Health Team

Running helps breast cancer survivor focus on healthy living

Being aware of her body led Gena Lee Wright to discover breast cancer before it spread throughout her body. Running has helped to keep her healthy since.

Posted Updated

RALEIGH, N.C. — Gena Lee Wright has been running for six years, or for about the time she has survived breast cancer.

“Running gives me a sense of power,” she said. “I’m in control.”

In 2008, at age 39, Wright was conducting a self-breast exam when she found a lump.

“It was literally a touch from God,” she said. “It didn’t hurt, but I did notice that something was there.”

Her radiologist suspected it was fatty tissue. She had the lump removed and tested.

The lump turned out to be cancerous.

Wright had both of her breasts removed. Chemotherapy followed.

Her awareness and being proactive about her health caught the disease before it spread throughout her body.

Wright went on Tamoxifin to prevent recurrence, but suffered from depression, a side effect of the drug.

A friend who was also a breast cancer survivor on Tamoxifin suggested running.

“So literally that day, I went home, laced up. I’ve been running ever since,” she said.

Now off Tamoxifin, Wright runs twice a week with the group Black Girls Run. The organization promotes running to address obesity among African-American women.

The group's mission also fits into Wright’s ‘self-empowerment’ mindset.

“My message is survival,” she said. “If I can survive, you can survive.”



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