No matter the weather, Charlie Johnston is out running in it. And he's not just running for his health. But for the chance at health for other people. "It's something I happen to be good at and if I can make a difference for someone else then that means a lot."
When Charlie and his brother and sisters were just kids their mom, Marilyn, was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, Charlie took up running in 2008 and immediately started running races on behalf of the American Cancer Society. And he's doing it again. On Monday, April 16th, Charlie will be running his fourth Boston marathon, again for the ACS. But that's not all. He's been growing his hair out for a year to cut it all off this Saturday and donate it. "I understand they make wigs and researched it more and Pantene Beautiful Lengths program needs 8 inches so I'll still have enough that I don't go completely bald."
And this race will be even more personal. Charlie's sister, Lily, was diagnosed with breast cancer two weeks ago. She's 34 years old. She's recuperating from a mastectomy at their mom's house. "It's a little surreal. We already went through this with my mom 19 years ago in September so it's unfortunate we are all dealing with it again. We didn't anticipate having to deal with it again after dealing with it with my mom. Just take it day by day. Not really much you can do but deal with it."
Charlie's mom has been to all 33 of his marathons. Lily has made all but just a few. At Boston this year, Marilyn is still going. Lily will likely be undergoing chemotherapy and radiation.
Some people feel helpless when their loved ones are facing adversity. Charlie feels blessed. Blessed that he can do his part to help them and others who have to battle cancer.
To learn more and to donate to the American Cancer Society on Charlie's donation page, go to http://www.thesfmarathon.com/2012/03/30/hair-today-gone-tomorrow/