News in Gastric Cancer

News from around the world, curated by the Gastric Cancer Foundation.

Going the Distance for a Cure

In November 2023, Ash Garcia Horn ran the Seattle Marathon. That, in itself, would be a story worth telling, but there is so much more. Ash ran this particular race only days after losing her father, Armando Garcia Correa, to gastric cancer. It was the fulfillment of a challenge she had undertaken with her dad’s encouragement. She was determined to see it through, and she wanted to make it count.

Throughout Armando’s cancer journey, their family used resources on the GCF website and became passionate about contributing to the search for a cure. She opted to transform her run into a fundraiser for the Gastric Cancer Foundation’s patient support and research initiatives.

She created a personal tribute page to honor her dad, share her grief, and enable friends and family to support her by donating to the cause. Each week, Ash posted updates on social media platforms, providing photos and stories to offer glimpses into her running journey. Her effort raised nearly $4,500.

As Ash wrote on her tribute page, “Every step I take during this marathon will be a tribute to my dad’s memory and a symbol of hope for those currently facing this challenging journey.”

In addition to honoring her father, Ash hopes that her effort will inspire others to think about what they might be able to do.

“You can really do anything that feels right for you,” she says. “You just have to focus on the love you have for the person that you are supporting in their diagnosis, try to raise money around it, and then hope that your effort will make it so the next person who goes through this will have a bit of an easier time.”

“Every step I take during this marathon will be a tribute to my dad’s memory and a symbol of hope for those currently facing this challenging journey.”

Armando Correa was diagnosed with Stage III gastric cancer in July 2019. After a full gastrectomy and chemotherapy treatments throughout most of 2020, he was deemed cancer-free until his disease reemerged in the Fall of 2021. This presented renewed challenges for the entire family, but Armando pressed forward.

Ash describes her dad as one of the “original hipsters of the Pacific Northwest”, with a passion for the outdoors, craft breweries, and long-distance running. Even throughout his treatment, Armando remained a dedicated runner. Remarkably, he was able to complete a half marathon in late 2021– two years into his cancer diagnosis and with a J tube.

Her dad’s perseverance inspired Ash to seriously embrace the sport of distance running for the first time. Starting in December 2022, Armando helped her develop a training plan and provided transportation support during her runs. After Ash accomplished her initial goal of running a 10k in June 2023, her father then encouraged her to reach even further and take on the challenge of running a full marathon.

“I remember him telling me, ‘If I can go through chemo, you can run a couple miles!’” Ash recalls. “In a lot of ways, training became my way of motivating my dad to continue on with his fight, as he was motivating me to simply put one foot in front of the other.”

Ash has continued to embrace her newfound passion for running. Looking ahead, her sights are set on a marathon in Mt. Fuji, Japan, scheduled for November 2024.

“My dad was such a big part of the start of my running journey, and now when I run, I feel like he’s with me in some way,”

Have an Idea?

Whether it’s a marathon, a tournament, a trivia night, or some other creative initiative, your efforts can raise awareness and make a meaningful impact. Learn more about the many ways you can support our efforts or contact us to brainstorm ideas and help you get started.