Dan Black was diagnosed with cancer. He lost his home to Hurricane Harvey. And then he ran the Boston Marathon for The Life is Good Kids Foundation.
Here’s his incredible, unlikely story in his own words.
“You’ve got cancer.”
Anyone who’s heard those words knows that your life changes immediately and forever.
I heard them in April of 2012. My wife, Bonnie, and I were devastated until it occurred to us that I wasn’t dead yet.
So, we made it a point to hug more. We called our family more. Reached out more.
As a music teacher, I always urged my students to say “I love you,” to their parents more. Now Bonnie and I realized that we needed to take my own advice.
Through chemo and radiation, we decided to focus on joy. I continued to teach music. I ran. I rode my bike. We made plans with family. Some of those closest to me even got to see me win two (I still can’t believe it) triathlons during treatment. We decided that being sick wouldn’t keep us from experiencing what made life feel good.
In November 2012, I underwent an esophagectomy, during which part of my stomach was used to replace all but 10 centimeters of my esophagus. I had to relearn how, when, and what to eat and drink. I even had to relearn how to sleep.
Still, I kept running, though I was much slower and couldn’t run as far as I once had. I went back to teaching just as soon as I was strong enough, following a couple of serious setbacks: Atrial flutter and aspiration that lead to chemical pneumonia.
Still, I ran. I rode. I taught. I loved.
Since my diagnosis, I’ve undergone multiple surgeries. I’ve supported my wife through her own devastating illness. We’ve even lost our historic home in Houston to mold and moved four times due to water damage from Hurricane Harvey.
And still, I run. I ride. I teach. I love.
This year, I was honored to run the Boston Marathon in support of The Life is Good Kids Foundation, raising over $12,000 for their mission to spread the power of optimism to help kids heal.
Because no matter what comes our way, my wife and I are devout believers that life is not easy. Life is not perfect. Yet, still—and always—life is good.