Woman turns to marathons to honor late husband

Starts racing in memory of those who lost lives to cancer, runs 26.2-mile marathon in Maui, Hawaii

Heather R. Breaux
September 17, 2008 at 12:01 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

On a single sheet of lustrous purple letterhead, Luling’s Pamela Matherne presents her cause, simply headlined “What would you do to save a life? How far would you go?,” to potential donors for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

In 2006, Pamela signed up to be a “Team in Training” participant to raise money for the organization in memory of her husband and friend, Dee Richard Matherne.

Dee lost his battle to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma four years ago at the age of 31. A year later, Pamela’s family neighbor also lost her brave fight against the same blood-cell cancer.

“I started proudly racing in memory of them,” Pamela said. “I still walk and run in their memory, but it is a much bigger cause than that.”

This month marks the third year for Pamela as a “Team in Training” participant and she celebrated it by competing in a full marathon in Maui, Hawaii.

“For anyone who might not know this, a full marathon is 26.2. miles,” she said. “But I don’t think about how long this is when I am training and sweating and wondering if I’ll ever make it to the finish line.

“Instead, I think of all the cancer patient’s in the world, not just those diagnosed with lymphoma, but all cancer patients.”

Pamela says that for cancer patients the finish line is when they are told that they are in remission -like when the parents of an infant with cancer are told that their baby is well or when a wife or husband is told that their spouse’s blood counts are normal.

“Their finish line is when treatment is done and tests confirm that they are well again,” she said. “Running a marathon and raising money is nothing compared  to all of the thousands of people that go through grueling treatments everyday, some patients not peeping a single complaint.”

These people are the heroes and Pamela says that she is so honored to run for them.

“I ask you to think about them and those who have lost their battle,” she said. “I’m certain that everyone reading this knows someone personally that has been struck with a life-threatening disease.”

On Sept. 14 Pamela joined hundreds as they raced across the Hawaiian islands to help raise funds to help defeat a cancer that has defeated so many people.

“Every day I read a new article about someone else who is battling cancer and wonder when it will end,” Pamela said. “No one is immune to cancer, for it has no boundaries and does not discriminate.

“It could be your parent, grandparent, child, spouse, co-worker, boss, neighbor or friend. And I’m not asking people to run a marathon with me, but only to support me in my efforts.”

All donations are 100 percent tax deductible and will be spent effectively by the organization.

“No amount of money can bring back a loved one to you, but with help from others the research continues and can help people who are battling these diseases.”

Pamela’s team accepts cash, checks, money orders and credit cards. Checks should be made payable to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

To make a donation, visit Pamela’s Web site at http://pages.teamintraining.org/la/maui08/thtlaPam.

View other articles written Heather R. Breaux

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