A graduate of West Point; a football player for the Army; an Army Ranger – when you think of someone who represents all of those things, you immediately think of great strength, courage, and resilience. You don't think of a 26-year-old struck down in the prime of his life by a rare and catastrophic cancer, but that is exactly what happened to Josh Powell.
Newly married to his beautiful fiancé Fabi, Josh had his whole life ahead of him, before he passed away from synovial sarcoma last October. Since then, Fabi has bravely embraced a new cancer fighting mission in her life – one that has its roots in one of Josh's last wishes.During his battle with cancer, Josh diligently kept a journal, and it was in one of those journal entries that Fabi discovered something that would set her on a totally different course in her life: a race course.
Reading his journal entries gave Fabi the motivation to keep his memory alive, and to ultimately keep living, even on her darkest days. Many of the entries included Josh's dreams and goals, and it's one of those goals that Josh set that has inspired Fabi. He wrote:
"1. Register for St.Jude Children's Research Hospital 5K 2. Run: 1 mile/ 2 miles/ 3 miles 3. Finish 5K 4. Beat Cancer 5. Recover from surgery."
Unfortunately, Josh was never able to complete any of the goals on this list. As his wife, Fabi says there would be no greater honor than to complete as many of his goals as possible, as she feels closest to him while she's doing the things they both loved.
Josh also told Fabi that he would one day like to volunteer at St. Jude, helping to encourage and inspire kids with cancer, which would somehow turn his battle with the disease into a journey for good.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital paves the the way for how the world understands, treats, and defeats childhood cancer, along with other life-threatening diseases. The and treatments invented at St. Jude's have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% since it opened more than 50 years ago.
Josh wrote about running in one of the races at the St. Jude Nashville Marathon, and though he never got that chance, Fabi is ready to step in and make his goal come true. Fabi said he wanted to run for St. Jude because, "He wanted kids and families to focus on living and not the financial burdens that come with a cancer diagnosis."
Race day is this April 29 in Nashville, and of course it will be a tough day for Fabi, but she is determined to keep Josh's memory alive, and to somehow make good of the pain she has endured. To her, there is no greater honor than completing as many of Josh's goals as possible. When asked how she expected the race to go, she said, "I expect race day to be amazing, yet emotional. I just want to make him proud and I know sharing our story and creating the legacy that he deserved by continuing to inspire others will do just that. This race is for you and everyone else affected by this battle!"
To become a St. Jude Hero, and walk or run in a local race, or at a large national 5K, half, or full marathon, visit the St. Jude website. You'll be set up with an easy-to-use personal fundraising site, leaving you ready to go spread awareness and raise funds for those in need.
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