I send you my best wishes for now. I can’t wait to be with you all.” Claudia Puntel