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Mother-Daughter Team Up to Raise Funds and Awareness for Metastatic Breast Cancer Research
Carol Chaoui who is living with metastatic breast cancer, will participate in the race with her daughter, Lina.
For Carol, running has been a way of life. She started at the age of 13, and nothing has stopped her from hitting the pavement – including when she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.
“Since my initial diagnosis, my oncologist encouraged me to run and race,” she says. “I’m undergoing treatment for the rest of my life, so having goals keeps me motivated.”
Now, Carol is gearing up for another race: the New York City Marathon. Not only will this be her twentieth marathon, but she will be running the course with her daughter, Lina.
“My mother’s tenacity and ability to run despite her diagnosis has always been an immense source of positivity and inspiration for me,” Lina says.
Unlike Carol, Lina began running a couple years ago as way to connect with her mother. Since then, the mother-daughter duo trained together and ran the Boston Marathon in 2018. It was Lina’s first marathon and the conditions that year were particularly challenging. But the Chaouis persevered.
“It was the worst weather,” Carol said. “We had rain ponchos on until the final stretch where we finished side by side.”
This year’s New York City Marathon also signifies another form of determination for Carol. She had initially signed up for last year’s race but had to defer after she met a medical setback: 40 lesions developed on her brain.
“Last year was my worst year of cancer treatment,” Carol said, recalling the harsh side effects of the medications she was on. Her running routine ceased altogether, until March when she ran a half marathon.
Then, she qualified for a targeted therapy. For the first time, her scans reported regression in her brain lesions and tumor markers.
“This was the first good news I received in over a year,” she says. “This is a direct result of research.”
Initially diagnosed in 2009, Carol experienced a recurrence in 2015 and has been living with metastatic disease since. While blood draws, scans and treatments have become her new norm, running has remained her passion. Her focus has now shifted from beating the clock to educating others about metastatic breast cancer.
On race day, she’s hard to miss with her signature cape emblazoned with the words: “Stage IV Needs More.” On Instagram she’s dubbed herself “MBC Wonderwoman.”
“It definitely sparks conversation,” Carol says.
While many people are aware of early-stage breast cancer, Carol has made it her personal mission to humanize advanced breast cancer. Each race is a new opportunity to share her story and to show how research advancements have given her the ability to pursue her passion while undergoing treatment.
“Research is going to help patients like myself have access to better treatments with hopefully less toxic side effects,” she says. “There are more options in the pipeline thanks to research.”
For Carol’s daughter, Lina, supporting research is crucial to improving her mother’s prognosis. So far, she has raised more than $12,000 for BCRF ahead of the New York City Marathon.
“Research is so important to me because it will allow us to go beyond the currently available treatments so that those with MBC can live longer and more fulfilling lives," she says.