A 5K Run to Honor Lola’s Memory

Lola's children, Esther, Rose Marie and Bobby will be back in Prospect Park tomorrow morning to honor Mami's memory.
Lola’s children, Esther, Rose Marie and Bobby will be back in Prospect Park tomorrow morning to honor Mami’s memory.

Tomorrow morning Esther, Cristian and I are running a 5K race in Prospect Park, okay Cristian will be riding in his stroller while I push him, but he’ll be participating.  Although we are no strangers to 5K races or Prospect Park’s notorious hill tomorrow’s race isn’t about goal times or P.R.s—this one’s personal—we’ll be honoring Esther’s Mom’s memory.

10298777In 2013, Maria Hernandez, Lola to her friends, lost her battle with Pancreatic Cancer so for a third-straight year her three children will be participating in the PanCan Purple Stride 5K Run/Walk to honor her memory.

Pancreatic Cancer is a brutal disease with an extremely low survival rate.  Besides taking the lives of celebrities like Steve Jobs, Patrick Swayze and Luciano Pavarotti, it’s affected the lives of many non-celebrity families as well.   Last year my Dad was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer.  Dad was lucky, if you can say that for any cancer patient, he died of pneumonia before the cancer fully took hold, Lola wasn’t so fortunate.

17171717Long-distance runners are no strangers to pain—it’s who we are.  I’ve run a 60K race, just over nine four-mile loops in Central Park on a cranky knee.  Esther started a marathon on a badly-injured ankle that got worse with every step taken—both were minor twinges compared to Lola’s battle.  She fought a tough fight, the worse things got, the harder she fought, but no one beats Pancreatic Cancer.

Since tomorrow morning’s weather forecast calls for windy conditions with a chance of snow I’m expecting less than the fifty people who came out last year.  Cold weather does that, but Esther, Bobby, Rose Marie, Cristian and I will be there regardless of the conditions.  This ugly disease took Robert, Lucas, and Justin’s grandmother.  Cristian will never know his La La Maria because of it, it’s our biggest regret.

If you know anyone suffering or lost someone to Pancreatic Cancer or are interested in donating to a good cause click here.

This entry is being posted to both of my blogs North Queens Runner and I’m Not Grandpa.

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Fathers and Sons

Dad with his sons I'm on the left my brother Bob is on the right. This taken around 1984.
Dad with his sons I’m on the left my brother Bob is on the right. This taken around 1984.

I haven’t posted lately, 25 days to be exact.  That’s a major no-no for a blogger.  The ideas are flowing but the words haven’t made it to the keyboard.  Writer’s block is rough, but it’s more than that, my mind is elsewhere.

Watching your parents get older is difficult.  Mom jokes about how their lives are spent in doctor’s waiting rooms.  Over the past few years I’ve spent too many hours at doctor’s appointments, following up on test results and sitting in hospital rooms listening to beeping machines after yet another procedure.

I’ve spent two consecutive Monday nights sitting next to Dad’s bed in the emergency room waiting for a room to become available.  Long Island’s hospital situation has gotten bad.  I posted about Dad a few weeks ago.  Since then I’ve spent hours thinking about the kind of father he was and wondering what kind of father I’ll be to my son.

A family picture taken when we celebrated Mom and Dad's 50th Wedding Anniversary
A family picture taken when we celebrated Mom and Dad’s 50th Wedding Anniversary

During Esther’s pregnancy, we spent countless hours talking about how to raise Baby Priegue. Comparing values and opinions—we planned what we wanted for him and what to expose him to.

We enjoy an active lifestyle, so running and bike tours were an automatic.  Teaching him about his culture, a love of reading, museums and all forms of music were high on the list.  An ideal day will be a five-mile race in Central Park followed by a trip to the Museum of Natural History.

Cristian's first visit to a museum, when he's older, we will take him inside.
Cristian’s first visit to a museum, when he’s older, we will take him inside.

My Dad is my gauge for fatherhood, an old-school parent, who was our father, not our best friend.  He didn’t give us everything we wanted, but we lacked for nothing.  Dad taught me actions are valuable than words—when we needed him he was there for us.

A few days ago a friend advised me regarding parenting.  He said do what your parents did, and fill in whatever was missing.  That’s a tall order but I’ll give it my best shot.  I owe it to both my father and son.

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