Smile Politely

A runner remembered: Joe Seeley

I cried on Sunday for someone I don’t know all that well, whom I’d met maybe once or twice. I was reminded that he had given me and my wife our first taste of homemade maple syrup. 

Joe Seeley, runner, blogger, soccer player and leukemia patient died on Saturday from the disease. I’m no expert on illness, but I know when someone has cancer of the blood, it’s never good.

Joe chronicled his 21-month battle in his blog.

Joe was a runner who, as many who know him will tell you, found the glass half full in any weather. My friend Jodi Heckel did a wonderful write-up in September about him here.

I first learned of Joe’s troubles early in 2011. Word got out through the local running listservs that he was sick, and yet I saw Jan Seeley, Joe’s wife and co-director of the Illinois Marathon, early one Saturday morning in January, preparing the Second Wind Running Club/Illinois Marathon training at Body n’ Sole. Cold runners were getting ready for their long run, and Jan was there. When she told me that Joe was sick, she got choked up. Life goes on, her eyes seemed to say.

Twenty-one months have passed since then with ups and downs that Joe has openly talked about. This week, Joe lost his battle.

Here was someone who was otherwise fit and in the prime of his life who died much too soon. He leaves behind a legacy in this community and many will miss him and remember his dedication.

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