ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) In just a few days thousands of people will lace up their running shoes and take part in the Foot Leveler's Blue Ridge Marathon, half marathon and Anthem Star 10K in Roanoke.
This year there are many runners who have inspiring stories. Jeannie Wilde is one of them.
She is a teacher at Woodrow Wilson Middle School in Roanoke, a fitness instructor and a runner. In 2011 she ran a half marathon but then not too long after she wasn't feeling like herself.
"In the summer of 2012 I couldn't run around the track," Wilde said. "I was just sucking wind so bad."
A visit to the doctor and blood work revealed why.
"I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma," Wilde said. "That is a blood cancer."
Wilde underwent two stem cell transplants at Duke University Medical Center and chemotherapy. She still takes oral chemotherapy every day.
"I'm in a trial at Duke," Wilde said. "It's more about the treatment after transplant and how do you treat the person after transplant because my cancer is not curable at this point."
But Wilde is not letting cancer slow her down, despite being zapped of energy after her stem cell transplants. "I had no energy to do anything," Wilde said.
She picked herself up and began running again -- taking it one step at a time. "I was always supposed to walk so I started out walking," Wilde said. And she built her stamina back up doing interval training.
"I ran for 30 seconds and walked for two minutes in the Memorial Day 5K that they have, the festival 5K," Wilde said. "For me that was a huge accomplishment at that time."
She has since completed three half marathons in the past six months, the most recent just a few weeks ago in Virginia Beach. Now she's training to run the Anthem Star 10K which will take her up Mill Mountain and back to downtown Roanoke.
Her advice for others who feel like they can't do it: "Well you just have to start small and build up," Wilde said. "That's what I did. I started with running 30 seconds and walking two minutes and running 30 seconds and walking two minutes."
"It makes me feel strong because I'm doing it," Wilde said. "Sometimes when I'm doing it I don't feel so strong [laughs] but afterwards and just overall it makes me feel strong that I'm doing it."