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'Why I run': Terry Burian shares her Donna Marathon motivation

"I started reading up on Donna and what she did and thought, OK, I can buckle down and do this," said the runner.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Staying active and healthy was a major part of Terry Burian's life.

"I loved running, I loved swimming, I loved biking, and my husband and I were very active in the triathlon community and the running community," Burian said. 

In June 2019, triple-negative breast cancer forced Burian to hang up her running shoes and put her hobby on the back burner.

“It was a complete shock to me because I have zero risk factors for breast cancer. It’s not in my family. I don’t carry the gene. I live a healthy lifestyle," Burian said.

Blindsided by the news, her friends pushed her to stay motivated. 

“Triple-negative is a tough one. It's hard to treat. It's more aggressive. It has higher reoccurrence rates," said Burian.

Burian said her Jacksonville friends shared Donna Deegan's story with her, making a life-changing impact. 

"They said she ran a half marathon during treatment, she had the same type you did, she beat it, she's doing great -- you can do what she did," Burian said.

Just like Deegan, Burian was determined to run a half marathon during treatment, and that's what she did!

“She was like an inspiration to me. So here I am thinking wow, and I started reading up on Donna and what she did and thought, OK, I can buckle down and do this," Burian said.

Now, nearly two years since her first half marathon after being diagnosed, Burian will run Donna's Marathon.

“She has this foundation that gives so much back to things that matter, not just to me, but to other women fighting what I have. It has been a game-changer in my life,+ and so I’m really excited to go out next Sunday and do this," said Burian.

As part of her fundraising, Burian will run each mile for a friend, family member or even a stranger to honor their fight against breast cancer.

“I’m running for Susie Selma. I’m running this mile for Ann Ackerman. I’m running this mile for Debbie Whetsel, you know, and it will hit harder when I do that," said Burian. 

In addition to her running, Burian is working to help the future generation. For the next five years, Burian will undergo infusions every six months in a Mayo Clinic clinical trial for a breast cancer vaccine.

"Whether the vaccine is successful or not, science has learned something from this. My daughters and my granddaughters and any other women out there, we’re all going to be in a better position," Burian said.

RELATED: 'Why I run': Lisa Patton shares her Donna Marathon motivation

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