Heidi Richard and her "Woo Crew" are off, training for the Hartford Half Marathon in October. It’s not Heidi’s first time running 13.1 miles.
“I fully anticipate this to be my slowest, but I think it'll be the best, because the other ones, I was in great shape all along for the other ones. It wasn't like I was starting from zero, but I was literally starting from not being able to get up off the floor when I dropped something," Heidi Richard said.
As the world shut down in March of 2020, Heidi was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Since then, she’s had months of chemotherapy, followed by a stem cell transplant in January. She spent a month at UMASS Memorial Medical Center recovering. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, her only visitors, were doctors and nurses.
“I was miserable, like the sickest that I've been in my entire life, just like every bad flu, horrible feeling, everything kind of piled all into one. And so I made a list of 10 things I wanted to do in 2021," Richard said.
One of the goals on Heidi’s list was running another half marathon. Training started by walking 15 miles in the hospital hallway.
“I just needed something to focus on that was good and things to look forward to. Things that I knew that would be a challenge and make me kind of step out of my comfort zone," Richard said.
Word of Heidi’s to-do list spread fast inside and outside of the hospital. Now, she has more than 60 friends signed up to run with her, as she raises money for the Adam Bullen Memorial Foundation. The Oxford-based charity helps Central Massachusetts cancer patients like Heidi with bills. So far, the group has raised more than $6,000 for the foundation.
“It's been great to know that there's so many people that are just super supportive and want to see me succeed with this," Richard said.
Heidi will continue to receive immunotherapy for the next year and a half. As she gains her endurance back, Heidi says she’s thankful to have her "Woo Crew," which goes whatever pace she needs, to help her get through the road ahead.