Surprise Race Held in Minneapolis for Brain Cancer Survivor

Updated: 11/19/2014 8:24 AM By: Beth McDonough

28,000 Minnesotans will be diagnosed with some kind of cancer each year.

One of those people was Aaron Purmort. He suffered a seizure, which was caused by a brain tumor.

Now, those who support Purmort are raising money to fight the disease, one step at a time.

Life is full of surprises. Especially for Purmort, "I'm surprised, excited, overwhelmed."

He wiped his eyes and was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support.

Relatives, friends, co-workers, even strangers showed up at the race along the river in Minneapolis Saturday. They honored all the strides Purmort, a lifelong runner, has made over the past two years, "in the face of adversity you find out who you're true friends are, it's really kind of overwhelming," says Jamey Erickson, a race organizer.

There is a prominent scar on his head, a testament to Purmort's struggle with brain cancer.  After two surgeries and countless chemo treatments, running was a distraction from that.

This year, Purmort had a goal of raising money to fight cancer by doing the Twin Cities Marathon. During training, doctors stopped him in his tracks, and said his body couldn't take much more. "I got discouraged when people were donating and I was told I couldn't run the marathon anymore, this is a good way to do it," said Purport. 

Erickson says that's why, "we decided to throw our own mini-marathon, the Purmathon."

Nora Purmort, Aaron's wife, helped organize the event too, "the race is exactly the distance the doctor said you could run 3.1 miles, I measured it myself."

The 5K is not about the distance. It's about those running alongside Aaron Purmort. 

So what's next?  "I'd like to get better and hopefully run a marathon someday, maybe next year, whatever the doctor says," said Purmort.

More than 200 runners took part, helping to raise $3,000.