Punching Cancer in the Face...by running 13 miles

On Friday, September 13, 2019, I was diagnosed with Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma. Immediately our world was turned upside down. Weeks of planning and procedures, turned into months of chemotherapy. The days were long, the battle was trying and the fight was daily. The support of family and friends extended to no ends. And the medical treatment was outstanding. On February 19, 2020, my PET scan looked good, and we are now in remission. 

As soon as we received the cancer diagnosis, 3 co-workers at Middleton High School reach out to me immediately and tell me about the benefits of Gilda’s Club. It sounded like an amazing place, but I didn’t have the right mindset. I thought I could beat cancer by doing chemo and listening to the doctors. The medical side of our cancer treatment from Dr. Chang and the staff at UW Carbone Center was great. Kathleen and I did join Gilda’s early in the process and we used the workout facilities as we wanted to stay active as much as we could in a safe environment. But I never joined a support group.

However, in January 2020, my son asked if we could try Gilda’s so he could talk with other kids who have parents dealing with cancer. So we went to Gilda’s Family Night and I joined a support group. At the time, we had no idea what a difference this group would make in our recovery. Quickly, the support group became the place where I could share anything I was thinking and feeling. The emotional support was what we needed to truly help us transition to our life with cancer. 

Since COVID, Gilda’s has been closed, but we have been meeting virtually. We miss the family nights and the dinners provided to us by volunteer groups at Gilda's. We miss the support for our kids. We miss meeting in person. But Gilda’s is still there for those that need help. 

When I was deemed in remission, I told Dr. Chang I was going to run a marathon this year. She countered with, “How about a 5k?” So Kathleen and I decided to meet her in the middle, and both of us will run 13 miles on September 13, 2020. We are using this run to raise money to benefit Gilda's Club Madison Wisconsin, Inc. (Gilda's Club Madison Wisconsin, Inc.), and any donation will help make an impact. Thanks in advance for your contribution to this cause that means so much to us.

We will be running through Middleton on September 13, 2020. We will be starting at Parisi Park in Middleton and running a 6.5 mile loop twice. Kathleen and I will be joined by a few invited guests. We’d like to start running around 8:30am. We will not be setting any land speed records, our pace will probably be between 9:30 and 11 minute miles. If you are interested in cheering us on - following socially distant guidelines - here is our route:   https://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/3367780351

We are also using this run as another journey to help appreciate how far we have come in 12 months. No “13th” feels the same for us, so we are taking this “13th” to acknowledge our journey and the journey of others who are battling cancer. We also want to honor those we know that we have lost to cancer.

More information about Gilda's Club Madison Wisconsin, Inc. (Gilda's Club Madison Wisconsin, Inc.): Gilda's Club Madison creates a community of free emotional support, cancer education, and hope for children and adults with any cancer diagnosis and those who care about them. Their mission is to ensure all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action, and sustained by community.

So many have supported us through our journey, now we’d like to give back. Help us make a difference and give a gift to support Gilda’s Club.

Ben & Kathleen


 See top
  • John Sibley 
    • $30 
    • 3 mos
  • Cindy Feldt  
    • $25 
    • 3 mos
  • Robin Franzen 
    • $50 
    • 4 mos
  • Rose McGinnis 
    • $50 
    • 4 mos
  • Shelley Hertzfeldt 
    • $100 
    • 4 mos
See all

Fundraising team (2)

Ben White 
Raised $2,590 from 36 donations
Middleton, WI
Gilda's Club Madison Wisconsin, Inc. (Gilda's Club Madison Wisconsin, Inc.) 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.
Learn more
Kathleen Callaghan 
Team member
Raised $195 from 4 donations
  • #1 fundraising platform

    More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more