SHARON, Pa. (WKBN) – Five months after Adrienne Toth lost her battle with cancer, one of her greatest friends is preparing to race a marathon in her memory.
“This is an opportunity for me to continue her mission and so hopefully, that one day this doesn’t have to be the reality that a lot of people face,” Gina Caracci said.
Caracci met Toth when they were little. Now she is living life without her friend, but finding ways to honor and remember her.
In 2012, Toth discovered she was pregnant and had breast cancer in the same week. In November 2013, she found out she was cancer-free but by the next spring, it was back and had spread to her liver. She died on December 19 at just 34 years old, leaving behind a 3-year-old son.
Caracci says Toth helped others through their battles with cancer while she was fighting the disease herself, until the last week of her life.
“She was always the person that was selfless and did for others, so this is an opportunity for me, personally, to continue her mission because Adrienne is one of 40,000 people that loses their lives every single year.”
Next weekend Caracci is heading to Washington D.C. for the Avon 39, a two-day race to raise funding for breast cancer research. With the support of Adrienne’s Army, she was able to collect enough money to participate.
“I couldn’t ask for a better extended family to have and it’s something she left us all with,” Caracci said. “I know they’ll carry me through it, and their kind words and support, I know, is what will get me through it.”
The first day of the race is a full marathon, 26.2 miles. The second day is 13.1 miles for a total of 39.
“I’ve trained for almost two months now, and it’s a lot of cross training and walking…It’s been extensive and soreness doesn’t even touch upon how it feels but honestly, that doesn’t matter.”
Training for the race has not been easy but Caracci just looks at her cell phone when things get tough. She set a picture of Toth as the background and says looking at her best friend helps her push through.
“I just remember every step is an opportunity to help somebody achieve their goals in hopefully conquering cancer so the pain is nothing, it doesn’t matter because I’m going to do this.”