Mile after mile, day by day | Manhattan Times

Story by Sherry Mazzocchi

“I just want to be happy,” said Heidy Pabón, shown here crossing the marathon finish line. Photo: Rick Bloomer | Van Cortlandt Track Club

(Photo: Rick Bloomer | Van Cortlandt Track Club)

When Heidy Pabón crossed the finish line of the TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 4, she immediately went to the medical tent.

Her chest felt like it was full of fluid.

The Inwood resident had trouble breathing. Her vision was cloudy and she was spitting up blood. The doctors said that would happen.

Pabón said, “I thought I was going to die.”

4:23:57 is a very respectable time for most runners. But it’s even more meaningful when, like Pabón, you are battling breast and throat cancer at age 45 and are just finishing chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

One day after the race, Pabón sat at Mr. McGoo’s Pub in the Bronx, celebrating with other members of the Van Cortlandt Track Club.

Pabón’s doctors advised against running the marathon. Her platelet levels and red blood cell counts are low. They asked why she would even consider it.

“I’m doing it for all of the people who are suffering from cancer,” Pabón said. “With the grace of God, I’m going to run. And I’m doing it for all of the other kind people here today.”

Pabón probably couldn’t conceive of not doing it. This was her fifth marathon. She’s been training with the Van Cortlandt Track Club for the past two years, even while in treatment. On the weekends, she ran races, a 5K, a 10K, even a half marathon.

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