Monday, March 12, 2012

Get Your Rear in Gear!

Last weekend my friend, Teri, and I traveled to Tulsa, Oklahoma to participate in the Get Your Rear In Gear 5K with my daughter, Sarah, her soon-to-be brother-in-law, Drew, and three of her friends, Kourtni, Greg, and Molly.

In their own words, Get Your Rear In Gear "are sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers and friends who have been affected by colon cancer and want to do something."
Their mission is to "Empower local communities to promote prevention and early detection of colon cancer and to provide support to those affected." 

Teri and I arrived in Tulsa and immediately went to Runners World to pick up our race packets.  We felt like athletes as we browsed through the store's running gear. In the back of my mind I wondered what I had gotten myself into. Yes, I ran track in 6th grade, but that was a long time ago!

Teri handing out at Runners World

We enjoyed a high-carb dinner at Olive Garden with Sarah and her friends under the guise that our training required such extravagance! Then we spent the evening making t-shirts for our team (by that I mean Sarah spent the evening making t-shirts for our team!).

Sarah's handiwork

The day was predicted to be cold and wet, but Saturday morning arrived beautiful, cool, and clear. We put on our running gear, loaded up the car and headed down to Veterans Park

 Teri and me at Veterans Park

Sporting my "survivor" t-shirt, I stepped up to one of the tables to fill out a form in honor and memory of several of my sweet friends. As I was doing so, the lady at the table said, "Laura Shook! Is that you? I've read your story! I'm so glad you are here!" It was another special moment to remember all those who prayed for me and championed me in the battle. It was the perfect inspiration to start the run! 

I walked in honor and memory of my friends!

Sarah ran in my honor!

The race route was beautiful, taking us over and along the river, winding through a peaceful tree-lined neighborhood and then back to Veteran's Park. Over 500 people participated in the event, from age 7 to 99!  

And we're off!

It was a surreal experience to be run/walking in a 5K almost three years after staring death in the face and being told that I had a 50/50 chance of survival!  I took such pleasure in the sun reflecting off the river, the daffodils pushing up through the dirt, and the wind on my face.  My heart was bursting with gratitude for life, for my family, for my friends, for my doctors, and for my faithful God.

One of the things that touched me the most was all the people I saw who were running in memory of their mothers and fathers - a sweet tribute to their loved ones, and the sad reality of the ugliness of cancer. 

As Teri and I rounded the bend heading into the finish line, Sarah, Drew, Greg, and Kourtni were there cheering. Sarah ran out and joined us to cross the finish line together. Her smiling face beside me was my reward! 

The Finish Line!

I am happy to report that we finished the 5K and we didn't come in last! Although "bringing up the rear" would have been totally appropriate given the nature of the race! 

We celebrated with brunch at Dilly Deli in downtown Tulsa. What an amazing fun day!

To all my Houston friends, Houston will be hosting its first ever Get Your Rear in Gear 5K on November 3, 2012. I hope you will all join me as we continue to fight against colorectal cancer! For more information check out their website: 


  1. Way to go, Laura!!!! It's amazing what faith and God can do!

  2. Laura -
    What a beautiful recap of the Tulsa 5K. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. It is because of and for people like you that we continue to push forward to educate about the importance of awareness and screening for colon cancer. We hope to see you again next year!
    All the best,
    Erin Peterson
    Communications Director, Get Your Rear in Gear

    PS - I absolutely LOVE your picture of the bridge. Beautiful! And Sarah did a great job with your shirts.

  3. I love you Laura Shook and am so glad you have kicked cancer in the butt! :)

  4. LOVE it! Y'all crack me up!! Sounds like it was a lot of fun.

  5. Laura,
    I, too, thought it was just hemorrhoids... On March 1st of this year, I was diagnosed with anal cancer. I am a single mother/school teacher who lives by myself (my son lived with me from birth to age 13 when he wanted more time with his father; he just turned 16). I have had one chemo infusion (one more next Monday), and taken oral chemo and radiation treatments now for 15 days; I have 14 more days scheduled. I enjoyed finding and reading your blog this evening. I have so many people praying and supporting me which gives me so much strength. I pray to God each and every day for continued strength and courage. Thank you for sharing; I pray for your continued health as well.