Students help woman with brain cancer cross half-marathon finish line
Any long distance runner will tell you that there's just something about racing that keeps you wanting more.
"It's really fun to be part of the group," said runner Suzanne Stone. "I just enjoy doing that."
Stone, 62, was bitten by the bug long ago, but felt she was ready to jump from running 5Ks to a half marathon.
What she wasn't ready for was this.
"I had a seizure in November 2014," she explains. The diagnosis was devastating.
"They found out it was a glioblastoma, which kills people. Has no cure," she said through tears.
It's terminal brain cancer. Stone said the median survival rate is 14 months; she is now on month 27.
Stone kept working at TCU during treatment, and eventually felt well enough to turn her thoughts back to the half marathon.
"I knew if I didn’t do it now, I might not have another possibility," she said.
So about two weeks ago, with approval from family and doctors, she laced up her sneakers for the Cowtown Half Marathon. She felt good for most of the course. But around mile 11, near the Lancaster bridge, Stone said she really started to struggle and medical personnel took notice.
"She presented with the weakness," explained Marie MacDonald, a physical therapy student at the UNT Health Science Center. "It kind of keyed us into we want to look out for stroke."
MacDonald, along with fellow UNTHSC physical therapy student Colten Foster, were among the medical personnel volunteering at the race, and they'd been told Stone needed help. She was leaning heavily to the right. Once medics made sure she was OK and not having a stroke, Stone told them she wanted to continue.
"It was one of those moments I won't ever forget," Foster said.
With MacDonald and Foster holding her up on each side, Stone crossed the finish line. Photos of her finish say it all: relief and pride.
"It felt like I’d really accomplished something," said Stone, a mother of three and a grandmother of one. "It was not how I imagined the race ending, but… it was still a good feeling."
It was a once in a lifetime moment, for someone whose moments matter.
"You just shouldn’t ever give up," Stone says.