Miles For Mulchrone Team to Run Chicago Marathon

Maggie Mulchrone remembers the fear she experienced when her mother, Judy, became ill in the fall of 2014. Judy had experienced abdominal pain and digestive issues, but her symptoms became intolerable around Labor Day Weekend. Judy sought medical care. After 2 months of extensive testing, her doctors discovered a tumor in her pancreas. The medical team suspected that Judy Mulchrone had pancreatic cancer. Maggie explains, “It was very scary. Everyone assumes that pancreatic cancer is a death sentence.” The Mulchrone family braced themselves for the worst news. In fact, it turned out to be the worst-case scenario for their family when doctors confirmed that Judy had stage IV pancreatic cancer.

The Mulchrone family at a pancreatic cancer walk.
The Mulchrone family at a pancreatic cancer walk.

Even though her prognosis was bleak, Judy maintained a positive outlook. She was sure that she was going to survive her cancer. She began chemotherapy in December, shortly after her diagnosis. Judy began researching alternative therapies. She traveled to Mexico for an experimental virotherapy treatment which she took in combination with the traditional chemotherapy treatments. For eight months, she endured her treatments. When she finished with chemo, Judy was told she needed to stop treatment to allow her body time to recover.  Unfortunately, only a month later she learned that her cancer was growing and needed to start more chemo as soon as possible.

After resuming chemo, Judy began to decline quickly. She had breathing difficulties that forced her to go to the hospital. Toxins had built up in her bloodstream soon effected Judy’s ability to think clearly. She remained in the hospital for a week, but eventually went home under hospice care. “We took her home on Saturday and she died on Tuesday. It was such a horrible experience. I would not wish it on anyone,” Maggie recalls.  Judy passed away December 8th, 2015 after having battled pancreatic cancer for just over a year.

Judy and Maggie Mulchrone
Judy and Maggie Mulchrone

Judy was an athletic woman who taught Physical Education for over twenty years. She was beloved at her school and in her community. When she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, her co-workers donated their sick time so that she could retire early and focus on her treatment. Maggie remembers her mother’s kindness, saying, “My mom was the person who always knew how to help people. She was always helping others.” Judy was also an incredibly tough and strong woman, who was a role model for her five children. “Mom was the strongest person we knew,” Maggie explains. “That was the hardest thing. She was such a strong-willed woman and an athlete herself. It was really hard seeing her get sick.”

Judy & Mulchrone
The Mulchrones

Judy motivated her children to work hard to accomplish goals in life. Maggie says, “She had five kids in six years. We always felt like we were the center of her life.” Judy had played Division 1 basketball at the University of Illinois. She believed that athletics were just as important as academics and she encouraged her children to play competitive sports. In fact, Maggie and her siblings all played competitive sports while pursuing their undergraduate degrees.

Maggie, Judy & Maureen Mulchrone
Maggie, Judy & Maureen Mulchrone

Maggie ran on the Cross Country and Track and Field teams at her mother’s alma mater, the University of Illinois. Judy attended all of Maggie’s meets and was her biggest fan and cheerleader. Maggie ran her first marathon in 2012, the year that she also completed her Master’s Degree. Maggie ran a 3:23 and was the first woman to cross the finish line. “Running the marathon was way harder than I thought it would be, but over those last miles my mom was there screaming for me. She always wanted her kids to excel. She knew I was first and she wanted me to win.”

Maggie running with her college team.
Maggie running with her University of Illinois team.

After Judy passed away, Maggie knew that she wanted to find a way to honor her mother’s memory. She searched for pancreatic cancer charities and found Project Purple. She learned that the organization is a charity partner for the Chicago Marathon. As a native of the Chicago area, the marathon was always a long-term goal for Maggie. She turned to her family and former teammates to create a team, “Miles for Mulchrone”. Team Mulchrone consists of Maggie, her sister Maureen, Katie Cunningham, Amber Stack, Carolyn Tysse, Kate Tysse and Taylor Bennett. Though Maggie has not done a lot of competitive running for the past couple of years, she is committed to finishing the marathon and raising as much money and awareness for pancreatic cancer as possible. Maggie, a Certified Public Accountant, often logs training miles in the early morning hours with her fiancé, Joe. She is building up her long runs on her days off from work.

Team 'Miles for Mulchrone'
Team ‘Miles for Mulchrone’

Maggie enjoys the time alone on her long runs, as it gives her an opportunity to think and clear her head. Thinking of her mom keeps her moving forward, both on the road and in life. She finds that her commitment to her Project Purple team adds extra incentive to work towards her goal of completing her second marathon. “Running for a charity is a really great motivator. We made shirts for my mom and I wear them on all of my long runs.”

maggie mulchrone shirt

Maggie adds, “I am really excited to run for this cause. Pancreatic cancer needs more attention than it currently gets. It’s really sad that it took the doctors 2 months to determine what was wrong with my mom. There is no early screening for pancreatic cancer and it is scary for me and my siblings because there is a genetic link in many families. This cause really means a lot to me.”

Please make a donation to the ‘Miles for Mulchrone’ Project Purple fundraiser at the following link:

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