Mike Marando: A poignant anniversary

When Mike Marando heads to Yankee Stadium on August 3, it won’t be to see his favorite baseball team. It will be to run for a cause – and celebrate an important anniversary.

August 3, 2014, will mark a year and a day since the 25-year-old was deemed cancer-free after undergoing surgery to remove a testicular tumor. The diagnosis triggered a rollercoaster of emotions, he says, and the experience has made him into a stronger, healthier person.

He took up running in the aftermath of the surgery and began participating in long distance runs, taking part in his first 10K earlier this year. He’s signed up for his first New York City Marathon this November.

But first, August 3 represents an important step forward for him. The Bay Ridge resident will be participating in the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation’s sixth annual Runyon 5K.

“Last year, a friend whose relative was afflicted with breast cancer wanted me to do it with her but I was busy. Then a few weeks later I was diagnosed with testicular cancer,” says Marando, who was born and raised in Commack, Long Island. “When you find out, it’s depressing; you are scared. To me, it was a challenge in my life that I knew I had to overcome.”

Marando had surgery in July 2013, and was declared cancer-free in early August.

A special education math teacher at the Charles O. Dewey Middle School (M.S. 136) in Sunset Park, he serves as the school’s advisory to the National Honor Society. “I let these young adults know about the importance of fundraising and donating to charities. That’s my mission in life, to help others. That’s why I became a teacher, so I can help kids,” he says.

And that’s why he’s stepped up to the plate this summer. He’s formed a seven-member team – the Pirates of the Cureibbean – and will be running the 5K with his girlfriend and members of both of their families (including his brother and sister – the three are triplets).

“There are always ways in which you can overcome challenges,” he says. “I now love running and since it’s going to be a one-year anniversary of being cancer-free, it is a great opportunity to help fight cancer and to do something I love.”

An added bonus is the venue in which he will mark the occasion.

“I am a diehard Yankees fan,” he says. “The only place I would have a difficult time doing this would be in Boston!”

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