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Medina brain-tumor survivor runs half marathon

Posted 28 May 2014 at 12:00 am

Provided photo – Medina resident Heather Kuepper ran a half marathon on Sunday in Buffalo to raise money for brain cancer research. She received a medal at the end of the race.

By Sue Cook, staff reporter

MEDINA – Brain-tumor survivor Heather Kuepper met her goal on Sunday in running the half marathon in Buffalo to raise money for cancer research.

Kuepper shared her story earlier this month with Orleans Hub. (Click here to see “Diagnosed at 23, survivor shares her story for Brain Tumor Awareness Month.”)

At age 23, Kuepper was diagnosed with a large brain tumor that was in a complicated location. Kuepper went through surgery and now three years later hopes to spread the word about brain cancer, as well as raise money for research and a cure.

“I am honored to have been able to share my experience with the community, and hope it has been able to benefit someone else,” she said.

Kuepper raised $318 for the Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure organization through Race For a Cure, which allows runners to raise money at any running endurance event they are registered for. Kuepper registered to participate in the Buffalo Marathon. Her fundraiser (click here) is still open through the end of the month.

“The crowd was so motivating, and I believe the support from the Buffalo community plays such a vital role in helping many people cross that finish line,” Kuepper said. “I am glad I was able to complete the race and bring awareness to brain tumors. I also got to be a role model for my daughter who was there to cheer me on during the race. I demonstrated setting a goal, working toward that goal, completing the goal, as well as showing her how important it is to strive for a healthy lifestyle.”

Provided photo – Gracie, 4, was there to cheer her mom along during the race.

Kuepper ran the half marathon in 2 hours, 11 minutes. She trained for about four months at the Medina YMCA and at the school track. She also added strength training to her routine to build muscle for endurance.

“Preparing for a race like this takes a lot of time and dedication,” she said. “It felt great to have a big goal, and to be able to complete it. It motivates me to train harder and try for a better finishing time at another race.”

Kuepper also had a follow-up MRI earlier this May to check her health and make sure the tumor hadn’t come back. She also had an oncology follow up shortly after. Both came back with a clean bill of health.

Kuepper’s doctors were very pleased with her results and this has given her a great outlook.

“I look forward to completing another race in the future, and hope to work on other projects to promote brain-tumor awareness,” she said.