One Survivor to Another

Andy Martinez of ‘Team AndyTattoo’ may not be what you think of when you picture a community fundraiser. He’s lived through a lot, survived his own life you might say. But when Andy talks about being a part of the Honored Hero Run, you can hear in his voice that he is committed to the cause. He is excited to have found a new purpose, a way of giving meaning to so many events in his life that seem to have lead him here.

“Today I have a purpose. I am part of something that is bigger than me and I am determined to do what I can to help.”

a949c08179f3c78d47298abfd36ba00c_2pzt_dkg4Cancer has touched Andy’s life in many ways. It started in 1978 when his mother was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. In 2004 his dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Both his parents beat their cancers thankfully. Unfortunately, his encounters with cancers have continued, he has had two close friends die from their cancer and another survived. In 2010, Andy lost a friend named Bruce Fulcher to Leukemia.

That was the first year that Andy and his wife participated in the Honored Hero Run, to honor of their friend Bruce Fulcher. That was also the year he met Don Armstrong and first heard his story. Talking to Don inspired Andy: helped him realize that there was more he could do to really make a difference.

“I have survived fist fights, knife fights, even a gun fight, but cancer is a different kind of fight. I feel lucky in my life and I want to give back.”

Andy and his wife have been involved with the Honored Hero Run every year since 2010. Their goal has just been to do a little bit more each time.

The first year Andy’s wife Stacy ran the 20 miler while Andy and his sister Angel ran the half marathon. All three submitted a saliva sample to be included as prospective bone marrow donors. The next year, in addition to participating, they volunteered their time by helping with setup and directing traffic. In 2013 Andy started his own fundraising page and became a sponsor for the event. Several of his family members joined him and raced the 2013 event with him. This year they are planning to run the 20-miler and they have their own fundraising page and are official sponsors for the event again.

“Our goal is to recruit 3 or 4 of our friends to start their own pages as well.”

Andy says he knows that everyone can’t be as involved as he is, but he has found a cause that is personally meaningful and an event run by people who are dedicated: whose stories ring true to him. To anyone who is thinking about taking the extra step to fundraise for the Honored Hero Run, Andy’s advice –

“Be true to yourself…You can make a difference. Start by talking to the people you know and explain what your plans are…you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish!”

~Andy, AndyTattoo

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Every year we meet more amazing people willing to give their time and energy to help make our event a success.  And we know that there are many more passionate people who believe in our cause that we haven’t even met yet.  Whether they are living with cancer, or know someone who is, their stories are what motivate all of us.  These are just a few stories of many…if you know someone who is a community hero for the Honored Hero Run, share their story with us, we want to celebrate them too!

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