NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

March 17, 2011

Port alumna sets sights on Boston Marathon to fight leukemia

Cate Seely, 25, loved playing sports and always considered herself an athlete before graduating from Newburyport High in 2004. But she always hated physical education.

Why? She hated running. As she so bluntly states, "It was torture."

Like many of us, Seely thought her days of athletic competition were over when she left New England and pursued an education in Florida upon graduating. When she returned to the North Shore in 2008, Seely decided to give the annual Yankee Homecoming 5K a try. Needless to say, she survived.

What could inspire a person who hates running to tackle 5Ks and complete an 8-mile event last Christmas? Team in Training — an organization that raises funds for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

"I saw all of the runners in purple jerseys and wondered what it was all about," Seely recalled.

Seely's family has been struck by cancer throughout her lifetime. Her older cousin, Sean Seely, lost a three-year battle with cancer last September. Cate also lost an uncle, Mike Seely, to leukemia before she had a chance to meet him.

Seely is also close with a cancer survivor. Her boyfriend, Matt Massery, was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 2 and was in remission by age 5.

Life's experiences have inspired Seely to turn her attention to the most storied running event the Northeast has to offer, the Boston Marathon. Among the many reasons for her desire to run is the promise she made to her aunt and uncle prior to her cousin's passing.

"I made a promise to my aunt and uncle before Sean died that I would wear one of those purple jerseys and run the Marathon for him," she explained. "They kind of brushed me aside at the time, but three weeks after he passed, I applied to the team."

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