Is there life after breast cancer?
In a weird twist of fate, a woman used her love for running to conquer her hardest race of all – breast cancer.
It’s long been known that running is more than just a way to keep fit. In order to meet goals, a person has to have discipline, perseverance and passion for the sport.
These characteristics were in Bette Clark before she discovered her love for running. She has lived a full 48 years before she found a new passion that challenged her physically, mentally and spiritually.
Soon, Bette found herself surrounded by people with the same passion by joining the Van Cortlandt Track Club. With their help, Bette was able to qualify for the New York Marathon in just 2 years.
Shortly after running her the NY Marathon, Bette found out that she had Breast Cancer. Her first thought was: “Will I be able to run the Boston Marathon in April?”
The 50-year-old was taken aback by the diagnosis. She had always been conscious about her breast health, especially after her mother died of Breast Cancer.
By the time her doctors told her, cancer had already spread to her lymph nodes. How can her regular mammograms miss it?
During her battle, Clark still tried to meet with her running group. Even though she can’t train or run alongside them, the visits gave her a purpose. Her running group was her source of friendship and support.
After a grueling regimen of surgery, chemo and radiotherapy, Bette found herself cancer free. Almost 10 years after her diagnosis, Bette conquered over 30 marathons all over the world.
Now, Bette spends her time crusading for underserved women who are undergoing cancer treatment. She is currently working with SHARE, running two support groups and volunteering at a cancer helpline. SHARE is a non-profit organization that helps women across the US living with breast or ovarian cancer.
Furthermore, she also worked as a Patient Coordinator for the American Cancer Society. She connected survivors to support services such as transport, food, and other resources.
Bette also continues to encourage women to stay active before, during and after a diagnosis. As an honorary member of the Van Cortlandt Track Club, she continues to work with other running clubs to encourage membership.
Running helped her through the most difficult time in her life and she wants other survivors to have the same access to it as she did. By doing what she can, Bette hopes that others may find strength in running as well.