Cancer Survivor Runs Las Vegas Marathon to Inspire Others - 8 News NOW

Cancer Survivor Runs Las Vegas Marathon to Inspire Others

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In just under three weeks, you won't be able to drive down Las Vegas Boulevard. Instead of slow-moving traffic and mobile billboards, an estimated 25,000 runners will hit the Strip for the Las Vegas Marathon.

For one local runner, the marathon marks a yearly celebration of her life and a chance to shine a light on cancer.

Mary Dungan may not look the like the average runner. “I don't think I look like what people think of a marathoner. They think tall, skinny,” she said.

But the 53-year-old started training for marathons after her husband died. She was also diagnosed with breast cancer and started struggling with depression. “I wouldn't want to get out of bed in the morning -- just sit there and watch TV. Wouldn't want to talk to anyone. I didn't want to live,” she said.

But two years ago, Dungan went to a marathon -- just to watch. There she met a training group and got hooked. So after long days as a high school security officer, Dungan comes home, laces up, and starts running. “For a person who is overweight, you tend to have image problems and you tend to feel down about yourself but I look at this and I'm out there and I'm doing it and I'm helping others,” she said.

Dungan began raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and says she'll never forget meeting a mother whose 5-year-old daughter has cancer. “It was about mile 19 and I started fading and I thought of her. And I was still lost but I just kept thinking about her and how strong she was and how strong her child was. I kept thinking if she can get through that, I can get through this. I can stop. I can stretch a little bit,” she said.

It's that positive attitude about running and life Dungan hopes to pass on to her 24-year-old son, and everyone watching. “If I can do it, anybody can do it,” she said.

This will be her third time running in the Las Vegas Marathon. The marathon is on December 6, 2009 and Channel 8 News Now will have live coverage throughout the morning.

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