Lafayette woman battling cancer finishes goal of running on every road in Greater Lafayette

Rebecca Sullivan began her goal of running on each street of Greater Lafayette in 2020. She believes it's what's keeping her alive as she battles Stage-4 cancer.

Posted: Feb 22, 2021 7:29 AM
Updated: Feb 22, 2021 7:49 AM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) -- One Lafayette woman battling Stage-4 cervical cancer is bringing light to a dark-diagnosis. Rebecca Sullivan, 66, gave herself the challenge to run every road in Greater Lafayette. After 10 months of running, she officially reached that goal last week.

"I remember for months waking up and going, 'oh my God I have Stage-4 cancer, I don't know how long I have to live,'" said Sullivan.

A diagnosis like this isn't easy to take, but Sullivan has made it her mission to find a positive outlet. This journey begins several years ago when she started running as a way to exercise and stay active.

"I started out doing half-marathons and then I was like, well I want to see what a marathon was like and I ran a few marathons and it just kept morphing from there," said Sullivan.

She created a goal of running a marathon in every single state. She made it to 38 states before the Covid-19 pandemic struck our nation in 2020, canceling marathons nationwide.

"I was feeling like, 'oh my God, I don't know how long I have to complete this goal,' and I've got to be doing something, I have to have a goal that keeps me alive because I really believe that as long as you have something to live for, that you're passionate about, you have a better chance of staying one step ahead of cancer," said Sullivan.

She decided to localize her running-goal.

"Somewhere along the way, I got the idea like, 'oh why don't I run every street in Lafayette.' I've lived here almost 30 years and there were so many streets I've never been on," said Sullivan.

This is the map she used to navigate her challenge. She used a red pen to help keep track of every street she touched. She said she was very meticulous in not missing any streets.

"She loves the goals so I knew it was good for her," said Dave Kiser, Rebecca's husband.

Her husband has been her biggest support through her journey.

"We all have challenges and adversities and, you know, it's how we approach them that really counts," said Kiser.

Sullivan credits her new chemotherapy treatment as well as her positive outlook on life for the recent news she's received from doctors.

"The last CT scan, they found no evidence of disease," said Sullivan.

Doctors aren't calling her cancer-free just yet, but she's approaching this news the best way she knows how.

"You can turn your life experience into a tragedy or you can turn it into a hero's journey and I choose to turn mine into, you know, something positive," said Sullivan.

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