The Geist Half Marathon & 5K is great fun for many. But for one family, the race means a lot more. This year’s race was a family reunion the Null family will never forget.
“You could say, the race changed our lives!” said Geist resident Becky Null.
The Null family’s inspiring story began last August when her mother thought she had an ulcer and went for a check up. The news was grim. The 67 year-old Sue Sangiacomo was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer that had already spread to her liver. It was particularly shocking since she had a colonoscopy 18 months earlier that was clear.
“We were told to just let her rest comfortably,” says Becky. “But, we knew we couldn’t do that.”
The Null family sprang into action researching hospitals that specialized in treating colon cancer. They chose the University of Michigan where doctors were able to remove tumors from her liver and colon.
“They saved her life,” says Becky.
Meanwhile, Becky had begun notifying family members everywhere. “We found ourselves talking about goals and what we wanted to accomplish,” says Becky. “And since Mom participated in the Geist 5K last year, we thought maybe we should all get together here and run the race in her honor!”
And that’s just what the family did.
By race weekend, 23 family members from Pittsburgh, Chicago, Indiana, Michigan, Florida, Tennessee and even Budapest descended on the Null family home in the Weatherstone subdivision.
Becky’s cousin Joel from Florida was especially excited — he had lost 50 pounds while training for the Geist race.
“Out of the 23 in town, 15 family members participated in the race and the rest-including mom- cheered us on!” says Becky. “My brother, who has been in the Boston Marathon, was extremely impressed at how organized the Geist Half Marathon & 5K were. They just had a great time.”
The only tricky part came when it was time to go home. “The crowd was huge at the Marina, so my husband jumped in our boat and picked up mom at a nearby dock. We were able to get a family photo and get mom home in no time!”
For the Null family, the Geist Half Marathon & 5K is more than just a race. It is a time where memories were made. A time for one family to come together, set new goals and celebrate life!