"People shouldn’t wait to live until they’re told they’re dying."
Those aren't my words. No, those are the words of a man who understands the end is near, and he has the unenviable task of fitting as much life as possible into his final moments on this earth.
Yahoo Sports! (h/t Off the Bench) reports a man by the name of Iram Leon won the 2013 Gusher Marathon in Beaumont, Texas. He beat all other runners with a time of 3:07:36, six minutes better than the runner-up.
What's more remarkable is he did all of that while pushing his six-year-old daughter in a stroller. Oh, and he has terminal brain cancer.
It's the last fact that should really put all of life's ills, worries and stress into perspective.
At the end of the race, he made sure to point out that he really came in second. The winner was his daughter, Kiana, whom he pushed the entire way. Marathon officials made a special exception to allow Leon to run with his daughter.
But here sore, reflecting and grateful, I still can’t believe that I won a marathon. Well, I came in second behind Kiana. At the awards ceremony, I immediately placed it on her neck and like every other race she’s been part of it that medal hangs in her room.
Here is a video spotted by Off the Bench that shows Leon running. You might notice a bike that pulls up next to him, which is part of the design.
As reported, the 32-year-old has cancer in his left temporal lobe, which "affects memory, language skill and spatial organization." He is forced to run in groups, but for Saturday's marathon, he utilized a biker to lead him through the course.
He went into detail with the Beaumont Enterprise, saying, "This is supposed to eat away at my memory in the end. But I hope this memory is one of the last things to go and one she never loses."
As for life expectancy, Leon's doctors hope to keep him alive until he is 40. For now, he enjoys every last bit of life he has left and documents it in a blog he keeps called "Picking Up a Hitchhiker."
Along the way, he manages to inspire all who come in contact with his extraordinary story. One Redditor, who claimed to be Leon's friend, offered this sentiment:
This guy is a good friend of mine from my running group. I have never met someone with a more positive outlook on life. ... [His] life revolves around making sure his daughter Kiana has a good childhood and good memories of him. He regularly runs races pushing the stroller. Sadly, even though his prognosis is good at the moment, he statistically won't live to see 40. However, I believe he can and will beat it.
We can all learn something from this amazing athlete. I know I have my own issues that cause a great deal of worry on a daily basis; money and work come to mind.
Thankfully, this is the kind of poignant tale that kicks you in the ass and reminds you of what's truly important in life.
Leon delivers the most glaring and powerful lesson, via Avi Zaleon's report at The Beaumont Enterprise:
People shouldn't wait to live until they're told they're dying. Go home and hug somebody and don't wait to be told you have a disease that's going to kill you. I ran my entire life and I was dumb enough to wait until I was told I was dying before I ran with my daughter.
Thank you for running. Thank you for reminding me of something I continue to forget and take for granted. I will get cracking on living life immediately.
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