Inspired to Do More: Seth Callahan Runs TC Bayshore with Project Purple’s Pioneer Program

Seth Callahan grew up in a family of athletes, with both his parents playing collegiate-level sports when they were younger, and his younger brother also pursuing his own athletic goals. With a different sport every season, athletics bound them together, becoming synonymous with the love he and his family share. 

It also helped that everyone was close by. Situated in the Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania area, Callahan and his family have always been physically, as well as emotionally close, especially with his grandparents. Callahan remembers how his grandparents would do whatever they could to make it to his games, no matter the sport or season. Their dedication and love for him, he remembers, encouraged him to play harder. Even now, his grandmother’s memory continues to be a source of inspiration for Callahan. 

“She was always there for me,” Callahan remembers. “Growing up no matter what sporting event I had, she was there, she would come to every game, she and my grandfather were always there.”

However, when his grandmother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, things changed. After surviving two previous cancer battles, the family was devastated to learn of his grandmother’s pancreatic cancer diagnosis. Now, ten years after her passing, Callahan is looking to honor his grandmother’s struggle with this disease by running the TCTC Bayshore Marathon as part of Project Purple’s Pioneer Program.

To support Seth in his run, please click here to donate.

A Patient Like You

Even after two previous cancer battles, getting the news about a loved ones’ pancreatic cancer diagnosis is still a shock. Callahan’s grandmother, before her pancreatic cancer diagnosis, had battled through breast cancer and Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Though he was no stranger to cancer, learning about his grandmother’s diagnosis was tough for Callahan. 

“It was heartbreaking, knowing that she went through two other cancers and ultimately beat them,” said Callahan. “But we had a positive outlook just because of her history and how strong she was.” 

His grandmother was diagnosed in 2012, and was given a bleak prognosis. However, her pancreatic cancer journey lasted for almost two years. 

Directly after her diagnosis, Callahan’s grandmother started chemotherapy and underwent a gamma knife procedure. During her battle, Callahan did his best to support his family and grandfather as they took over the duties of a caregiver. As a high school student, he did his best to see his grandmother as often as he could in between school and basketball practice. Despite her two previous battles, Callahan couldn’t help but worry about his grandmother’s condition. 

“I felt anxious,” Callahan said about his feelings during his grandmother’s year and a half-long battle. “This was the first person in my family I knew who was diagnosed with cancer and we kind of knew the outlook with pancreatic cancer, but we were hopeful that chemo and the gamma knife would work. But you kind of always have in the back of your mind the prognosis because of what pancreatic cancer is and the statistics with the disease.” 

During his grandmother’s battle, the family did anything and everything they could to support his grandparents, and each other. Callahan remembers how everyone used to meet at his grandparents’ house to check in on his grandmother, and how those visits always left her feeling better. 

However, Callahan’s grandmother’s condition grew worse instead of better. She passed away on December 30, 2013. 

“Watching her go through her treatments for pancreatic cancer was an inspiration,” said Callahan, “just to see how hard she fought for so long with such a bleak outlook and then fight for a year and a half. It was just amazing to watch.”

Ten years after her passing, Callahan still feels motivated by the strength of his grandmother and has been looking for a way to honor her pancreatic cancer journey. Now, he’s getting ready to run for Project Purple, in the hope that his fundraising efforts will help other patients like his grandmother. 

Giving Running New Meaning As A Project Purple Pioneer

When Callahan found Project Purple, he knew it was the perfect fit for him. After college, during his time in PA school, Callahan needed a new way to stay active. He decided to challenge himself by taking up running and fell in love with the sport. Now, he is not only an orthopedic surgery physician assistant, but also a marathoner. 

“Ever since I was little I had a basketball in my hand, every season was a different sport,” Callahan explained. “I’m very competitive, so I needed something after I finished college basketball to quell that competitive side of me, so that’s where racing came in.” 

Callahan states that his love of running comes from the thrill of overcoming a new challenge. 

“I like setting lofty goals for myself and then doing everything possible to achieve them,” he said. “I never thought I’d be running a marathon, let alone multiple.”

Callahan is excited to be taking on his fourth marathon with Project Purple with the help of our Pioneer Program. This program is designed to empower anyone to run any race while fundraising for research and patient financial aid. 

No matter what event you want to do, whether it be an ultra-marathon or a 5k walk, the Pioneer Program only requires athletes to raise $500 or more and to secure their own entry into the race of their choice for a full Project Purple team kit and singlet. Everything raised goes directly to helping patients in need and funding research efforts. It’s the perfect way to get the Project Purple experience even if you want to run a race where Project Purple doesn’t have a full-fledged team yet. 

Callahan has challenged himself to focus his highly goal-oriented mindset on raising money for Project Purple. His current goal is to raise $1,000 in memory of his grandmother’s journey. He’s excited to do his part to create a world without pancreatic cancer. 

“I know I am running for something more important now,” said Callahan. “It’s not just me running on my own. I’m running to raise money for this charity, and running in honor of my grandmother.”

By running through the Pioneer Program, Callahan hopes to give the same support to other patients that he saw given to his grandmother during her battle. He believes that the most important part of fighting back against this disease is the encouragement you receive from your community. 

“Being in the medical field, you know the statistics of P.C. compared to other cancers. The outlook, almost always, isn’t great and sometimes the diagnosis can be pretty bleak,” said Callahan. “To give people going through this disease encouragement to keep fighting, or anything they need is so important…Raising money to help support those going through this disease, raising money to help with research to one day have a cure down the road means a lot.”  

More than that, he hopes that this race will help him honor his grandmother’s legacy of strength and resilience by challenging himself to make this his fastest race yet. 

“It means everything,” said Callahan when talking about the race. “We’re a very close-knit family and she and my grandfather were at the center of it. Any way to honor her, to raise money for other people going through the same battle she did, it means everything.”

If you would like to support Seth in his run, please click here to donate. Signing up for an event through our Pioneer Program not only helps patients in need and funds research efforts, it also helps share Project Purple with the world. Participating in the Pioneer Program helps lay the groundwork for us to start new teams in new places. When you join us, you are pioneering new paths for this community!

For more information on Project Purple’s Pioneer Program, click here. We can’t wait to see you cross the finish line in Michigan this May!

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