Inspired Together: A cancer survivor’s journey from patient to marathon runner

April 26, 2017

If someone had told Tim Harner a year ago that he would run in the Boston Marathon this month, he likely would have laughed – or cried— because the No. 1 item on his bucket list seemed so unattainable.

"Cancer was the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It woke me up to so many things in life. I wasted so much time worrying about petty, stupid stuff. So many people are hamsters on a wheel. Jump off and enjoy life.”

-- Tim Harner, cancer survivor

Yet on April 17, he crossed the finish line of one of the nation’s top races, living the message that he wants to give other cancer survivors: “Never give up hope. Live life; don’t let life live you.”

Harner, a lifelong runner, was just 29 years old when he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow that progresses rapidly. His diagnosis in November 2015 began a journey that would challenge his resolve to live but ultimately transform his life.

“Nothing will beat this feeling. I am in the best shape of my life mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. And most of all, now I can give other people hope,” the Tower City resident declared a day after finishing the 2017 Boston Marathon. “Cancer was the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It woke me up to so many things in life. I wasted so much time worrying about petty, stupid stuff. So many people are hamsters on a wheel. Jump off and enjoy life.”

Inspiration from someone who has been through adversity – literally right up against the point of death – rings true: Harner has hope, and that’s why he shares his story.

Read more of Harner’s story in this Penn State Medicine article.

  • Tim Harner stands at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, which is marked on the street. He looks upward with his right hand raised to the sky.

    Tim Harner

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated April 26, 2017