Bender's Mender

For: Cancer Connection & MET UP
Nantucket, MA
Organizer: Jenny Bender
Bender's Mender (Cancer Connection & MET UP)
of $5,000 goal
100% Complete
Raised by 128 donors

The Story

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2014, I was 39 years old and running eight to ten miles most Saturdays with a group of close women friends. Though I was able to maintain a base level of running throughout my intensive cancer treatment (six months of chemotherapy followed by a left mastectomy followed by six weeks of radiation), I wasn’t able to eek out more than three miles at a time (often with a short walking break at the half-way point); and my pace slowed dramatically. My goal from the beginning of treatment has been to get back to those long weekend runs.

Toward that end, my running (and otherwise dear) friends have been endlessly cheering me on, slowing their own pace to keep me company as I build my strength and stamina; as well as planning a getaway-weekend-run for us to do together to celebrate my healing. Initially we looked into already established races, but it isn’t easy to find a ten-miler, which is my particular goal. So for the weekend of May 7, I am traveling to Nantucket with five other families for a customized, ten-mile, comeback run—now officially named “Bender’s Mender!”

I’ve always known that I wanted my comeback run to be not just about celebrating my recovery, but about giving back. And so, I am running to raise money for two organizations: The Cancer Connection, a local organization that has offered me and hundreds of others touched by cancer invaluable support. And MET UP, a national organization “committed to changing the landscape of metastatic cancer through direct action.”

I am running for the one in eight women in the United States alone who will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime; and for the more than 40,000 women who die in this country each year because of metastatic breast cancer. I am running because we are ALL survivors, for as long as we live, and I am lucky enough to be living, still.

If you would like to cheer me on to the Bender’s Mender finish line; if you would like to support others with cancer; if you would like to help find a cure for metastatic disease, please consider making a contribution of any amount here.

With gratitude,


Fundraiser Updates

Posted on May 17, 2016

Posted on May 17, 2016

Bender's Mender was a HUGE SUCCESS!!!

I feel a physical confidence that I haven't felt since before I started treatment.

  • I am taking more physical risks: Last week, I went to an advanced modern dance class that I've been wanting to take for months but have been too afraid to try. Finally I took the plunge, and though I definitely fell into the bottom half of the class, my struggle was with learning the steps, not with keeping up physically. (Also, I LOVED it. I spent the first half of my life dancing, and it felt great to move again like that.) 
  • I am able to push through a busy week on too little sleep: My life has once again taken on a fast pace (too fast at times, but thankfully I'm doing things I love), and I am tired. But my fatigue now feels like every-body-fatigue, not cancer-fatigue. My so yes, I'm going with fully mended! 
  • My running, which has been a gauge for my strength since starting treatment, is suddenly improving again: Not only did I run 11.5 miles during Bender's Mender (we got a little lost, had to roll under some barbed wire fences, ahhh what good times we had); I ran it the fastest I've run since starting chemotherapy in November 2014! I thought perhaps it was the adrenaline of the day, but I seem to have suddenly crossed another threshold. For months, I was stuck at a 10:30 minute/mile and am now averaging 9:45-10:00 (my average before treatment was 9:30-9:45).

So even though there are things that, try and hope as I might, may never fully return to "normal" (my memory, for one, is giving me concern), Bender's Mender has most definitely mended me in tangible, significant, gratifying ways. It gave me what I hoped for—a sense of renewed strength, and a sense of closure.

It also raised $7,200 to be split between the Cancer Connection and MET UP!!!! Thank you, all of you generous, fantabulous supporters!

And thank you again, Nunia, for your hours of planning and inspiring that made this the going-down-in-Bender-history event that it was.

The run, and the weekend, were incredible, amazing, wonderful, perfect.

Posted on May 5, 2016

Posted on May 5, 2016

I head to Nantucket TOMORROW! (Wow, I can't believe the long-planned weekend has arrived.) I'm going to spend some time with my many family members who live on the island before my dear running friends and their families dock on Friday afternoon. And then, on Saturday morning, May 7th, WE RUN! I wish I had more ways to say thank you. 

I'll post a plethora of pics upon my return. In the meantime, here's a link to the feature article my local paper published about Bender's Mender:

Posted on April 13, 2016

Posted on April 13, 2016

Last weekend I ran 8.5 miles! This weekend I'll tackle a 9-miler. 
Thank you for all your generous support.  We are so close to our $5000 goal!  

If you haven't yet contributed, will you help us reach the finish line by May 7?

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