Skip to main content

NFE Spotlight: From Half Marathon to Virtual 5K

By March 9, 2020February 5th, 2024NF Endurance, NF2-SWN, Story of NF

McKinnon Galloway, who lives with neurofibromatosis type 2, was the Children’s Tumor Foundation National Ambassador in 2019. Earlier this year, she signed up with the NF Endurance team to train, fundraise, and run the NYC Half Marathon. Following the advice of her doctor after a medical test revealed a complication, McKinnon decided instead to run a “Virtual 5K” instead of the 13.2 miles. Here, she writes about her choice to protect her health, while also honoring her desire and motivation to pound the pavement. 


Hi, I’m McKinnon Galloway and I have NF2. I was the 2019 National Ambassador for CTF, and this year I decided to take on a new challenge: to run the 2020 NYC Half Marathon with NF Endurance.

I’ve always wanted to run a half marathon, but I never had the drive to push myself to train for one, because it wasn’t “for anything.” And let’s be honest, I’m not a natural runner! I complain about walking to the subway stop (which is four houses down)! But when I saw this opportunity, it gave me the willpower to finally take on this challenge and check it off the bucket list.

I started training in January, and got my fundraising off to a great start. I am so grateful for my community that supported me with encouraging words and financial support on the way to my goal of $1,310 ($100 for every race mile!).

But for those of you who know about NF, I’m sure you understand that my life is constantly molded by doctor’s appointments and the news that comes with them. At the end of February, I went in for an Avastin treatment and got news that my kidneys were leaking protein like they never have before. I had to take a moment, step back, and reassess everything and how I was going to move forward: my work, my diet, my habits, my routines, and my stress. One particular part I had to reexamine was my goal of completing the NYC Half Marathon on March 15th.

After much consideration, I decided to eliminate all mental and physical stress, to give my body the best shot at recovering fully so that I can continue on Avastin, and unfortunately that included running the half marathon. I felt defeated, like NF had won. I feel like I go through these moments in life that I don’t want to be defined by NF, but it’s hard sometimes to not feel that way.

With the half marathon, one thing in particular that was important to me was my platform. I had decided to run in honor of those who had lost their lives to NF and out of respect for their families. I knew I couldn’t run the 13.1 mile distance, but I also didn’t want to let my platform go as it meant so much to me.

When I approached CTF that I would not be participating in the half marathon, I found out that there were other options. I have decided to take the other option and run in the virtual 5k. This allowed me to uphold my platform and feel like I am still completing the challenge I signed up for, acknowledging those who have supported, tribute to those who have lost their life to NF and honoring those who continue to fight.

Physically, I am deferring my bib to next year, after I have healed and can complete my goal with pristine health.

I will be running the 5k at the kickoff of the marathon. I encourage those who cannot complete a full half marathon to join me to run/walk this virtual race with me. I feel grateful for this new option as it gives me a chance to participate and run for a cause that I so dearly hold so close to my heart.

To those who have trained so hard for the half marathon, I wish you all the best luck and thank you for your support to End NF. You got this!

I will see you virtually at the starting line.

Signing off,