"I'm going to run every day until you're cancer-free." Those were the words Vanessa Oshima spoke to her childhood best friend, Caroline Steer, from across the world when she learned of her breast cancer diagnosis.
And 1,837 days later, Oshima has stayed true to her word. Oshima and Steer had lost touch over the years, but Steer's diagnosis rocked her—so she committed to running outside every day, no matter what. "I decided to run outdoors to mirror Caroline's struggle," explains Oshima. "Cancer patients have good days and absolutely shitty days where they wake up and just start crying for no reason. Cancer patients don’t get to choose not to do it on a shitty day; they just have to get up, face it, and go. I don't run on the treadmill when the weather is rough, because cancer patients don’t get to choose to do that. They have to wade through the shit that is that day."
Now, Steer is cancer-free—but Oshima didn't stop running once Steer got the "all clear" from her doctor. In addition to helping support her friend, Oshima saw tremendous psychological and physical benefits from her daily practice. So she kept going.