Arizona woman who beat cancer three times to take part in New York Marathon

When the New York City Marathon returns on Nov. 7, a Phoenix area woman will be one of the thousands of people taking part.

Training for a marathon is no easy feat, but for Karen Vicker, making it to the marathon took a lot more than just weeks of training.

Vicker survived cancer not once, but three times.

"I had thyroid cancer, malignant phyllodes tumors, and rare breast sarcoma," said Vicker.

Besides beating cancer three times, Vicker has also dealt with other health issues along the way.

"I also had a cardiac event a couple of years ago. It was something rare also. For some reason, these rare things happen to me, and it put me in heart failure," said Vicker.

In spite of all of her health challenges, not once did Vicker ever thought about giving up, even when the hardship just seemed to keep coming.

"This summer, I was running along pretty good and all of a sudden, there was a rock I didn't see on the road, and rolled my ankle and fell pretty hard," said Vicker. "That's kind of how it felt when I got my second cancer diagnosis, the malignant tumor. It was so serious. It felt like someone took the ground out underneath me, but I was able to get up and dust myself off."

Vicker is now getting ready to run her seventh marathon -- and third New York City Marathon -- with a new goal in mind.

"I have two goals. One is to have my best NYC Marathon finish time, which would be under seven hours, but I would really like to finish at 6.5 hours," said Vicker.

Vicker is also hoping to raise money for others battling cancer through the American Cancer Society's DertermiNation Program.

"Our team has a goal of raising $1.2 million. We're already over a million dollars," said Vicker. "The money we raise goes to support cancer research. Now that I'm part of the cancer community, I'm just too aware of how many loved ones are lost to this disease."

No matter the outcome of the marathon, Vicker will always follow one motto.

"I live with gratitude," said Vicker.

The determiNation Endurance Series Vicker is participating in includes 75 events that typically raise over $7 million every year for cancer research.

DetermiNation Endurance Series

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