WILTON, Conn. – As a nurse at Norwalk Hospital, Wilton’s Kathleen Roberts has seen the ravages caused by multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer. In Sunday’s ING New York City Marathon, she will do something about it.
Roberts will run the race to support the Norwalk-based Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. Readers can donate to her cause through her fundraising page. It will be her first time attempting to cover the 26.2-mile distance.
“As a nurse I see it a lot, and when I talk to people there are so many people that have been affected by it,’’ Roberts said. “It’s a worthy cause. It’s nice to combine what I see at work with running.”
Roberts, a mother of four, has run a half-marathon and completed two triathlons already this year. She has increased her fitness as her children have gotten older and become less dependent. “When the kids were little, I always dabbled in running,’’ Roberts said. “Between working and having four kids, it’s a time issue. I have a little bit more free time now. I have more free time after work and that makes a big difference.”
Besides the cause, Roberts also holds the foundation in high regard. It is the world’s leading private funder for myeloma research to deliver new treatments to patients faster. The organization also devotes 90 percent of its budget to research and related programming and is consistently recognized in the Top 1 percent of all charities reviewed by independent evaluators.
Roberts finished a triathlon in early September and then followed a training plan put together by the foundation. She has done her homework, extending out to more than 20 miles on her long-distance training runs.
“The biggest challenge is it’s a mental game,’’ Roberts said. “In the triathlon, when you get bored with one thing, you jump on to something else. The hardest part has definitely been mental. It has not been as hard physically as I thought it might be.”
Roberts' family plans to wait for her at the finish line in Central Park. She hopes to finish in five hours and 30 minutes or less. Time is secondary, however. When she reaches the final miles, she will remember the patients she has helped and the families who have been touched by multiple myeloma.
“I can think of two people that come right to the top of my mind I’ll be thinking of,’’ Roberts said. “I think it will be very emotional. When something is so hard to accomplish, it’s rewarding when you realize you did it. Then it makes you want to do the next thing. I think it will be pretty darn exciting.”
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