CHICAGO - Anyone striving to cover 26.2 miles must be tough and clearly fit, but one runner in this year's Chicago Marathon thinks his key to success is that he's so stubborn.
"During the treatment, I was thinking, alright, first of all not going to die. I'm way too stubborn," said Angelo Ciardella.
Ciardella was diagnosed with head and neck/larynx cancer, stage four. He went through eight rounds of chemo, 35 rounds of radiation.
"I refused to die. I was not going to let this be the end. I just wasn't," said Ciardella.
He started running again a year ago by his home in Orlando and told his oncologists he had quite a goal.
He aimed to return to the city where he was born and run in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
"To show that I can beat cancer and also show people that the stage four cancer diagnosis is not a death sentence," said Ciardella.
During grueling treatment in the height of the pandemic, his oncologist says the attitude was key.
"You go in with a good attitude. And hope and determination. You really do better with the treatment, and you do much better with the recovery," said Dr. Michael Herman, Texas Oncology—Austin North Radiation Oncology and Round Rock.
When he's out on the course running, Ciardella says he'll be thinking of his family and friends who helped him survive. But he's doing this is for all the cancer patients out there.
"I'm running for the people that can't run and wish they could, or other people that you know, hadn't made it to the other side, being in remission like myself," said Ciardella.
"To them to know that they could be in their darkest moments at this time, but just a year or two later, they could be out running or walking and enjoying life as they used to," said Dr. Herman.
And when Ciardella runs through Chicago Sunday, he's counting on that stubborn streak once again.
"I might be crazy, but I'm also stubborn enough that I'm definitely going to finish the marathon on Sunday."