Margaret E. "Maggie" Philbrook
3/11/00 - 2/1/14
At the young age of 13, Maggie passed away Saturday morning, February 1, 2014, surrounded by her loving family after a courageous battle with cancer. I never had the honor or meeting sweet Maggie. I learned about her battle when a friend approached me with the idea of dedicating one of my races to her this year. My answer was OF COURSE. How could I not? Dedicating my races to others is something that I really enjoy doing.
I started doing so 2 years ago. I was running in my 2nd half marathon. Around mile 10, I was tired, in pain, and questioning myself as to why I do this. Was it fun? Because at that moment...it was anything but fun. I wanted to walk off the course and call for a ride. There were spectators along the way cheering "you're almost there" , "it's all downhill from here". All I could think was, ya you think it's so easy, why aren't you in sneakers doing this? I blocked them out and continued my painful walk to the finish with my head hanging so no one could see the tears in my eyes. As I approached mile 11 - something happened I will NEVER forget. Some guy on the sideline was shouting words of encouragement and I ignored him. He yelled to me again and I continued to ignore him. He yelled "do it for me damn it.". I turned around and I will never forget this moment. I stopped, went over to him and in 30 seconds he told me his name and that he was in an accident and is paralyzed. He use to run races & is now in a wheelchair. I gave him the biggest hug, thanked him for the moment and promised I would run the rest of the race without stopping. This is how "Run for those who can't" became my mantra.
I wish I knew who he was so I could thank him for the motivation. He made me the runner I am today. I encourage everyone I pass that is walking during a race. Tell them good job, or you got this. You just never know who you will inspire. Sometimes we just need a little boost. It's a runner thing ;)
Back to Maggie. My life mission is to raise awareness and fight to find a cure for cancer. The losses we suffer are too much. I sent the family a note letting them know I wanted to run with Maggie on my back. They told me they shared the note and photo of the bib with her. She thought it was a cool thing. When found out Saturday morning of her passing it made the dedication even more important to me. Parents aren't suppose to bury their children. Children aren't suppose to go through this pain. Life just isn't fair sometimes.
I woke up at 4:30am Sunday morning. Met up with my neighbor Justin and his friend Jess. The 3 of us were off to run this race together (Justin's 1st! Jess's 6th! My 7th! half marathon). The weather was less than desirable. 45degrees, rainy and windy. It was miserable to be honest. We were talking of a game plan on where to meet at the end knowing that we most likely wouldn't finish together. It then hit me. Nobody fights alone. Maggie didn't fight alone, I'm not fighting alone. None of us are. We agreed, this race was about the experience, friendship and pushing along it together.
Around mile 7, I began to run out of steam. The rain had picked up and was coming down hard. Trying to avoid puddles and keep our feet as try as possible was a challenge. The wind picked up and I wanted to cry. I was so uncomfortable but I didn't complain. I turned up my music hoping that the focus on the songs would push me. Katy Perry Pandora station is my favorite to listen to while running. I couldn't believe it when Roar came on. ( Please watch! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnG3MKos87A Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock performs Katy Perry's Roar! Maggie is wearing the blue NH t shirt)
At that very moment when I wanted to give up, when I wanted to stop, there she was. Sweet Maggie showed up and guided me. I thought about all the pain she went through (and never complained). I thought about all the procedures she went through (and never complained.) I learned from Maggie's blog page on Caring Bridge that she earned a bead for every single procedure she had. I can't even imagine. My heart breaks knowing she was put through so much.
If she could go through all that and continue to fight, I could certainly run 13.1 miles. I learned a lot about myself this past Sunday. Running is a mind game for sure. I learned that I can do anything I put my mind to. I also learned that when the going gets tough, the dedicated person in mind will always keep me going.
Today is world cancer day. If you haven't already, please take a moment and Turn your Facebook or Twitter profile pictures purple to celebrate cancer survivors on World Cancer Day. Chevrolet will contribute $1 to the American Cancer Society for every purple profile, up to $1 million.
Action is the strongest way to improve the lives of those with cancer today and help find cures to end the disease tomorrow. Help us finish the fight and purple your profile now. Click on the link below and scroll down a little bit. You can change your picture from there.
Rest in peace Maggie. Know that we will continue to fight everyday for a cure for cancer. You are missed and loved by so many people (whether you knew them or not)