The annual Virginia Run Turkey Trot raises money for Inova Hospital's Life with Cancer program and is always run in honor of someone from that community who's succumbed to the disease.
This year, sadly, it's dedicated to Lynda Gubin, who died March 24 of pancreatic cancer at age 55. She and her husband Ken lived in Virginia Run for 17 years. Son Brian, 19, is a sophomore at JMU, and daughter Suzanne, 22, is a law student at the University of Richmond.
"SHE WAS very devoted to her family and had a large circle of friends," said her husband. "The amazing thing was how many people's lives she touched."
The couple met at the U.S. Customs Service, where they both worked. She was a deputy comptroller. She also enjoyed playing mah jong and belonged to the Virginia Run Garden Club and the Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation in Reston.
"Her funeral was just packed with people who were moved by her and were friends with her," said Ken. Classmates from Jazzercise, staff from the Creative Cuts hair salon and "even people from Bella Nails, where she had her nails done, came."
"It was remarkable," he continued. "I didn't understand the depth of the connection she made with people until she was ill." He described his wife as "warm and loving," with a quiet personality, and someone who kept her friendships for life.
They were married 24 years, but pancreatic cancer drastically shortened their time together. And once diagnosed, Lynda went quickly. "She only lingered 2 1/2 months after the diagnosis," said her husband."
Now, said Ken, there's a large void in their family, affecting each one of them. "We already have a pandemic in this world — it's called cancer," he said. "We're just so used to it, but it hits everybody and every age group."
ACTUALLY, LYNDA had had breast cancer, five years earlier, but had recovered. Then, said her husband, "When she learned of people who developed breast cancer subsequent to her own, she reached out to them and helped other people who had it."
That's why he's pleased that this year's Turkey Trot is dedicated to her. "I thought this run — which is designed to help people and their families living with cancer — was a perfectly appropriate and wonderful gesture," he said.
The Gubin family will also be well-represented at the Thanksgiving day race. "Lynda's sister, brother-in-law and their two children will be there and, I think, Lynda's mother," said Ken. "My son and I will do the run, and my daughter will do the walk."