Marathon and Half Marathon Program Participant Bank of America Chicago Marathon
Posted: September, 2011
As Executive Director for Alumni Relations at the University of Georgia, Deborah is someone who knows how to get things done. When her 39 year old sister Deana Chiusano was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in April 2011, Deborah launched a personal campaign to learn as much as she could and help her sister embark immediately on an effective treatment plan. Deborah has always been very active in community organizations and volunteer roles, but says that Deana’s diagnosis has given her efforts a new laser-like focus. Adapting the battle call from their shared alma mater, Texas A&M, Deborah established Team “Beat the Hell Outta Multiple Myeloma” for Deana and appointed herself Captain.
Less than a month later, Deborah was sharing her experiences on this journey via a guest column she writes for the independent online forum The Myeloma Beacon. “Big Sis in Burgundy” chronicles Deborah’s observations about helping her sister navigate life with multiple myeloma, including her frustration that awareness for Multiple Myeloma is not as high as it is for other forms of cancers. She has been doing everything she can on her end to change this, including a segment she organized on talk radio interviewing the MMRF’s Dr. Joan Levy.
After running 14 half marathons and being asked many times by friends and family when she was going to run a full one, Deborah finally decided to take on the challenge with the Bank of America Chicago Marathon through the MMRF PowerTeam on October 9, 2011. Deborah’s training for the marathon was hard work and included physical therapy for tendonitis in her left knee and foot, but it paid off. Part of a team of 65 MMRF runners at the Chicago Marathon, Deborah was the 4th biggest fundraiser, raising more than $5,500 with 110 donations and more than doubling her initial fundraising goal. “Running my first marathon was made more meaningful by doing it as a member of the MMRF Power Team. Sharing the experience with this special group of people, united with me in a shared desire to bring about a cure for MM — there aren’t words sufficient to describe it,” said Deborah.
Deborah will stop at nothing until a cure is found. Since she joined the MMRF PowerTeam she has been in perpetual motion regarding both events and fundraising. After the 2011 Chicago Marathon, Deb immediately started training for and fundraising for the Empire State Building Run-Up on February 8, 2012. She even recruited two runners, one of them her trainer, to make the trek to NY and up the 86 flights. Deb raised another $7,566, tapping into 112 people to support her. She will take a short breather before starting to train for the Marine Corps Marathon to be held on October 28, but she has not slowed down by any means and has already raised close to $12,000 for this race.
Meanwhile, Deborah’s sister Deana has undergone a successful stem cell transplant and is feeling great!