Runner uses miles and memories of husband to help those battling cancer

KINGWOOD, Texas (KTRK) -- Karma Punwasi never saw herself as a runner, but that changed when her husband was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor in 2012.

"My husband Martin was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme," explained Punwasi. "My sister-in-law thought (running) would be an opportunity for me to just take 30 minutes for myself."

Punwasi soon discovered running was more than an opportunity for self-care. She realized she could raise money and awareness for brain cancer charities through the Houston Marathon's "Run for a Reason Program".

2022 will be her eighth time running the Aramco Houston Half Marathon.

"I run for everyone who has been impacted by a brain cancer diagnosis," she said. "Whether it's families with a young child, wives with young husbands - it doesn't matter."

Punwasi is running this year's half marathon on behalf of Addi's Faith Foundation, which is a local non-profit dedicated to ending childhood cancer.

"It was founded after its namesake of Addison Faith Bender, who passed away from a brain tumor right before her second birthday," said Shana Koehler of the foundation. "Our whole goal is to raise money to fund research for pediatric brain tumors, and also to provide assistance to families with children with cancer."

Martin died in June 2020, so he was was able to see Karma's running career blossom. She knows he'll be watching her this year on race day.

"It's going to be great," she said. "He won't be there waiting for me at the finish line - he'll be there every step of the way."

You can support Punwasi's fundraising efforts on this Chevron Houston Marathon page.
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