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Meet Bonnie Hooker, Cancer Surviver, Komen 5K Winner

This woman can probably outrun (and out-cycle and out-swim) you.
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Bonnie Hooker, the winner of the Komen 5k and a cancer survivor.

At something called the Sideyard Shindig over the weekend, I met a woman named Bonnie Hooker. When she learned what I did for a living, Bonnie said, “You should put me in D Magazine!” This happens not infrequently. I’ve gotten pretty good over the years at smiling and redirecting the conversation so that I don’t have to explain to people why they are not going to appear in D Magazine. I was about midway through my redirection routine, when Bonnie said, “No, really! You know the Komen race? I won it this morning. I won the surviver division. I had a double mastectomy!” Whereupon Bonnie raised her arms and commanded, “Look at them, Tim! I’m an inspiration!” Bonnie is a live wire, is what I’m trying to say. So, yeah, I figured she deserved to be in D Magazine. Or on it. Here’s a Q&A I did with her over Gchat:

TIM: Hi, Bonnie! Congrats again on your big win over the weekend.

BONNIE: Thanks. I should have given a speech. I thought of being a motivational speaker. I may need to write a book first.

TIM: Slow down, Bonnie. I don’t think they let runners give speeches, but I’m sure yours would have been a good one. Is this your first win? You told me you run marathons. Ever win one of those?

BONNIE: Nope. I don’t run that fast. There are too many professional runners. I just run for fun — yet competitively.

TIM: What’s your best marathon time?

BONNIE: 3:48. I qualified and ran Boston. I’ve run most of the major races. NY, Chicago, etc.

TIM: Nice. And now you’ve gotten into triathlon, too?

BONNIE: Yes, started tri this year. I rode 30 miles yesterday but couldn’t get the swimming down.

TIM: OK, tell me about the cancer. When were you diagnosed? How long have you been cancer free?

BONNIE: Here is the story. I found out from my first mammogram, when I turned 40. I had a lumpectomy and radiation just after I completed the Boston Marathon. I finished my treatment in the U.S., then moved to Canada for my ex-husband’s job. He was in finance and got laid off with the 2008 financial crisis. Anyway, I was in Canada for two years, and then we moved to Dallas. I was clean those times. Then it came back. That was early 2015. That’s when I decided to have the double mastectomy.

TIM: Just the safest option, right?

BONNIE: I didn’t have any choices really, at least not on the one breast. The only question was should I do double? I was lucky that I didn’t need chemo. I am living proof of early detection!

TIM: For sure.

BONNIE: The cancer actually has spread but not enough to do chemo. So I take a drug called tamoxifen.

TIM: OH, man, you did a pump fake on me there. So you are NOT cancer free? You’re still battling it?

BONNIE: I guess you can say that.

TIM: I just said it.

BONNIE: I don’t think I will ever be totally free. But I live like I am free. I think a message I want to pass along is: don’t delay any chance of early detection, as that gives you the better chance to fight it. To all the survivors, fighters, those who have lost a loved one: we can continue, and we will move forward. I am working to run as fast as I could before my diagnosis, and I am getting close.

TIM: OK, let’s move on to your name. How often do you get laughs when you tell people your name?

BONNIE: Often. But I have decided to keep Hooker, which is my married name, for my boys. I have two. They are 12 and 14.

TIM: I can tell that your accent isn’t from Texas. Where’s it from?

BONNIE: I grew up in Hong Kong, came to TX in 1989, then lived in many cities in the U.S., from NJ, to FL, to Washington, DC, to CA and Canada. So it is mixed, but I try to keep my British accent.

TIM: British? LOL. Where’s the best Chinese food in Dallas?

BONNIE: Kirin Court in Richardson.

TIM: Got it. And you told me that you sometimes cycle around White Rock. So do I. I will try to stay out of your way, Bonnie. Don’t run me over.

BONNIE: Let’s go ride together sometime.

TIM: I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able keep up.

BONNIE: Oh, come on. Let’s do it before it gets too cold. I will meet you at the lake, or you can come run with me.

TIM: I’ll tell you what: the Dallas Bike Ride is this weekend. It’s not too late to sign up. It’s only 20 miles. Easy for you.

BONNIE: I got to go. If you need anything else, ping me. I have school. I am doing my executive MBA.

TIM: Will do. Take care, Bonnie.

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