SEE ALSO: Before and After and More photos
STORY: Jeannette Quirk
PHOTOGRAPHY: Jeannette Quirk, Scott Bennett

I Will Run Again

It's one of those days where the sun seems to be trying extra hard to fry the shirt of your back. It's bright, it's hot and there is this little sporadic breeze bent on teasing my fellow TransWeb webcast team member and me as we hike down to TD Waterhouse Stadium. By the time we get there we are soaked in sweat and I don't think we walked much more than a mile. Most everyone else in the venue has just finished running either a 3K or a 5K race and I have no idea why they haven't already melted into multi-cultural puddles of sweat. They are holding up much better than we are.

We get down to the field before the official results have been announced so people are milling about, chatting and laughing and waiting. One person I talked to tells me that he thinks he took third. Another one knows he didn't place but he is still happy to have run. They are all anticipating the medal ceremony with palpable excitement, most of all Michael Hoyland-Young and his younger brother Steve Hoyland. Today, their sister Susan took the mini-marathon gold in her age division.

Susan Harrison of Team Canada would have been hard-pressed to do more than walk four years ago. She was diagnosed with Primary Biliary Cirrhosis ("PBC"), which slowly attacked her liver until she ended up in the hospital, dying as she was losing her entire blood volume. Miraculously, that same night someone died and his organs were donated. His liver was an exact match for Susan. Still, Susan was in critical condition and her brother recalls, "They told us not to start celebrating yet."

They are celebrating now.

As I talk to Susan, her brother Michael comes up to us with a camcorder, taping our interview. He's taping everything about this event but he also takes time to talk to me about his sister. He tells me about the miracle of the eleventh-hour donor and he makes sure I know how brave and determined his sister is. I can see in his eyes and in the way he talks about his sister that he is bursting with pride. Susan too is proud. She is proud to have taken the gold when a day earlier she wasn't sure she could, but more than that she is thankful. She tells me that she is doing this for the donors. "It's a way of saying 'Thank you' to the families because you don't get to thank the donor."

At this point, the officials are gathering all the medal winners and getting ready to proceed down the field to the ceremony site. Michael is at hand with his camcorder busily whirring through tape, while the younger brother Steve positions himself to get pictures with a still camera. It's still hot and the sun is still trying to burn the shirts off our backs but nobody seems to be paying it any mind. One by one, the medal winners are announced to a cheering crowd and as Susan takes her place, she proudly holds her medal high with a cry of "Yay Donors!"

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Last updated on: Friday, 05-Feb-2010 10:11:56 EST