The battle against cancer is hard to begin with. But Hoboken resident Craig Lockner, 38, realizes that it’s much worse for those who face financial hardship.
His uncle and best friend’s brother died from cancer. Zachary Ciperski, his best friend’s brother, died at age 34 and his uncle, Richard Lowen, died when he was 42. The nine-year Hoboken resident will have both in mind as he heads to the 120th annual Boston Marathon in April.
“Seeing my best friend’s brother, pass away at 33 years old was something that I thought was so unfair,” he said. “But then you see children even younger battling this disease and there’s no way to truly understand what they have to endure.”
Lockner’s family had the financial means to make Lowen as comfortable as possible, he said, but not all have that advantage. Lockner will represent One Mission at the marathon. The Boston-based organization offers “programs and services [that] provide immediate relief from the relentless wrath cancer unleashes every single day.”
Lockner, who is originally from Wayne, said, “If my run can do even a little bit to make their fight a little easier, it would be worth every penny raised.”
A fundraiser’s finish line
Lockner is one of six that make up One Mission’s team for the 26.2-mile Boston Marathon.
The minimum for racers to collect in donations is $7,500, but Lockner says he wants to go above and beyond that. You can donate to by visiting www.crowdrise.com/onemissionboston2016/fundraiser/craiglockner.
Last year, four One Mission marathoners raised $114,000.
“If my run can do even a little bit to make their fight a little easier, it would be worth every penny raised.” – Craig Lockner
Lockner, who participated in the 2014 New York Marathon, soon connected with One Mission, which he discovered has raised over than $4 million since 2010 and helped more than 5,000 patients and families.
“One Mission is special because they’re not just fighting to help researchers with cures, they help patients throughout their fight with cancer and treatment,” added Lockner. “They think about the little things, which is why I really don’t want to get all the credit. This is about One Mission.”
Kim Chisholm, managing director of One Mission, has made the process smooth for the team of runners, Lockner said.
As the marathon turns 120 years old this April, some runners can’t help be weary of the threat of terrorism following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
Chechen brothers Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev orchestrated the bombings three years ago on April 15, according to media reports. The homemade bombs, which were made out of two pressure cookers, exploded approximately 12 seconds apart near the marathon’s finish line on Boylston Street. Three civilians were killed and an estimated 264 were injured.
“Of course the fear is always there,” said Locker. “But I think because of that it means so much more. The other day I [and other runners] did a practice run of 20 miles in Boston and the Boston pride is palpable. People were on their stoops giving runners Gatorade and cheering us on. And we’re talking five weeks before the actual marathon. It’s amazing.”
Steven Rodas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.