#IGiveBeyond: Dr. Christine Meyer started running to fight depression with four friends and now has a team of more than 2,000 patients and family members.
As a child, Christine Meyer, MD, didn’t run. She wasn’t a fan of any kind of exercise. That changed after the birth of her third child. She suffered from postpartum depression and, despite her many objections to running, she joined her husband during his morning jogs.
Meyer, an internist, met her husband, a pediatrician, on their first day of medical school. He loves to run and believed that running would help manage her depression. It did.
Her reluctance turned to enthusiasm and for a while she ran. However, raising three children with her husband and managing a successful medical practice meant more time at the office and at home. Running took a backseat to everything else.
Then in 2013, when three of her patients were battling cancer and her aunt who helped raise her was diagnosed with stage III-B colon cancer, Meyer fell into an emotional downward spiral. She remembered how much she enjoyed running. So, on January 1, 2013, her New Year resolution was to train and run the Philadelphia Blue Cross Broad Street Run.
Despite the cold and rising early to train for a 10-mile marathon, Meyer pushed herself. Once she passed the three-week mark of her daily training, she started looking forward to her morning runs. “It became a habit, a good one,” she said.
She now runs four days a week and does strength training on the days she’s not running. Often she is accompanied by patients and family members of cancer patients. She started with four friends and occasionally has up to 80 people running with her.
Thanks to the camaraderie and support from those who join her on her early morning runs, Meyer decided to form a nonprofit to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. That’s how Team CCMD (Christine Meyer Medical Doctor) began. “Within days of when CCMD was formed, we had grown to 46 members,” she said. “And within weeks we had exceeded our original goal of raising $2,000.”
After four months, CCMD raised more than $65,000. The money is raised by people who give donations directly through the CCMD website, by sponsoring runners, and by other fundraisers Meyer hosts throughout the year.
Some on her team walk, others cycle, and the rest show their support by serving as cheerleaders on the day of the big race. On May 7, Team CMMD will run its 5th annual Philadelphia Broad Street Run. “This year, not only will we cross the $1,000,000 raised for the American Cancer Society, but a portion of all money raised for the Broad Street Run will stay with Team CMMD Foundation to support our local cancer fighting families,” she said.
In addition to raising money and participating in the Broad Street Run, Meyer wrote, “The Longest Mile: A Doctor, A Food Fight, and the Footrace That Rallied a Community Against Cancer,” which shares the stories of cancer fighters, survivors, and their families and friends who joined together in this race. “It’s the story of non-athletes, some of who could barely run one block and who are now running marathons,” Meyer said. “A portion of the proceeds go to the American Cancer Society and to CMMD.”
Here is a personal story of one of the team members:
The “food fight” mentioned in the title of her book refers to a friendly cooking competition where participants prepare a five-course meal for 100 people who get to vote for the winner. The first year the “food fight” was held, Meyer raised $8,000. That was in 2013. This year’s event featured eight local prominent guest chefs. There were 200 guests, and Meyer expected to raise more than $100,000.
Team CMMD continues to grow and raise money to fight cancer. “We come from all walks of life and unite for a common cause,” Meyer said.
April 10, 2017
Janet O’Dell, RN