BOSTON, Mass. — Richard “R.J.” Corman of North Carolina will be running the Boston Marathon® later this month in memory of his father.
The grandson of Mary Frazier of Greenville, he is running to conquer cancer as a member of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team in the 120th Boston Marathon®.
After a full and rich life, Rick Corman passed away in August 2013 after living with the blood cancer multiple myeloma for 12 years. R.J. is not only training for the Boston Marathon but he is also raising funds for the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge.
Inspired by his father, who ran a marathon six months after a stem cell transplant, R.J. said he never got the chance to run a marathon with his dad but hopes that by running Boston in his father’s memory, he’ll feel closer to him. This will be R.J.’s second marathon and his first time running Boston.
R.J., 36, will join more than 550 Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge teammates from across the United States and around the world, including Darke County, Ohio, runners, running Massachusetts’ historic marathon route from Hopkinton to Boston with a goal to raise $5.4 million for cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
When Rick Corman was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, the treatment facility he first visited gave him two to three years to live. Heading to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston for a second opinion, Dana-Farber’s Dr. Kenneth Anderson and Dr. Paul Richardson met with Rick and as R.J. shared, “They asked my dad, ‘why are you willing to die in three years?’ They predicted either a cure or a significantly longer lifespan if he tried treatment at Dana-Farber.”
Rick began treatment right away with the team and enjoyed 12 more years with his family and loved ones.
R.J. continues to be inspired by his father’s approach to life even when he faced his own difficult circumstances. “During the time he was treated at Dana-Farber my dad had such a positive outlook on life that he wanted nothing more than to help others,” said R.J. “Through decades of hard work he was successful enough to start charities and even a professorship in medicine at Harvard Medical School. He ran multiple marathons during his time on Earth including several Boston Marathons where he would raise funds and awareness for multiple myeloma. Running Boston for the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge is my small way in carrying on the tradition of giving back and helping to raise awareness for multiple myeloma and the needed research to cure this form of cancer.”
What will R.J. think about when he crosses the finish line?
“I definitely picture him and I crossing the finish line together, it still gets me teary-eyed,” he said. “It was a goal I always wanted and never got to achieve.”
Rick Corman is never far from his son’s thoughts.
Every time R.J. laces up his sneakers, he sees the very visible reminder he hand writes on the instep of each pair of running shoes he owns: “4 DAD.”
“He’d be so mad about me doing that,” R.J. laughed. “I know he would be both touched by and mad at me. He’d say you need to do it for yourself and not for him.”
This April 18 in Boston, R.J. and Rick will cross the finish line together—Rick will be in his son’s heart.
R.J., born Oct. 17, 1980, was born and raised in North Carolina, living in Hendersonville, according to his grandmother Mary.
R.J.’s mother, Linda Corman Wheeler, is a 1977 graduate of Mississinawa Valley High School, Union City. Ohio. She now lives in Raleigh.
R.J. and his wife, Amanda, are the parents of two children, Richard, 8, and Abigail “Abby,” 3.
Frazier said R.J., her oldest grandson, is an airline pilot and is currently teaching aviation.
“We left in Union City in 1977 when my husband got a job in North Carolina,” Frazier said. “I was there for 12 years.”
She said R.J. also has two sister, Amy Page of Kentucky and Laura Wesley of Florida and a younger brother, Josh Ward of North Carolina.
“Learn more about R.J.’s run and how you can support him at www.runDFMC.org/2016/richardcorman,” said a spokesperson.
This year marks the 27th annual running of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge. One hundred percent of the money raised by the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team funds Dana-Farber’s Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research. The Barr Program supports uniquely promising science research in its earliest stages, providing researchers with critical resources to test their leading-edge ideas. Findings from Barr Program research can provide the results necessary to seek additional federal funding as well as novel clinical insights.
Since its inception in 1990, the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge has raised nearly $75 million for the Barr Program. Dana-Farber Trustees J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver founded the Barr Program in 1987 to honor Mrs. Weaver’s mother, Claudia Adams Barr, who lost her battle with cancer 30 years earlier.
To contribute to the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge, go online to www.RunDFMC.org or contact the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge office at (617) 632-1970 or email@example.com. Follow DFMC on Facebook: www.facebook/marathonchallenge. On Twitter: #RunDFMC
This writer may be reached at 937-569-4315. Follow her on Facebook and join the conversation and get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.