“While in a combat zone, there is very little time for mourning the death of fellow Marine, for your brother who laid down his life and made the ultimate sacrifice. The mission must go on and all you can do is carry the spirit of your brother in your heart and keep fighting for them. Having lost so many men from our platoon, company, and battalion (17 total) there was little time for the reality of everything to really sink in. Then when you come home and actually have time to think, it can hit you all at once like a ton of bricks. You need to stay mentally strong for yourself, your family, friends and Marines.”
MCM runner Vincent Carrano, then Marine Infantry corporal, was serving with the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment deployed to Afghanistan when they experienced heavy fighting and the unimaginable loss of many fellow Marines.
But it wasn’t just in Afghanistan that Carrano battled through personal tragedy. As a young boy, Carrano was forced to grown up quickly. His sister, who was just seven when she was diagnosed with Leukemia, succumbed to cancer just two years later, at age nine.
“My sister Lauren is my motivation and inspiration,” says Carrano. “The pain and anguish my family felt that day was immense and we knew right then that there was something we had to do. We had to continue the fight … and continue the fight for Lauren.”
Since departing the Marine Corps, Carrano has been working for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in the Philadelphia area. He is running his first Marine Corps Marathon as part of the charity team of runners.
He attributes exercise and physical fitness – and running to help him cope. He suggests that others may find solace in running to help them get through difficult times.
“I had to find an outlet and physical exercise was it,” says Carrano. “It could have been lifting weights, rock climbing, hiking, running or mountain biking,” he added … but whatever it was it helped me stay focused, thinking positive, healthy and overall it kept me on the right path.”
“On October 22, when I step foot on that starting line, I am doing it for my brothers – and my sister … and when I cross that finish line with my head held high it will be for my brothers and my sister. They will all be there with me alive in spirit, always in my heart.”
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