“I Run With My Heart”: Conquering Cancer 26.2 Miles at a Time
PCF’s very own Ramiro Siliezar turns his love of running into research dollars
When Ramiro Siliezar was growing up in his hometown of Antiguo Cuscatlan, El Salvador, about 45 miles away from the capital of San Salvador, he and his friend, Samuel, used to run three times a week to the local lagoon. The run was approximately 16 kilometers (about 10 miles) there and back, and it was during this time in his life that he discovered his natural talent and love for running long distances. Although not interested in academics while in school, his two coaches – a futbol (soccer) coach and a running coach – helped focus his interest in sports and physical activity. “Running is what I love to do. I run with my heart,” he said. “I would run no matter what, but running for an important cause gives me energy and motivation and adds meaning to each mile.”
In 1987, Ramiro moved to the U.S. at the tender age of 21 and he first got connected with the Prostate Cancer Foundation through the Milken Institute when he joined Execpro, the property management company for the office building where both organizations are located. A friend asked him to participate in a 5K run in Anaheim at Angels Stadium for Mike’s Math Club, and he took the chance. He received his first medal for this run, finishing first among a large field of competitors. Soon after, a friend asked him if he would run in support of the Prostate Cancer Foundation and his answer was “Why not?”
But Ramiro does much more than running… he is also a star fundraiser. While preparing for his first marathon in support of PCF, Ramiro learned that fundraising is a great way to get more people involved and interested in his running. In just his first few weeks, Ramiro raised over $10,000 in donations for PCF. The following year he ran twice, and raised nearly $20,000. His secret? Never be afraid to share your story and to invite people to join you in supporting an important cause. “Don’t be shy, and never miss an opportunity to ask someone for support!” Ramiro even created his own flyer with his fundraising link, and he always keeps a few copies in his pocket. He says his runs for PCF are a blessing and when campaigning for donations, he asks everyone he meets. “I have my tool [the flyers], I just need illumination.” He also attributes his great success with donations to his relationship with God.
Ramiro runs for PCF through its grassroots fundraising community, Many vs Cancer. He has also used social media like Facebook and Instagram to update his friends, family, and many supporters during his training process. “I keep updating people on my progress and my training and this helps remind them to donate again and again.” He posts frequently, including all of his morning runs, which can begin at 4 a.m. some mornings.
Overall, Ramiro has raised over $83,000 for PCF-funded research, run 12 full marathons and too many half marathons and 10Ks to count. Last year, he ran in Mexico City which was a different experience for him due to the high altitude. He says it feels as though you’re slow and tired in the beginning of the race, but after about two miles everything starts to open up.
For 2019, he’s going to run a half marathon in Pasadena at the Rose Bowl, another half marathon in February, the Los Angeles Marathon on March 24th (from Dodgers Stadium to Santa Monica) and then back to back marathons in May (in both Vancouver, and Ventura, CA). His goal this year is to qualify for the Boston Marathon and to exceed $100,000 in funds raised for PCF.
Ramiro’s biggest inspiration for running is his twin sister who was diagnosed with breast cancer and who moved to the U.S. a year after he did. Prior to her diagnosis, there were no known members of his family with cancer. Now, with a family connection to cancer, Ramiro gets his PSA level tested every year and he tells everyone to see their doctor regularly. “Take care of your body, and it will take care of you. I am an old man, but I still run like a young one!” He also has a few tips for those who want to do more. “Join Many vs Cancer and start fundraising in a way that is fun for you. If you want to run like me, run. If you prefer to cycle, go for it! Whatever you love, do it for a good cause. Create a flyer that you can hand out to others and never be afraid or too shy to ask for people to donate. You’re not asking for money or a handout, you’re asking for others to join you in funding a cure for prostate cancer.”
Thank you, Ramiro for all you the hard work you have done and continue to do to help PCF fund research for a cure for prostate cancer. In the past few years, PCF has discovered that its goal to end prostate cancer will also address many other forms of human cancers. PCF’s influence in treatment and funding currently overlaps with 67 other forms of cancer, including breast and ovarian cancers and the top three forms of pediatric cancers. To see Ramiro’s track record and to join in on supporting our research mission, please visit Ramiro’s Page.