Iron-mom: LDS woman battling leukemia finishes Ironman Coeur d’Alene

Published: Monday, Aug. 12 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

“The cancer honestly wasn’t that big of a factor that day. Everything hurt, but not that,” Williamson laughed. “All things considered, it was a good day.”

With an hour left before the midnight cutoff, Williamson tackled those last few miles. Frasier even joined the race and ran alongside her for the final two.

“He talked to me, kept me sane,” she remembered.

The finish was an emotional one. Before she crossed that line with her final time of 16:30:12 (Troy finished in 15:22:57), her boys handed her a homemade sign that said “Iron-mom: Cancer, I Win.”

And in a way, she really did.

“I think I could have taken this (having cancer) and curled up in a ball and just cried for the rest of my life,” she said. “You can definitely decide to be down, and I’m not going to lie, I definitely was for those first few days after I found out. But you just need to take your challenges and trials and turn them into positive experiences. At least, that’s what I try.

"If I can do a marathon, anybody can. I hope that people can see that average, everyday people can do extraordinary things if they work hard enough."

Though she would be more than happy to be rid of the disease, she can’t deny the effect it has had on her and her home.

“Of course I would love a cure,” she said. “I pray every day, and there’s not a day that goes by where I don’t think about having cancer, but it has changed my life. I’m more patient. When my kids fight, I’m just grateful I get to be around to see it. There are things that are important, and there are things that are not. I would hope that even after they cure me, I’d still remember these lessons. It has put a better focus on my life."

She also says she has been able to see tender mercies despite her health, like when they were going through the process of adopting their youngest child four years ago.

"You have to pass a medical test and be totally healthy to be able to do it," Williamson explained. "Looking back, I know I had symptoms then before I was officially diagnosed. But I know my daughter needed to be in our family. The fact that I had a clean bill of health on paper was a miracle."

As of now, Williamson says she is still far from treatment.

“But ‘far’ means ‘not tomorrow,’ ” she said. “Obviously, I hope it’s years and years (before treatment), but I don’t live in a non-reality.”

Until then?

“I’ll keep signing up (for races) until a doctor tells me not to — but even then, I’ll probably still keep doing it.”

Kate Sullivan is an intern at the Deseret News with Features and Mormon Times. She is a student at Brigham Young University. Email: ksullivan@deseretnews.com

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