Carrie Serber honors husband’s memory by ‘running for life’Written by Julie Rubini | | firstname.lastname@example.org
We often wish we could turn back the clock and spend time with someone we’ve loved that no longer lives amongst us. However, the best we can do is to cherish the memories of those we’ve lost, while maintaining the balance of moving forward with our lives and embracing those who remain with us.
Carrie Serber is reaching that point in her life, several years following the untimely death of her husband Ryan as a result of a brain tumor.
The first time she met Ryan was at Doc Watson’s, while she was on a girl’s night out and he was out with his co-workers. She wasn’t initially interested, yet, as was his nature, once Ryan set a goal for himself, there was no stopping him. They met in February 2001. They were married in October 2005.
“I was definitely drawn to him. He was extremely handsome, and he was confident and one of those terrific people that you could introduce to anybody and he could easily carry on a conversation with anyone. Being a journalist, that was one of his many talents. Also, his sensitivity, his thoughtfulness and perception of other people [were] attractive to me,” Carrie shared.
Ryan moved to Toledo as news anchor for WUPW FOX Toledo, after serving stints in Bristol, Wichita Falls, Austin and then Orlando.
He took an interest in running a year before meeting Carrie, determining his ultimate goal would be running the 2001 Chicago Marathon. After successfully completing the 26.2 mile run, he went on to tackle the Toledo and Columbus long distance races before being diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2003. After the cancerous growth was removed, Ryan battled the disease with the same vengeance he took on the marathon training, enduring rounds of chemotherapy, radiation and, ultimately, a stem cell transplant.
He began training for the Chicago 2004 Marathon soon after the surgery, which he completed just 10 months after his last treatment. His running shirt read, “Ryan beat cancer in ‘03, Chicago Marathon in ‘04.” He was encouraged by fellow runners along the way, as he inspired others.
“He was really upset that he was not in control of his body, so he was doing everything he could to top it, to reverse it,” Carrie said.
Six months later the cancer returned, and despite his upbeat attitude, and the firm belief that he was going to beat the disease, he died on Jan. 9, 2006. He was 37 years old.
At his memorial services, Mayor Carty Finkbeiner suggested the community needed to remember and honor him. It didn’t take long to determine that establishing a race in his honor was the solution.
Sept. 20 will mark the fourth annual Ryan Serber 8K Classic, an unusual distance, in reference to Ryan’s desire to push himself beyond his limits and to encourage others to do so as well. The race, organized by the Toledo Roadrunners Club, along with Ryan’s friends and family, attracts more than 250 runners inspired by his incredible, unforgettable spirit.
“I just wanted to thank you in more ways than you can imagine. It’s your smile, your confidence, your sense of humor, your trust and the help that you do when I can’t do it. It’s been a tough few weeks, but after last year, we can do anything. This will make a good chapter in my book. I’m just glad you’re by my side and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you so much.”
Carrie has this love note to hold on to, and her eyes swelled with tears as the sentiment was shared.
“It’s [with] mixed emotions when we start planning the race. It’s tough sometimes to open up and revisit everything. It’s much easier just to go on every day. Yet, at the same time, it’s good. It’s good to share his life with people that knew him and those that didn’t know him. As time goes on you meet new friends and get to tell people about him.”
Carrie’s last marathon was a tribute run to Ryan at the 2006 Chicago Marathon, accompanied by his sister Loren, and her sister Erica, along with 15 other friends. However, she continues to run, and left soon after the interview to participate in a team 200-mile race, running in shifts within a 24 hour period.
She’ll be running with memories of Ryan in her heart and running to whatever life brings her way.
Ryan would be proud.
On the Web: visit www.ryanserber.blogspot.com and click on links for more information.