A Well-Timed Race

Filed Under: Misc.

This has nothing to do with miles & points, but I wanted to share an update regarding my mom, since I consider you guys to be like family, and a lot of people have asked.

As I’ve written about before, on Mother’s Day of this year my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. You guys have been so incredibly supportive and have sent so many good thoughts my mom’s way, and I really appreciate it.

The past few months has been inspiring

Since Mother’s Day my mom has gone through six rounds of chemo (below is a picture of her “ringing the bell” after her last round).

My mom is one of the strongest people I know. And I’m not just saying that because that’s what you say when someone is going through something tough, but she is truly one incredibly stubborn person with a very high pain threshold.

I can’t even begin to put into words what she has gone through. There have been good days and there have been bad days. Crippling pain after each round of chemo is a given, and there have been days where she just said she couldn’t do it anymore. There have been days where I called her and I could tell she was down. When I asked her why, it was because she was reading online about her condition, and feared the worst.

But more than anything else my takeaway from the past few months has been how damn inspiring she has been. Given the pain she has gone through, I can’t even begin to say how amazed I am by the positive attitude she has maintained.

Obviously everyone has ups and downs, but her positive attitude has been nothing short of incredible. I’m so proud of her. There’s not really anything else I can say, other than that this has taught me to appreciate every day. If I have a “bad” day, it’s not actually a bad day compared to what other people are going through.

Now that the six rounds of chemo are complete, my mom has surgery next week, and again, she has had an incredibly positive attitude about it. The surgery is apparently going to take 10 hours, and she may be “out” for a couple of days. We’re hoping she’ll recover quickly, and will be cancer free for years after this.

The timing of this…

Ford, Winston, and I are going to spend some time with her both before, during, and after the surgery. Last week my mom sent Ford and me a link to something. On September 21 there’s a 10th anniversary race in St. Petersburg for an ovarian cancer foundation. Wow:

  • My mom lives in St. Petersburg
  • This organization raises money for exactly her kind of cancer
  • This is just a few days before she’s supposed to have surgery

So of course Ford and I are running in it (Ford convinced me to do the 10K, and I’m not actually sure what I’m getting myself into), and we’ll also be donating some money to the organization beyond the entrance fee.

If you’d like to donate something to the organization, I know it would mean a lot to those impacted by ovarian cancer. I should mention that:

  • I haven’t even told my mom I’m writing this post and/or donating anything myself, so my hope is that this can be a nice surprise for her
  • I have no connection to this organization, though they’re a 501(c)(3), and I’ve looked at their form 990 (which you can access here)

Local organizations like this do so much for people battling cancer. Not only do they contribute money to research, but on a local level they also assist those financially who are struggling to overcome cancer and pay their bills.

We’re fortunate that we can help take care of my mom during this time, but I can’t imagine what it would be like going through this while struggling to pay bills.

So if you’d like to donate, you can do so at this link. There’s absolutely no pressure, as there are so many incredible causes out there. Just keeping my mom (and others who are going through tough times) in your thoughts is great as well.

With the timing of this I couldn’t help but post about it, though. I feel like some things are just meant to be, and with my mom’s surgery coming up just days after this race in her hometown, that’s pretty special. If you’re a local and take part in the race, I’d love the opportunity to say hi as well!

  1. This is awesome, Ben!

    However, I must say, at first, I was even more excited since I thought you were going all the way to Russia.

  2. Thinking of your mom and hoping for her quick recovery Ben.

    What a coincidence that there is the 10k. Hopefully your mom can connect with other women and become apart of a supporter network. I’m sure it would be good for her spirits.

  3. Well done. The best gift you can give your mother now is the gift of your time and presence. You will never regret spending more time with her.

  4. Prayers to your mom and family. Happy to make a donation as well.

    Thanks for making this blog feel somewhat like a family. Love these side posts along with your normal travel posts.

  5. Wishing your mom a complete success in her upcoming surgery and hope she remains in remission forever. Love to all of you.

  6. My wife and I live here in downtown St Pete and would love to volunteer at the race. I’ll contact the organizers and see what help they need. Thanks for the info and best wishes for a full recovery for your mom!

  7. My wife and I live here in downtown St Pete and would love to volunteer at the race. I’ll contact the organizers and see what they need. Thanks for the info and good luck to your move for a full recovery!!

  8. Ben, would you be willing to share your mother’s first name and possible first letter of her last name? Usually these organizations have a spot to put someone’s name: “In honor of…” I’d love to do an “In honor of” your mom.

  9. That’s incredible. Thanks for writing about this. But I have to say, I also thought you were going to Russia at first. And I used to live in Tampa!

  10. Sending strength and positive vibes to your amazing mom and to you and your family Ben. She’s got this! Many blessings amigo!

  11. She never fails to give a loving smile!
    Hoping for the best recovery for her (and you after your 10K). I have a grandfather dying in cancer as we speak. We all feel the same helplessness.
    Best Wishes

  12. Positive thoughts for a speedy recovery! My mom is a 30+ year survivor of ovarian cancer, and her #1 recommendation is to find a surgeon who is a gynecological oncologist (double specialty). I’m guessing that’s who will be performing the upcoming surgery. Best of luck with everything.

  13. Well wishes to your mom.

    Hate to bring up unrelated in this chat but is anyone else having problems logging into their Hyatt accounts (app and website)? had issues for more than an hour.

  14. Thank you for sharing this Ben, long time reader but have never felt the urge to post until today. Glad to see your Mother smiling, she looks great 🙂

    Wishing her a speedy recovery, and you a speedy 10k I guess !

  15. Dear Ben, Ford and Winston, what a wonderful initiative, wishing your Mom all the best, donation done
    Take care

  16. Ben, what a beautiful story. Bless you and your mother. She sounds like a true fighter, and a wonderful mom. Such a pleasure to read this, Please keep us up to date!!! Chris

  17. Thank you for sharing! You did the right thing to spend times with your mom. She needs all support she can get. Wish all best to your Mom!

  18. BEN I’ve been reading your blog for more than 3 years. Your insights and pithy comments on the luxury travel business and all the comments to your posts kept me inspired and entertained through my own recovery from lung cancer.

    Fortunately my cancer was discovered early and the surgeon who removed my left lung and our dear NHS here in the UK saved my life. With no medical bills to worry about.

    Ovarian cancer is quite rare and it sounds like your mum is in good hands as surgery is mostly curative for this type of cancer.

    My heart felt good wishes go out to your mum, you and your family.

    Thanks for unknowingly helping me through my cancer journey.

    I’m back flying business class to Vietnam for a decent holiday in November.


  19. I hope your mother’s surgery goes well and she has a very successful recovery. I love the photo! Your mother looks beautiful, and you have her good looks. I will be praying for her.

  20. I recognize that bell, I’ve worked there for over a decade and have been witness to many patients ringing it. It is an amazing moment every time. Good luck to your mom in her journey!

  21. Wishing your mom a speedy recovery from surgery. Sending you all lots of love and good thoughts.
    Please pace yourself on the 10K 🙂

  22. Thanks for posting: both inspiring and hopeful. Based on a close friend’s experience, one question you might ask your mom’s team of oncologists is whether after the surgery it would be prudent to undergo radiation treatment. I know oncologists, even within the same National Cancer Center can disagree about that, so the decision will ultimately be up to your family, but it’s worthwhile even getting a second opinion at Sloan Kettering or Anderson, if your mom hasn’t already gone to such a world wide respected center.

  23. Barbara,
    Best wishes for a successful surgery and a speedy recovery! Keep your eyes on that cancer-free prize!
    Thank you for posting a way to help others. You are a kind person and it shows in your writings. Love to you and your family.

  24. The best wishes I can send to your Mom and you. This post is emotional to read since I’ve been through this process of battling cancer with a few family members. It can rotate dizzyingly between being confusing, scary, hopeful, and inspiring. I’m sure you are great support to your Mom.

  25. I have NEVER replied or commented anywhere before, but your profoundly loving, tender, supportive, and simply divine post about your mom moved me deeply.
    God Bless her on her journey, and God Bless you, too.

  26. Prayers for your Mom and her speedy recovery post surgery. I just did the 10K for Zero Prostate cancer race but it got to over 90 degrees and the last mile was very tough but it was for a good cause also!!

  27. Donated – all the very best wishes for your mum and you and your family. It’s fantastic to see you use the power of this blog for such really great things!

  28. My mom also was diagnosed with ovarian cancer this March. I see and feel exactly what you shared. What powerful women we are lucky to have been blessed with. Enjoy your race, you’ll have so much fun. Thank you for sharing. Great health to your mom.

  29. This is great news.

    I just lost my mother last month after a very brief battle with an extremely aggressive case of ovarian cancer.

    Tell her to hang there.

  30. So happy to hear your mom is coming through this strong despite hurdles! I just hit the magical 5-year cancer free mark following my OC diagnosis. I have much empathy for her, at times had chemo so aggressive I was at risk of killing myself with my own bacteria. Go mom!

  31. With Best Wishes on your Mom’s Health; your blog means a lot to me so sending you positive vibes across the Pacific

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