Cancer survivor completes marathon, returns overseas

RICHMOND, Va. (BP) -- Gena Wilson can personally attest to the power of prayer.

Last year, Wilson was featured for her ministry in Glasgow, Scotland, in the 2013 Week of Prayer for International Missions stories released by the International Mission Board. The story shared she was recovering in South Carolina from her second journey with cancer, a recurrence of the non-Hodgkin lymphoma she faced in 2011. See related story.

Today she is a two-time cancer survivor, back in Glasgow, and she says her vision for reaching the lost has never been clearer. This vision is something she credits to God's perfect timing, not cancer.

And how's her health? She walked the New York City marathon -- 26.2 miles -- in November.

Wilson said she thought it was a joke when she found out she had been chosen to participate in the marathon, representing cancer survivors. "Did my brother, Greg, put you up to this?" she joked with the woman from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

It was no joke. Wilson's story of God's grace through two journeys with cancer seemed to have touched more lives than she imagined, and she was chosen to bring awareness to the disease, raise money for its cure and walk the marathon.

On November 2, a cold and windy New York Sunday, Wilson walked the entire marathon. It took more than nine hours, but she was determined and relied on God's strength. Along the way, she took time to encourage other participants, thank police officers for their service and speak openly of Christ whenever she found someone who would listen.

Friends and family followed her progress through Facebook posts and sent encouraging words. The morning after the race, Wilson thanked everyone for their support and added, "God has been so, so gracious in my journey, long before cancer, but especially during it, along with leading up to the NYC marathon yesterday."

Now back overseas, Gena continues to live among those who are in desperate need of God. She says she is not afraid to get involved in the messiness of people's lives and she is not afraid of cancer's return. In life or in death, she acknowledges, God has already won the victory.

Marie Curtis is an editor and writer for IMB.
Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook ( and in your email (
Download Story