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Fort Sheridan resident runs ‘meaningful’ marathons to fund raise

August 13, 2019

Fort Sheridan resident Erica Marchese is dedicating her life to helping better the lives of people living with cancer.

Marchese works as a pharmacist at one of the three Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) in Chicago at the Zion location. Her work hit close to home in March 2018 when her mother was diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) breast cancer.

As a way to help her mother and many others like her, Erica signed up to be a part of Fred’s Team, who she ran the New York City Marathon with in November of 2018 to raise money for cancer research. “The race meant a lot to me,” Marchese said. “Every step that I took I knew I was running for her and all the patients we see here at our hospital and all the patients across the world that are battling for their lives.”

Fred’s Team, the running program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York City, was officially named in 1995 in honor of Fred Lebow. Lebow was one of the founders of the New York City Marathon who died in 1994 from brain cancer.

According to Marchese, Fred’s Team has raised $83 million since its formal conception in support of the oncology community and research for MSKCC. At the end of the 2018 New York City Marathon, Marchese personally raised $3,500 in support of this team and cause.

Erica encouraged her mother to get treated at CTCA in Chicago, not only because she has complete trust in the people who work there, but her location is the only center in Illinois designated as a Breast Cancer Center of Excellence by national standards.

“[The] National quality measures of breast center program, they have certain standards that a hospital has to be or a program has to be to be considered a breast cancer center of excellence.” Marchese said. Her mother received stellar care and has no sign of the disease today. Marchese even went as far as to say if she ever had signs of this disease, she would go to the CTCA right away. Marchese recalled a moment in the race when she stopped on the first bridge of the event. She described looking out to the city and being completely awestruck by what she was doing and how many people were there in support of those running the race. Though the experience came about through terrible circumstances, Marchese is glad that she had the opportunity to join Fred’s Team and, as a result, was welcomed into a whole new family. She described running the race, which has always been a personal goal of hers, as one of the best memories she has had in her life so far.

“The support from people who didn’t even know me was unreal.” Marchese said. Marchese will be running in the Chicago Marathon in October. She likes to run in organized races to be pushed towards a goal, she also enjoys local races which help to benefit local causes.

Article written by Olivia Vallone and originally published in, The Highland Park Landmark