Breast cancer survivor Sharael Kolberg has big plans for her 50th birthday: She is running 50 miles in 50 days to raise money for Susan G. Komen Orange County, a California-based organization that supports breast cancer research and awareness.
Kolberg originally intended to run one mile in every state in the country, but because of the coronavirus epidemic, she has had to change her plans. She now plans to run one mile every day at her home in Laguna Beach. However, she will be joined via Zoom by another runner from a different state each day, so her message will still reach every corner of the country.
“It's been a really fun process actually,” Kolberg told TODAY. “I'm kind of excited that it went virtual because I've gotten to meet so many amazing people through this process rather than just running on my own in each state.”
Kolberg was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2018. She had to undergo lumpectomies, chemotherapy and radiation, but after more than 15 months of treatment, she was pronounced cancer-free.
She said she hopes she can use her fundraiser to show others with breast cancer that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
“I’ve been in their shoes,” Kolberg said, “and I’m hoping that they can see through what I’m doing that soon they will be in my shoes and they’ll be out running again.”
Though Kolberg has officially partnered with one person from every state, participation is open to everyone. People can RSVP to join in on specific runs, and they will receive a Zoom link so they can follow along with Kolberg in whatever way they choose.
Kolberg officially kicked off her fundraiser on her actual birthday, Aug. 11, and she will continue through Sept. 29. She began in her home state of California, and she said she was joined by some of her closest friends and more than 40 other people across the country.
“It just was really amazing to see the support that everyone was giving me to kick off this big endeavor that I’m doing,” she said.