Cait Massone is a 37 year old neurologist who was born and raised in Blairstown, New Jersey, near the Delaware water gap. “It’s a very small town—more cows than the traffic lights.” She works at Jefferson Healthcare in Washington Township, New Jersey. Massone’s connection to Legacy came through her husband, Rich, who worked with Mike [Rowe] in the ER at Jefferson. “My husband and I like athletic endeavors; so that’s how we got involved. It was like, ‘Let’s run the Love Run for Legacy of Hope.’”
Massone has an impressive running résumé, including six marathons, multiple ultras and half marathons. She started running in her mid 20s, but it wasn’t just for fitness. “I struggled with an eating disorder for 14 years. Part of my way out was through running. I started with short distance runs and subsequently built my way up to half marathons, full marathons; and now I do trail ultra-marathons. For me, it’s very meditative and gives me a sense of inner peace. That’s helped me a lot on my journey towards being healthy. Being outside, in nature, breathing fresh air while I’m doing something good for my body. That inspires me.”
“I have two words that I’ll tell myself during races as a way to keep me going: powerful and perseverance. That’s just how I feel about my body and the journey I’ve been through with running. And whenever I think of those words, it helps keep me going.”
While Massone has had friends and family who have dealt with cancer diagnoses, Legacy of Hope’s mission resonates with her for a slightly different reason. “My family struggled with poverty when we were younger. My mom was a single mother with three kids and no income. That alone—without a cancer diagnosis—was so tough. Fortunately, she didn’t have a cancer diagnosis, but I can relate to the struggle, not having food in the cupboard; I empathize with what they’re going through. I’ve donated to Legacy of Hope on occasions where there’s one individual they highlight who needs a heater or something to help them get through the winter. To me that’s really somewhere I feel like I can help—something I wish I could have done for my mom when I was 16. But now I have the means to do it [for others].”
Massone gravitated to medicine after doing “a lot of undergraduate research in science. They always wanted people to become like bench scientists, but I wasn’t really cut out for that. I thought: How can I do this but actually help people more directly? And I think it was the combination of those things that brought me towards medicine. I didn’t have anyone in the family that was in medicine. I just kind of took the initiative.” She did, and Massone was the first in her nuclear family to get through college. “But they all turned out alright. After I finished med school, they all went back and got advanced degrees, including my mom who now has a master’s in psychology and does social work. We did alright.”
For Massone, medicine was a great choice. “What I do for my job—helping to treat stroke patients—definitely feeds my soul. But lately, I’ve also gotten really into artistic endeavors, doing more art—watercolor painting, reading. I find my brain is turning towards all of these artistic things, which I never did in all the time I was in training.”
Perhaps the most significant artistic endeavor Massone has undertaken is that she’s started writing a memoir, which she hopes to publish by the end of 2024. “It’s partly about my journey from having an eating disorder to becoming an endurance athlete. Thinking more about my journey because I am writing about it is pretty crazy. I think back on things that didn’t seem important at the time, and reality they’re really huge stepping stones.”
Cait will be running the Philadelphia Love Run Half Marathon as a Legacy of Sponsored Athlete this Sunday, Mar 26, 2023. Please support Cait’s fundraising as she crushes the 13.1 mile course. It’s too late to register for the Love Run, BUT if you’re already registered to run either the half marathon or the 7.6k, you can have your registration fee waived by completing this form. Here’s how it works. You fill out the form and will then receive a Legacy of Hope fundraising page. You have until April 30th to raise $250, at which point your registration fee will be refunded.