Ryan Joyce, 28, Washington, D.C., web development sales

"My mom was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in April 1991. At a time when my days were spent bored at school, arguing with my sister over Legos and watching "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," my nights were spent overhearing terms like surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy."
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"Despite a valiant five-year battle, Mom died from melanoma on June 24, 1996."
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"So why am I running in the Baltimore Marathon? If my mother, Karen, could harness the strength to cheer the loudest at soccer games, help with math homework, be a den mother to my Cub Scout troop, cook Thanksgiving dinners and let her family know every day that she loved us while suffering through the pain of surgeries, the nausea of chemotherapy and the fear of leaving her family behind, how could I not believe I have enough strength to run 26.2 miles?"
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For Ryan's full essay, go <a href="http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/bthesite/bal-why-i-run-five-baltimore-running-festival-participants-share-their-stories-20131008,0,5777837.story#ryan">here</a>.

( Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun / October 3, 2013 )

"My mom was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in April 1991. At a time when my days were spent bored at school, arguing with my sister over Legos and watching "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," my nights were spent overhearing terms like surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy."

"Despite a valiant five-year battle, Mom died from melanoma on June 24, 1996."

"So why am I running in the Baltimore Marathon? If my mother, Karen, could harness the strength to cheer the loudest at soccer games, help with math homework, be a den mother to my Cub Scout troop, cook Thanksgiving dinners and let her family know every day that she loved us while suffering through the pain of surgeries, the nausea of chemotherapy and the fear of leaving her family behind, how could I not believe I have enough strength to run 26.2 miles?"

For Ryan's full essay, go here.

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