Fairfax Co. brain cancer survivor wins Ironman slot

JULY 19, 2012 UPDATE: BethAnn Telford won a spot in the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.

(Original story from Saturday, July 14, 2012 is below)

Kathy Stewart, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – Five months after BethAnn Telford was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2005 and underwent surgery, she ran the Marine Corps Marathon even though she was told she would probably never run again.

She’s also completed three Boston marathons, two Ironman competitions and kept working full-time at the United States Government Printing Office.

Now, the Fairfax County woman is focusing on her next challenge: winning a spot in the in Kona, Hawaii. But she needs community support to do it.

To get to Hawaii, Telford entered the Ironman Kona Inspired “Anything is Possible” video competition. She is now in the semi-finals, and needs votes to move on to the final phase. Voting continues through July 18. You can vote once every day until the July 18 deadline.

“It is my dream to compete at Kona,” she says in the video. “And I need to do it now. My cancer is not gone.”

The 43 year old says this is her last shot especially since her health is getting worse. Her brain tumor continues to grow and is now inoperable. But her motto is, “Never, never give up.”

She says this is not about her, “Hell no, and I’m going to repeat that.”

The Ironman competition is the world stage and she says her participation is about raising brain cancer awareness.

“I want to be the next Susan Komen, except alive,” Telford says. “And just get the word out there. That’s what Kona means to me.”

She wants to do this for people like her 6-year-old friend from her hometown of New Cumberland, Pa. who she calls her soul mate.

“She just graduated kindergarten,” Telford says. Her young friend also has an inoperable cancerous brain tumor.

Through Telford’s nonprofit fundraising organization “Team BT,” which is sponsored by Pacers running store, she raises money for the National Brain Tumor Society.

She does have one secret up her sleeve. When she’s having a tough time she glances at the inside of her wrist where she has the word “hope” tattooed, reminding her to keep going.

Watch Telford’s video:

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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