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Westport Woman Runs From Cancer

Running a full-length marathon was a goal Westport resident Lori Redmer set at the beginning of last year, before she was diagnosed with an advanced stage of breast cancer. And 11 months after her diagnosis, she achieved that goal.

"The great irony of it is, I may or may not have been able to do it without cancer," said Lori, 43. A mother of three, Lori said she found out she had cancer Jan. 6, 2010, after she went to see her gynecologist for a "fairly routine test."

"I had some pain and my [doctor] wanted to rule some things out, so I went in for a breast ultrasound. And I'm lying there on the table when the radiologist came in, and said, 'Mrs. Redmer, you have a large cancer in your left breast,'" Lori said. "That's how it happened. It was a total shock."

Six days later, a surgical biopsy confirmed she had stage 3 breast cancer. Before she was diagnosed, Lori described herself as a "typical busy mom." She held a full-time job, had just had a baby, had no time to exercise and often ate convenience food. That's why she wanted to run a marathon—to rectify her unhealthy lifestyle.

And that's exactly what she did during chemotherapy: She started eating healthy foods, meditated and exercised every day. But these lifestyle changes didn't come because she was training for a marathon—she wanted to do everything she could to give her body the best fighting chance against the cancer.

In fact, her New Year's goal of running a marathon escaped her mind during treatment. It wasn't until weeks after she completed her treatments in August that she thought about it again.

"About mid-September, I thought, 'What a wonderful way to end the year from hell if I could achieve this goal,'" she said. On Dec. 11, Lori, who is currently cancer free, completed the 26.2-mile Kiawah Island marathon in South Carolina. And although it wasn't easy, Lori said she's proud, not only because she completed her first marathon, but also because she fulfilled a goal despite the hardships she faced.

"If there's anything I want other people to pick up from this it's that sometimes, the most unusual things can propel you to achieve your goals," she said.

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