Despite the wind, despite the rain, despite the cold – the Half Full spirit was everywhere this weekend, as athletes, families, and friends of the Ulman Cancer Fund came together to celebrate survivors, remember loved ones, and inspire others.
Along with my fellow U Team members, I had the privilege of meeting more than 50 athletes this weekend and talking to them about their connection to the cancer fight. I talked to cancer survivors eager to show everyone what cancer couldn’t take from them, families and friends supporting or remembering loved ones touched by cancer, and lots of people wanting to spread hope and optimism to people battling cancer everywhere.
Over the past few days, I got to meet and speak with Chris Zahlis, a loving father and incredible athlete. Chris raced yesterday to honor the memory of his son Dominic, who at age 10, passed away tragically of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Inspired by his son’s life, Chris has become a living reminder of the power of living “Half Full.” I am proud to share his “Half Full” moment, as he experienced it yesterday during his 70-mile, Half Ironman triathlon race:
“I was struggling to walk the first few miles of the run…even thought I might not finish. It hurt to breathe. But after thinking about the pain cancer patients endure during treatment, and the fight my son didn’t get to try, I had a few choice words with my back. I kept saying to myself, “this is my half full moment” and the pain went away. Everytime it would return, I kept saying the same thing, I got goose bumps, and the pain would leave. I finished the second lap faster than the first.”
Thanks, UCF – for giving me an incredible opportunity to meet the most inspiring people this weekend.
– Laura Scruggs, Volunteer Maryland Coordinator