Faculty member to run in honor of UTMC staffer

January 3, 2014 | Events, Features, UToday, Medicine and Life Sciences, UTMC
By Sam Naumann



Dr. Jennifer Smirnoff, UT assistant professor of psychiatry, celebrated her 40th birthday by making a commitment to run for her health, but she now also runs for others.

Katie Secory, left, is an honored teammate of Dr. Jennifer Smirnoff, who will run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in New Orleans in February as part of Team in Training. Secory, a cancer survivor, is a source of inspiration and strength for Smirnoff.

Katie Secory, left, is an honored teammate of Dr. Jennifer Smirnoff, who will run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in New Orleans in February as part of Team in Training. Secory, a cancer survivor, is a source of inspiration and strength for Smirnoff.

Smirnoff is a part of Team in Training, a program administered by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society that supports individuals participating in major athletic races in exchange for fundraising efforts.

“I started running nearly a year ago for health reasons, but now it is more about helping cancer patients and their families,” Smirnoff said. “My mission is to help the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society with its mission, which is essentially helping cancer patients live longer, better lives.”

When a race is selected, the participant receives full support from professional coaches while he or she trains and fundraises. Racers then choose an honored teammate who serves as a motivational symbol of strength and keeps participants inspired.

Enter Katie Secory, administrative assistant at UT Medical Center and cancer survivor of almost seven years. Secory and Smirnoff met through work and have transitioned from colleagues to teammates.

Secory was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Oct. 4, 2006, while working as a state tested nursing assistant, received chemotherapy and radiation treatment from UTMC until she entered remission.

She said she is inspired by the commitment of Smirnoff and has begun her own training as a Team in Training athlete.

On Sunday, Feb. 2, Smirnoff will run her race, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in New Orleans.

She has raised $650 of her $3,200 goal so far. Those interested in helping her reach that goal can visit http://utole.do/teamintraining.