There can be many reasons why someone would want to run a marathon, but for Marie Napoli it all came down to one reason—love. Love for her husband, Paul, who had been fighting a battle against leukemia. Love for her children and children in general. And love of life itself, which she realizes is precious due to her own fight against breast cancer. So, with love propelling her forward, Marie set out to train for and run in the TCS New York City Marathon on November 2, 2014.

Running a Marathon for Many Reasons

Marie Napoli knew that training for the marathon would not be easy; nothing worthwhile ever is. But she knew it would be worth it. She knew she wanted to run in honor of her husband, Paul, to show him how much she supported him in his battle against leukemia.

As Marie explains, Paul Napoli, a senior partner at a prominent New York personal injury law firm, had been diagnosed with an advanced case of leukemia last year. He began feeling ill on a Friday, but he figured he simply had the flu or some other virus. However, Paul did not recover as expected. Instead, his health took a serious turn for the worse and, by Wednesday morning, he had to be rushed to the hospital for immediate admission. Once there, doctors informed him that if he had waited just hours longer, he would have suffered major organ failure and would not have survived. Paul ended up undergoing bone marrow transplants (which he received from his younger brother), as well as other cancer treatments. Paul was blessed. He survived the ordeal and doctors declared him in remission on October 7th.

In addition to celebrating Paul’s remission, Marie also wanted to run the marathon to celebrate her own victory over cancer, as well as to raise money for those who are still fighting the fight. To do this, she started a fundraiser on Crowdrise to support the efforts of The Bone Marrow Foundation, Inc., a nationwide charity that is dedicated to improving the quality of life for bone marrow, stem cell, and cord blood transplant patients and their families by providing financial assistance, educational information, and emotional support programs. The organization is unique in that it does not limit its assistance to a specific disease, type of transplant, or age range.

As Marie trained and told others about her mission, many who related to her story donated to the fund. In fact, her fundraiser raised an overwhelming $51,395, which exceeded Marie’s initial $25,000 goal by 206 percent.

Race Day – a Day of Success

Race day brought a bundle of emotions for Marie. She was excited for the challenge ahead, but she knew the 26.2 mile course would test her to the core. However, she looked forward to running through the vibrant neighborhoods of NYC’s five boroughs and to being part of the 44th running of the New York City Marathon.

After several hours of willing her body and mind to keep going, Marie, who was wearing bib number 41431, experienced the joy completing the race she had run out of love for others. She crossed the famed Central Park finish line with a time of 05:21:29.