YOUR LIFE YOUR HEALTH

‘Race Against Cancer’ takes on new meaning for Draper woman

Jun 21, 2018, 6:55 PM | Updated: 9:24 pm

DRAPER, Utah – After running the American Fork half marathon as a healthy athlete, Joani Richardson never thought she would one day finish the race as a cancer survivor.

Richardson is an incredible athlete. At 65-years-old, she walks or runs about 100 miles each week.

“I enjoy being outside. It’s a way to do something for myself each day,” she says.

Richardson has raced in 30 marathons, 30 half-marathons, lots of 10ks and 5ks, including the Boston Marathon a couple times.

Richardson also enjoys running in the American Fork Canyon Run Against Cancer. She’s participated in the race several times.

“I originally ran the race because I heard it was a beautiful course,” she says.

“The first year (Richardson) ran the race, she didn’t even know the cause of the race behind the race — that it supported cancer patients,” sayd race director Holly Hardy.

Richardson had no idea how meaningful this race would soon become to her. Last year everything changed.

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Big surprise. Not the journey I would have chosen to take. I had a mastectomy a week later and started my chemo,” Richardson says.

Yet, even cancer couldn’t stop her.

Joani Richardson is an avid runner. She’s run 30 marathons and 30 half marathons, including the American Fork Run Against Cancer. (Source – Joani Richardson)

“I always got up every morning and went for a walk or run no matter how bad I felt,” Richardson says.

Richardson never thought she would run the race as a survivor, but after conquering the unexpected, she put her mind to the challenge.

She told her husband, “Gall, you know what, let’s go run the American Fork race. This will be my year!’”

Just a couple weeks after finishing chemo, Richardson did it.

“She’s a tough cookie, that Joani!” Hardy says. “These people who are battling cancer are amazing in and of itself, and then we have these people who want to do things like run a race the next day. It’s incredible!”

As the race director, Hardy decided to display motivational signs on the course. She pulled quotes for participants’ registration forms about why they wanted to run the race.

During the race, Richardson came across her sign, which read, “This is my celebration run!”

“I just love her to pieces for doing that because I thought that’s my sign,” Richardson says.

“I love that she could be on both ends of the coin — being there to run and have fun… and also run it as a survivor. It’s amazing!” Hardy says.

Even one of Richardson’s first-grade students ran the race for her.

After finishing the race, her student came up to Richardson exclaiming, “Mrs. Richardson, Hi! Did you know that I ran for you?”

This year, Richardson is returning the favor. She is running the 5k for two of her friends who also have cancer.

“I’ve been through it and I need to go back and support them,” she says.

Richardson says she doesn’t regret any part of the experience.

“I’m not sorry a bit that I had to travel that journey because so much good happened,” she says.

Hardy expects to have about 5,000 people running the various courses this year. She says they hope to raise about $400,000, which will go directly to Intermountain Healthcare’s cancer centers to help patients with medical bills or even to help buy a wig.

Intermountain Healthcare’s CEO, Dr. Mark Harrison, who is also a cancer survivor, is running the race this year. He pledged to donate $20 of his personal funds to Intermountain’s cancer centers for every runner who finishes the race before him.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Your Life Your Health

When Harrison O’Toole of Layton was five-years-old, Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital t...
Peter Rosen, KSL TV

Utah’s Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital celebrates 100 years of treating kids

Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital is used to celebrating kids’ birthdays, but this year the staff there is saying ‘happy birthday’ to the hospital itself.
2 days ago
Mike Dbeisi and Austin Smith are avid outdoor enthusiasts and emergency room doctors with Intermoun...
Ken Fall

How to enjoy Utah’s mountain bike trails safely this summer

Utah is known for outdoor sports, but they don’t come without risk. Two Intermountain ER doctors share their advice for anyone looking to mountain bike in the backcountry.
6 days ago
Dennis Cecchini talks about the overdose death of his son, Tennyson. (Ken Fall/KSL TV)...
Annie Knox, KSL TV

The overdose-reducing drug doctors say more of us should have on hand

It can fit in your pocket and save a life. After overdose deaths from opioids climbed during the pandemic, medical workers and advocates are spreading the word about naloxone.
16 days ago
Mother offers her advice for keeping her kids active at the park in the summer....
Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Ways to keep your kids active during the summer break

With Utah's weather so nice this time of year, you would think getting kids to be active would be a slam dunk. But it can be a tall order given the draw of smartphones, tablets, and video games.
24 days ago
Watermelon pizza - Skip the sugary snacks this summer and make fruit the star of the show with thes...
Cindy St. Clair, KSL TV

Make fruit the star of summer snack time

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Between the BBQs, road trips, and busy schedules, summer can be a tough time to get healthy snacks into your kids. For Intermountain Healthcare’s corporate executive chef, Alex Govern, a little bit of sugar goes a long way in helping his kids eat healthy. “We don’t say no to sugars,” […]
1 month ago
...
Ken Fall, KSL TV

With warm weather arriving, keep your kids safe from window falls

It’s that time of year when windows are flying open to let in some fresh air. But it’s also when open windows and unsafe screens present a serious danger to little kids.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
‘Race Against Cancer’ takes on new meaning for Draper woman