Making herself tough for 26.2 miles

When Lisa Cannon was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease in 2007, she knew her life was about to change. But she never would have guessed one of those changes would be adopting a love of long distance running.

Since completing her first marathon, to celebrate five years of remission, with Team in Training (TNT), Lisa hasn’t looked back — literally putting one foot in front of the other. Her love of running has enabled her to complete nine marathons, and as she heads to Chicago this October, she will run in her 10th at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

I knew I wanted to do something big to mark the milestone of my remission. When I saw the date for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, I just knew I had to run it!

Lisa Cannon

While the annual race holds a special place in the hearts of many runners, this year’s race will have extra meaning for Lisa, as October 8, 2007, was the day of her last chemotherapy infusion. On this same date 10 years later, and the 40th running of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, Lisa will be celebrating that she is in remission.

“I knew I wanted to do something big to mark the milestone of my remission,” Cannon said. “When I saw the date for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, I just knew I had to run it! And when I saw it was being offered as a Team in Training event, it sealed the decision for me.”


Strength through Team in Training

On October 8, Lisa and her teammates at TNT will throw on their infamous purple singlets and hit the streets of Chicago to run on behalf of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, an official charity partner of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. As a survivor of Hodgkin’s disease, Lisa knows the importance of groups offering both emotional and financial support, as she directly benefited from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s services during her journey to remission. She now makes it a priority to give back to the organization that gave her so much.

Lisa’s sister, Tami, is another important person in her life, and Tami is also a member of TNT. Tami, three years younger, was at Lisa’s side throughout her cancer battle and has run with her in almost all of her marathons. Lisa expects the day to be very emotional as she relives how far she’s come to get to this point.

“After having cancer, you really can’t take your life or health for granted,” Cannon said. “I remember when I was in treatment — there were days I had to drag myself out of bed in the morning. I know many people who did not win their cancer battle, and so I run with gratitude in my heart for the opportunity to live my life and live it well.”

Make yourself tough

Throughout her journey, Lisa has developed an appreciation for life that helps inspire her runs. As a mother of three, a wife, a sister and a full-time professional, Lisa found her “happy place” in running. Starting her runs early in the morning before work, school, and other commitments, she empties her mind and focuses on the positives in her life.

During her training for the upcoming marathon, when the distance seems unreachable and her energy is low, Lisa remains mentally strong by focusing on her father’s motto for the family, “Make yourself tough.”

“When I run and I’m struggling, I think about this quote a lot,” Cannon said. “In life there will be challenges. You can either give up and fold like a deck of cards or you can rise to the occasion and give it your all.”

Lisa, with Tami by her side, will live these words as they cross the finish line together on this momentous day.


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