Bozeman woman faces cancer with inspiring year of running half-marathons

Posted at 4:00 PM, Dec 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-17 19:03:54-05

BOZEMAN, Mont. – A cancer diagnosis can be devastating, but one Bozeman woman used physical fitness to carry her through some dark times and inspire others.

Most days you’ll find Jenny Whitaker working out at Ridge Athletic Club. The health-conscious mother of four received news of an aggressive form of breast cancer two years ago.

After a year of treatment and a double mastectomy, the physically-fit Whitaker found herself in a fearful state of mind.

“I was framing every decision I made on whether or not I was going to make it and if the cancer was going to come back, so I just needed to set a really lofty goal,” she said.

The goal? To run a half-marathon every month for an entire year. She just completed her last race—number 12—last weekend.

“I just put together a 13.1 mile course leaving my house. I had people join me for that, including my husband, and we just made it a fun end-of-year celebration,” Whitaker said.

Whitaker says it wasn’t just her family that helped carry her through this difficult season; it was the sense of community she found at the gym.

“Just having that support and having so many cheerleaders tell me I was an inspiration to them to get moving, it was just nice to be able to share the love a little bit,” said Whitaker.

“Everything about her story has motivated me. I think when you’re faced with something like Jenny has been faced with, you find an inner strength that’s contagious to everyone around you. I think through working out and fitness she has been able to find a way to deal with everything she’s been going through,” said Morgan Stuart, Whitaker’s friend and workout partner.

Whitaker says she is now pursuing a group fitness instructor certification and is happy to report her cancer is in remission.

Story by Patrice Parks, MTN News