Team T.E.A.L.: Running the TCS NYC Marathon for a cause

PROSPECT PARK, Brooklyn (WABC) -- If running is all about resolve, then what better way to honor the resolve of those battling cancer than to run a marathon?

It's a question that Evan Smith and Grace Baecher had no trouble answering this year, when they decided to run the TCS New York City Marathon with a team: the T.E.A.L. team. T.E.A.L. stands for "Tell Every Amazing Lady" about ovarian cancer.

"This is our first time being in the marathon, and we've actually been trying for many years," said T.E.A.L. co-founder Pamela Esposito-Amery. "It's a great opportunity to raise awareness about this disease that just doesn't get enough attention."

T.E.A.L. is a Brooklyn-based group. It organizes a 5K run and a walk every year in Prospect Park.

The group caught Evan Smith's eye because he is doing his fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering for GYN oncology, and he sees the struggle firsthand.

"I think one of the biggest issues with ovarian cancer is we don't have a screening tool just yet," he said. "We don't have any screening tool that's really validated to work."

As a result, many patients are diagnosed too late.

Grace Baecher lost her aunt to the disease. She's running the marathon to raise awareness as well.

"I think to have that sort of cause in your mind, this is why I'm pushing myself," she said. "You're doing it for x, y, z cause or for this person that you care about in your life. I think for me, that just adds to the excitement and joy of doing it."

It also helps raise more money, with each team member committing $2500.

Team T.E.A.L. hopes to raise at least $12,500. And with that comes the chance that others will hear about their cause, because the marathon is so well-publicized.

But most of all it's a way to make the marathon that much more meaningful, to "get through loss, or help another survivor fight," said Esposito-Amery. "Some of them are running for someone who's battling it right now."

"This race, it's tough. And a marathon is tough," said Evan. "But it's nothing compared to the challenges that these ovarian cancer patients and survivors face each day."

Team T.E.A.L. is proof that a marathon CAN be life-changing - and help us all re-define what it means to do our "personal best."

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