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Westford Woman Battles Lupus While Training for Boston Marathon

39 year old Westford resident Sarah Jane Constantine has overcome lupus to achieve her dream of running in the Boston Marathon this spring.

Thousands of people come from across the world in hopes of winning the prestigious Boston Marathon, but for one local woman, the very fact that she has survived to enter it is a victory in itself.

39 year old Westford resident Sarah Jane Constantine has had a lifelong dream of running in the Boston Marathon, and it appears that she will get her wish just before turning 40 in May.

However, that fact seemed nearly impossible as recently as last year due to a sudden diagnosis of Lupus, an auto immune deficiency disorder that causes the body to accidentally attack its own tissue.

Constantine, who saw her father die at the age of 46 from Melanoma, battled back from the worst of the illness, going from not being able to walk without a cane to marathon level fitness in just over a year. In fact, she believes that the training is actually the easiest part of living with Lupus.

“I think every day I have pains in my joints and people why in the heck I’m running, but for me it’s very therapeutic. The disease is up in the joints, but when I run it gets broken up,” said Constantine. “For me, (training) is the best time of the day because that’s when I don’t really have any pain in my joints.  Running doesn’t affect me, but things like having dinner with my friends or sitting for a long time can be excruciatingly painful.”

Although the training helps her joints, at times the disease also saps her energy, making it difficult to gather the energy to begin her daily training regimen, which ranges from running to swimming.

On those days, she finds help from her husband and college sweetheart Steve, as well as her dyslexic daughter Angela.

“Me and Angela have done several 5Ks together, she’s on the cross country team at the Carroll School, but I think her biggest role in the training is the moral support,” said Constantine. “She realizes that this is something I really need to do and she’s accepted the huge time commitment in stride, being supportive and understanding.”

Angela has also helped her mother with donations for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society team’s run in the 2012 Boston Marathon, joining the team for their renowned training assistance and their goal of raising money to battle illnesses such as cancer and the Melanoma that took her father’s life.

Although training in the middle of winter through the hills of Westford have been challenging, Constantine believes that raising money for the event through her friends and co-workers at Biogen Idec in Weston has been perhaps the most difficult part of this experience.

“I completely underestimated this whole thing. I’ve never had to raise this money much before, I didn’t understand what it took,” she said in regards to meeting the $4,000 minimum fundraiser requirement set by the Boston Athletic Association to enter the marathon.  “I reached my goal, and now I could stop, but what was once a little run for my own personal goals has been transformed into something I can do to give cancer patients hope.”

More information on how to donate to Constantine’s run in the Marathon is available on the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society website.

Cassidy December 16, 2011 at 04:39 PM
What an inspiration! Go for it Sarah Jane!
SarahJane Constantine December 16, 2011 at 07:10 PM
Thanks Cassidy. I hope my run will inspire others to live their dreams. Together we are in a race to find a cure for cancer so others have the opportunity to live their dreams as well.

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