Former 'Couch Potato' Runs Marathons to Fight Cancer

Jim Patton with his fiancée

Jim Patton, 42, calls 2010 “the year I got healthy.” An Indianapolis, Indiana-based consultant who is frequently on the road, Patton had put on a lot of extra weight over the years, thanks to a combination of inactivity and poor food choices. “I had definitely become a couch potato,” he says.

Then, in January 2010, after a doctor encouraged him to “lose a few pounds,” Patton decided the new year was the time to get in better shape. He started by making healthier food choices.

He also started running that winter.

And running.

From couch potato to marathoner

During the training, I thought about all of my friends and family who are battling -- or who have passed away from -- cancer, and I thought,'I'm tired, but I'm not going through chemo.'

Jim Patton

In March, he signed up to train for a half-marathon, the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. One thing led to another, and soon he was signed up for another half-marathon, the Geist.

Along the way, he learned about the American Cancer Society DetermiNation® program, a life-changing program that gives people of all athletic abilities the training, support, and inspiration they need to finish a marathon, half-marathon, or other endurance event, all while dedicating their race to save lives and raise money to end cancer.

“There are a lot of charity training programs out there. I decided to join the DetermiNation team because the American Cancer Society supports people with all types of cancer,” he says. “The programs are broad and all-encompassing, which is important to me because I know people who have been affected by different types of the disease.”

He raised money for the American Cancer Society while training for the Geist half-marathon and ran in memory of his paternal grandfather, who passed away from lung cancer when Patton was 12.

“During the training, I thought about all of my friends and family who are battling – or who have passed away from – cancer,” Patton says. “I thought, ‘I’m tired, but I’m not going through chemo.’”

This year, he’s signed up to run in honor of his fiancée, Jennifer, a 7-year breast cancer survivor. The couple plan to tie the knot this spring.

To learn more about the DetermiNation program and how you can change your life while saving lives, visit or call 1-800-227-2345.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Due to the impact of COVID-19 on American Cancer Society resources, we are no longer able to review new submissions for Stories of Hope.

American Cancer Society news stories are copyrighted material and are not intended to be used as press releases. For reprint requests, please see our Content Usage Policy.