Running is therapy for Cleveland teacher with breast cancer
To her 5th grade students at Blythe Bower Elementary School in Cleveland, Olivia Blazer is more than a teacher, she’s a hero.
“They’re super supportive and they give me cards and gifts all of the time,” said Blazer.
The 45-year-old wife and mother of two have spent most of the year battling stage 2 breast cancer.
“There was a litany of doctor's appointments and there was some crying and gnashing of teeth," Blazer told Channel 3.
She’s been running regularly for about three years and says she first felt the lump herself while running a marathon.
Despite her diagnosis, she vowed to keep running, 100 miles a month, even while undergoing numerous rounds of chemotherapy and radiation.
"After my diagnosis, I knew I was going to have surgery so once my surgery was scheduled, I looked at the calendar and I was like ok I’ve got this many days and I have this many miles,” said Blazer.
She has managed to stick to her goal. She says running is like therapy. It gives her time to think and lifts her spirits.
"Running saved my life. It did because I found it (the lump) and then I was urged to check it and then it just helped me deal with everything,” Blazer told Channel 3.
Less than a week after finishing her last radiation treatment, she celebrated by running.
“It was a culmination of my diagnosis and my treatment and all of the struggle and the joy and blessing,” said Blazer.
Blazer completed the Seven Bridges Marathon in Chattanooga last weekend and was surrounded by supporters each step of the way.
“People were running by hugging me, fist-bumping me. It was just an amazing experience,” she said.
Blazer says she leaned on faith, family and friends to get her through a tough year and by putting one foot in front of the other.
She says she wouldn’t change anything but is looking forward to life getting back to normal for her family.