Spring Lake woman hopes to complete her 17th 25K River Bank Run, overcoming many hurdles

Spring Lake woman running 17th River Bank Run, despite odds

SPRING LAKE, MICH. - Saturday, May 13, is the 40th annual Fifth Third River Bank Run. Between 18 and 1,000 runners, hand cyclists and walkers are expected to take part. Each of them has a different reason for why they're doing it.

This will be Cindy Kikkert-Penning's 17th consecutive Fifth Third River Bank run 25K -- and she has overcome many obstacles to get here.

This year, having injured both of her feet, Cindy will complete the 15 and a half mile race on a knee scooter with her husband by her side.

Cindy was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer in February of 2012, and a brain tumor in December of 2013, -- but she didn't let those conditions stop her.

Through chemo, radiation and several surgeries, Cindy continued to put on her pink running shoes every day.

Before her illness, Cindy was a highly competitive 5K runner. "That part cancer has taken away, but for me to at least run the River Bank, it's just part of who I am that cancer can't take away from me," she explained.

"And I think that has helped her, not just to have a sense of normalcy but I think it's helped her physically," said her husband, Dr. Tim Penning. "It's helped her endure treatments, recover from surgeries, to have that mental goal, but just physically I think it's made her stronger, so I'm pretty proud of her."

Cindy tells us throughout her treatments, finishing the River Bank 25K was always a top priority.  She is nervous about this year's race, but is confident they will make it to the finish line.

We'll be cheering for you, Cindy!

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