FARGO — Fargo-Moorhead is just two weeks away from welcoming thousands to town for the Fargo Marathon, and for one local couple the difficult process of training for the race has been a healing one.
After finishing cancer treatments, a Fargo emergency room nurse and mother of two is training with her husband — who is also an ER nurse — to run a half-marathon.
Nicole and Nathan Parrett promised each other one thing: both will start and finish the race together on Marathon Day.
Training is a family event. The couple's 3-year-old daughter Norah and 1-year-old son Nolan go along for the ride.
But preparing for the half-marathon was not even close to being on their minds a few months ago.
"I don't like running, to be honest with you, not my thing," Nathan explained.
At the end of 2017, Nicole was seven months pregnant and working in the Sanford Medical Center emergency room when she became short of breath.
Doctors ran a few tests, and they came back with a jaw-dropping result.
"I was sitting there, waiting for the doctor thinking: 'I need to get back to work.' And he came in and said, 'we think it is Hodgkin's lymphoma,' " Nicole said.
Nicole went through surgery and chemotherapy with lots of support from fellow nurses and medical staff who work with her and her husband at the hospital.
"We deal with cancer patients every day and never thought this would happen to me, ever," Nicole said.
Now on the other side of treatment, the couple has a new view on life. Neither makes running a daily habit, but their decision to enter the half-marathon has nothing to do with running.
"Being late to an appointment, or rough day at work, it puts things in perspective, it has been a positive experience in that way . . . we have both grown up a lot," Nathan said.
For the couple it's about finishing the race. While the cancer battle was Nicole's, it was a family journey and now they celebrate how it changed them.
"Before, I would be driving in traffic and a car would cut me off, I would get so mad at them,' " Nicole said. "Now I am like: go ahead cut me off, I don't even care . . . I have bigger fish to fry. You just know what matters in life."