A classmate from high school - Saila Hanninen (an IRONMAN Triathlete and a marathoner) - has passed from lung cancer, caused by a gene mutation. I hadn't seen or spoken to Saila in quite a while when I got word of her diagnosis a few years ago. At the time, she was based in NY, and I wound up offering support by attending a run she organized to raise funds for Dana Farber (to research the particularities of her illness). That was just an early example of her determination and wholehearted approach to a potentially devastating situation. Since then, I followed her through social media and kept in loose contact. She inspired and stunned with astonishing courage as she continued to seek treatment, meet her partner, get married, have a baby, and travel and run and live her life with vivaciousness and compassion. Her goal had been to 'outrun' cancer. Her death is so tragic, crushing, and truly awful. After a five year tour-de-force, it seems the medicine wasn't quite up to snuff. It makes me sad and mad. It's not fair. But, I dare say, she did outrun cancer. She did win in many respects. Until the end, she was smiling and globetrotting with those most important to her, clearly having discovered the point of it all. I have nothing but admiration for her spirit, despite the at-a-loss heaviness in my chest. Lots of love to you Saila Hanninen Consalvi, 9/1981 - 7/2022. Jaksaa.
You can make a donation to her foundation here, I believe. And below is an interview with Saila from the podcast, Ali on the Run. It's great.