It’s just past dawn on a Sunday morning in Lake Nona, and Edly Vliet is working on mile six of her training regimen for the NYC Marathon. As the sun starts to peak over the horizon, the temperature and humidity are conspiring to remind her why she spent the last few months training with an eye toward November in New York.
Edly lost her father, Edward Calderon, to cancer in October 2014. Edward, or “Papi” as he liked to be called, was born on Nov. 25, 1929, in Barranquilla, Colombia, one of nine children. The family grew up poor, but Edward found prosperity racing bicycles and learning the jeweler trade at the age of 12 years old. He received his racing card from “Liga De Ciclismo Del Atlantico” on Aug. 29, 1952, and competed in multiple racing events around the Colombian countryside that are still conducted today.
Edward immigrated to the United States in the early 1960s and eventually opened his own jewelry business in the Diamond District of Manhattan. Edly was born in Queens Village, New York, in 1979 and as she grew, he shared stories of his cycling adventures.
They discovered the prestige of the New York City Marathon and would often watch the event together. Edly never dreamed that she would one day register to compete in her hometown marathon.
Edly and her father have always been close. They began running together in the years before his untimely passing. He was usually far ahead of her when logging laps around the neighborhood and was always very athletic for his age.
Edly and Edward were both shocked to learn that he was diagnosed with colon cancer in October 2013. Edward fought hard, but the cancer spread and eventually stole him away in October 2014.
After a health scare of her own in 2016, Edly was determined to increase her physical activity and become healthier. She registered for the Track Shack series and Run Disney events, cooked with organic ingredients, and aimed to change her lifestyle.
Edly set a personal record when she completed the Chicago Marathon in October 2018, but it wasn’t without strife. She communed with her father during the hardest miles and relied on him to carry her through. He always carries her through the hardest miles in every race.
Edly set a goal to run in the NYC Marathon after she finished the Chicago Marathon. She knows there will be difficult miles ahead but is comforted by the belief that Edward will continue to help her when she needs him the most.
In honor of her father, Edly is raising money for Fred’s Team, a charity that donates money to cancer research. Fred’s Team, Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Center’s athletic fundraising program, is dedicated to moving us closer to a world without cancer.
Since 1995, Fred’s Team has raised more than $78 million for cancer research, leading to new and better treatment options for patients worldwide. Cancer impacts so many people’s lives and Edly hopes that her efforts may help prevent the next loved one from being lost due to this terrible disease.
If you would like to donate, the link to her Fred’s Team page is http://bndfr.com/b22C8.