Local Cancer Survivor to Support, Honor Victims & Heroes at Boston Marathon

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STRONGSVILLE, Ohio-- Debbie Spencer will be among the thousands of runners at Monday’s Boston Marathon just one year after a bomb exploded near the finish line.

The one-time cancer patient is running to support the victims and honor those who became heroes.

The 41-year-old is getting set to run Monday’s Boston Marathon for a second time.

“Amazing experience to be a part of the Boston Marathon, to just be in that environment and to just be in that atmosphere,” said Spencer.

Debbie ran her first Boston Marathon in 2012.

“Unfortunately, on race day it was record heat that year so when I crossed the finish line in 2012, it was 87 degrees,” she said.

Debbie did not qualify for last year’s Boston Marathon as a result of her time in the 87 degree heat. She was watching from a far on her computer as the race played out.

“It is very scary to think that somebody would try and take something so positive that people are trying to do and make it so negative, but that inspired me even more to be part of that this year,” Spencer said.

Most people would be uneasy about running the Boston Marathon after what happened a year ago at that event, but for Debbie Spencer, she’s using those events as motivation to run this year.

“That’s what I’m doing this year. My goal is just to be part of it, to honor them, say thanks to show that we are Boston Strong,” Spencer said.

Debbie is leaving on Saturday with her family to head to Boston for the race.

“I keep saying, I think it’s the safest place to be on Monday, so I’m more excited than nervous about anything,” she said.

If anybody knows about being strong, it’s Debbie who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2006.

She is now cancer-free and ready to prove Boston Strong is alive and well here in Northeast Ohio.

“In the running community, Boston Strong, you don’t have to be from Boston. It’s kind of universal for runners: It’s Boston Strong,” said Spencer.

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