By Julia Clarke, Team Captain
After a long, courageous and exhausting battle with pancreatic cancer, Adam Zauder passed away on December 23, 2009. He was only 51. Adam was one of those rare and special individuals who walk into your life and change it forever. I was fortunate enough to have eighteen years with him.
When I first attempted to write down my thoughts about Adam’s illness, my experiences with pancreatic cancer and my relationship with the Hirshberg Foundation, it was extremely difficult because, the one person that I would have shown this too – to correct all of my mistakes, run on sentences, poor grammar and bad punctuation – Adam – is no longer here. But, let me try…
The Hirshberg Foundation first came on to my radar screen very late into Adam’s diagnosis. I was looking for some entity that could help me with new ideas or treatments for Adam’s ailment as we were running out of options and time. Unfortunately, by then, it was too late for him. But, the Foundation also gave me comfort, a new purpose, and an added bonus – a way to channel my passion for running.
In October 2009, I ran my first LA Cancer Challenge run in support of Adam, and then I signed up to run the 2010 LA Marathon on the Hirshberg Team. This run was meant to be a support run, but training turned bittersweet, and I instead ran this marathon in Adam’s memory.
Since then, Team Adam Zauder has run every LA Cancer Challenge – 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 – and has consisted of people running locally or virtually in places such as South Carolina, Colorado, and the British Virgin Islands. From the beginning of this journey, my team and I have raised close to $10,000 for pancreatic cancer research. It is our hope that we are doing some part (even if small) in the fight against this devastating disease.
Adam never gave up – on people, ideas, life and himself. In fact, he never gave up hope during the two year battle he fought against pancreatic cancer. Flying back and forth between LA and New York for treatment, he never complained about how hard it was, or how tired and sick the chemo and radiation made him. So, in his spirit, I too will never give up hope that this disease can be beat. I know the Hirshberg Foundation shares this sentiment and will continue to be relentless in their battle against pancreatic cancer. My teammates and I will continue to support them any way we can.