Running Boston to Honor My Wife: A Melanoma Survivor

Mar 22, 2024

Joe Wyrwa is a high school math teacher at St. John’s Prep in Danvers, MA. He is running the Boston Marathon, his first marathon, to raise money for IMPACT Melanoma to salute and honor his wife.

His journey to this moment has taken many twists and turns. It was his wife, Katie, who was the runner. Her family had a history of skin cancer and together with her cousin, Kristen, they ran the Boston Marathon and raised money to support IMPACT’s mission back in 2012.

In July of 2014, Joe and Katie were dating. Katie was a swimming coach at Northeastern and was away on a swim-team related trip when she noticed a small dot on her arm. She tried to remove it with no luck and decided she should have it checked by a dermatologist. She was operated on five days after the appointment, diagnosed with an aggressive form of melanoma. Her treatment included interferon for one year. Exhausted from the treatments, Katie would rest, and Joe would go to the gym to release energy by running on the treadmill.

When Joe describes his motivation to run the Boston Marathon, it centers completely on his wife. He does not describe himself as a runner. He does not seek to run other marathons anytime soon. His motivation is clear: he is running for Katie. He speaks about her genuine kindness, her conscious efforts to be thoughtful and celebrate other’s accomplishments, whether a new job or a new car. When reaching the milestone of turning forty, Joe thought about what he could give back to Katie in return for all her kindness and to honor her as a melanoma survivor. He decided he would run Boston and there was no doubt as to which organization he would run for:  IMPACT Melanoma.

Joe is enjoying the training and feeling strong. He particularly likes mapping out his longer runs throughout Amesbury, planning a stop where Katie and his two young boys can replenish his water supply, hand out some high fives and cheer him as he runs for home.

The twists and turns have been many. Katie ran Boston twice for IMPACT Melanoma years ago, and now Joe is part of Team IMPACT running to honor her. Joe and Katie first met each other outside Clarke’s in Faneuil Hall in Boston many years ago; and recently it was at Clarke‘s where they held a fundraising event to raise money as Joe celebrates Katie and supports IMPACT Melanoma’s mission.

Run like the wind Joe. May the wind be at your back as you make the turns along the route.

To support Joe as he runs for IMPACT Melanoma, click here.

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