A handful of race bibs and medals adorn the wall in Mei Chen's bedroom. They hang on a ribbon that stretches from one end of the wall to the other. Her hope is to fill the ribbon with more bibs and medals.
She ran her first 5k last year at the Komen Maryland Race for the Cure in Hunt Valley. Chen enjoyed it so much she started a running group in her community called the "Centennial Runners Club."
"We run for health, we run for happiness, we run for friendship and we run for self discipline," she said.
Chen also runs in support of breast cancer research and awareness. She was diagnosed with the disease in 2008 after she discovered a lump during a self exam.
The news came as a shock to Chen but she didn't give herself much time to dwell on it.
"I had to be strong. Not only strong for myself but strong for the kids, for my family, for my friends."
Chen went through surgery and chemotherapy. She says she did everything she could to keep a positive attitude and relied on loved ones during the tough times.
"I am a survivor, I’m a lucky one," she said. "I received a lot of help and support from family, friends and co-workers."
Once again, Chen is running the Race for the Cure 5k with a team of friends and family. She's encouraging everyone who comes out to the event to take a moment to reflect. She says it's what her cancer diagnosis forced her to do.
"More people should focus on what is important, your health, your happiness, your life, your family, and your friends," Chen said.
No one chooses to have cancer but Chen says you do have one choice if you are diagnosed.
"One thing you can choose is your attitude. How to fix the cancer, how to fight back, that you can do."