Doctors have told Leslie McGarry her cancer is terminal, predicting she has between two to five years left to live.
“I don’t feel like,” she begins, but pauses to cover her 5-year-old daughter’s ears.
“I don’t feel like I’m dying,” she continues. “Medically, I get it. But I refuse that diagnosis.”
One technician put it to her bluntly. “You have an expiration date,” he told her.
“I laughed. I do have an expiration date, we all do,” McGarry said. “But that’s up to God. He has the final answer.”
McGarry, 43, was first diagnosed with breast cancer eight years ago. After going through treatments, she went into remission and received a completely clean bill of health in July 2014. In February of the following year, she went to the doctor with flu-like symptoms.
Her cancer had returned. This time it was stage 4 in the lining of her lungs and in her brain.
While pursuing a new kind of chemotherapy treatment and the latest in modern medicine, she’s also focused on healthy eating and holistic therapies.
She quit her job to focus on her health and children Joedy, 24, Audrie, 9, Madeline, 5 and Cooper, 3, along with her grandchildren Keegan, 6, Kayden, 2 and Ella, 3 months.
Longtime friend Cindy Thompson wanted to find a way to help.
“I felt like God spoke to me that I needed to do something for her,” she said. “I know this has touched her for a purpose.”
Thompson, a coach for Carson City’s Kaia FIT, reached out to the girls in the running program for help in organizing a run to benefit McGarry and her family.
She said about 25 women showed up to the first meeting and have continued to show up for the past six weeks to plan McGarry Miles, a 8K and 5K run/walk at Minden’s Kaia FIT at 8 a.m. Saturday.
“I’ve never done anything like this in my life,” Thompson said. “It’s because it’s Leslie. She’s just wonderful. You’d never know she was sick. She’s so upbeat and always looking for ways to help other people.”
The Carson City Fire Department Local 2251, where Joedy is a firefigher/paramedic, is also providing a pancake breakfast to all participants, with donations accepted. They will also have drinks for purchase.
McGarry said she’s overwhelmed by the support.
“I’m not that person. I’ve never let anyone help me, ever,” she said. “Throughout this process, it has humbled me and taught me to let others help.”
She refers to it as a fun raiser, rather than a fundraiser, with the focus on celebrating life. She hopes it becomes an annual run to benefit others in need.
“Saturday is going to be a big day,” she said. “It’s incredible to me. The community support just leaves me speechless.”