Saturday, November 01, 2014

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NYer of the Week: Team Continuum Goes the Distance for Cancer Patients

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The latest New Yorkers of the Week are running for much more than just a good workout: they're helping to raise money so that cancer patients can pay their bills and focus on getting healthy. NY1's John Schiumo filed this report.

“Learning to train your body to go 26.2 miles is transformative, because you realize that you can do things that you thought were never possible, and that you had that within you the whole time,” said John Hirsch, Head Coach of Team Continuum.

It's a challenge that motivates these runners to cross the finish line, and not just for themselves.

When you lace it up with Team Continuum, you're also running to give hope and relief to patients undergoing cancer treatment.

“When you’re diagnosed with cancer it’s usually unexpected. You are so worried that you’re going to die, that your family is going to have to go on without you, that you’re going to have to pay all these medical bills, and then you say ‘Oh my god. I still have to pay my rent. I still have to pay Con Edision. I still have to get gas for my car to get treatment. How am I going to do it?'" said Lisa Berger, Executive Director of Team Continuum.

That's where Team Continuum steps in. For the past ten years, the non-profit has raised money to pay the non-medical expenses for hundreds of patients and their families.

So, instead of worrying about bills, their energy is spent getting better.

"If we can help with those things for a matter of months and let the person collect themselves and center themselves and focus on their treatment, this is enormous. I’m one-on-one with the patients and I can see that when they get that assistance it’s as if the tide goes back away from them and they don’t feel so flooded and overwhelmed,” said Angela Heller, an Oncology Social Worker at New York-Presbyterian Medical Center.

Fighting the tide is something these endurance athletes also feel every step of the way.

"Cancer is a huge fight, and a marathon is a long-lasting fight, as well. It's all about enduring some sort of adversity. Long distance running in my opinion, is one of the greatest ways of fighting against adversity for the soul," said Evan Wood, a Runner with Team Continuum.

“Whether you’re starting a marathon or you’re starting cancer treatment, there’s a sense that you won’t finish, and that you won’t be successful, and overcoming those things and having the faith and hope that you can, I think is extremely powerful,” said Hirsch.

We agree. That's why these runners with Team Continuum are our New Yorkers of the Week.

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