Sean Cowan

Mission Ambassador. Ultra-Marathon Runner. Film-Maker.

“For many of us, we are self-limiting in what we think we can do and allow ourselves to attempt,” says Sean Cowan.

Decades after his cancer diagnosis and treatment, in 2018, Sean met the founder of Mission and became involved with the organization. In Sean’s words, he was “fortunate enough to get testicular cancer, and fortunate enough to catch it and treat it early.” He says outside of annual check-ups, he doesn’t live with many of the after-effects of cancer, but that it has fundamentally changed the way he thinks about life.

Through Mission, Sean’s been inspired by the many community members that have defied the odds.

“Their strength, resiliency, and resolve made quite an impression — enough so that I questioned my ability to push past limits myself,” he said.

Over the past 30 years, Cowan says his “two fitness towers” have been running and rowing. He’s run the NYC Marathon handfuls of times, including in 2017 and 2018 for team Mission, when he was first exposed to Mission’s Adventure Project.

Mission’s Adventure Project athletes inspired Sean to sign up for the oldest ultramarathon in the US, the JFK 50, and later, two 100 Mile Ultramarathons.

Sean’s other passions include film-making, which is what brought him into the world of ultra-marathon running.

“What is this world of weirdos who run so far?” Sean asked. While he wanted to know why they did it, he was more intrigued by what it felt like. He decided to investigate.

As he learned more about the world of ultra-marathoning, which dates back to the 70s, he started to meet key figures of the movement. It wasn’t long before he got hooked on long-distance running himself.

He was forced to unlearn his own limiting belief that just because he “didn’t look like a runner,” at 6 ‘4 and 215 pounds, that it was still for him.

Sean was recently accepted to run the Leadville 100 this August. Called “Race Across the Sky,” it’s the highest altitude ultra in the US, starting at more than 10,000 feet altitude and going up to near 13,00 across the Rocky Mountains.

Sean said it took him until his mid to late 40s to realize that “comfort is a lie.”

Most of us are taught to avoid pain in our lives. Sean is one of those people who noticed that by embracing it, things can actually improve.

“I’ve found that if I expose myself to more physical discomfort, it rounds out the edges of other things in life. That’s why I’m keeping myself in this place. I won’t say I love every long run, which can get rough, but I like the idea of having my body in motion and being in physical discomfort because it makes other things easy.”

Tommy Bruneau

Mission Ambassador. Marathon Runner. 

Passionate about physical and mental health and as a result has been pursuing many races, events and physical activities to prove “there is no limit” to what he can accomplish. While Tommy has completed many grueling races and events over the years, he has never run a marathon and the elusive, elite Boston Marathon has been a dream.

Tommy chose MISSION because he believes in what this organization is supporting. We’ve all been hit by this destructive disease and MISSION focuses on survival- #nolimits. Mission’s manifesto and Tommy’s personal motto are a perfect match. Tommy supports MISSION to help survivors rebuild their lives, physically and mentally.

To support Tommy’s “Mission” and read more about what is inspiring him to run, click here.

Beth Mengel

Mission Ambassador. Marathon Runner. 

I am running in honor of my son Eric. Every day he reminds me of what courage, inner strength and determination looks like. My story is really his story. Eric was a sophomore at Fairfield Prep playing rugby and loving life. A routine trip to the Dentist led us to a panoramic scan of his jaw for Trismus and the discovery of a cancerous tumor on the base of his skull. Two surgeries and forty sessions of proton radiation at Massachusetts General Hospital and here we are... one of the lucky ones. The Adventure Project has been a godsend for him. It has helped him get back in shape both physically and mentally. Eric is now a sophomore at Fairfield University playing rugby and loving life once again! Please help me pay it forward. With a little help from my friends, I hope to help another young person benefit from the Adventure Project.

By running for Team Mission, I want to raise awareness, hope and the funds needed to help the exploding number of cancer survivors get what they need to take back their lives from cancer

To support Beth’s “Mission” and read more about what is inspiring her to run, click here.

Jeff Wollman

Mission Ambassador. Marathon Runner. 

“I am excited and honored to be running the Boston Marathon in support of Mission, and the Adventure Project …The Adventure Project helps young survivors like, Josh Rubinstein, a student athlete from Trumbull, CT to reclaim their lives and live their dreams. Josh was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia last year, and was impacted by a rare condition as a result of his chemo treatment that severely limited his ability to play lacrosse, the sport he loves. His dream is to play in college. I have been fortunate so far to be healthy to live my dream and I want to be able to share this with others as I go through my athletic and racing journey.

To support Jeff’s “Mission” and read more about what is inspiring him to run, click here.


Eric is a 19-year-old go-getter with a passion for sports. As a student and an athlete, he makes sure to never take anything for granted, as is an inspiration for those around him.

His story: He is a graduate of Fairfield Prep, and currently attends Fairfield University. He was a multi-sport athlete while at Prep, participating in both rugby and basketball, prior to being diagnosed with a clival chordoma at 16 years old. After undergoing treatment, Eric's focus has been getting back into playing shape.

His Goal: "I've been trying and able to lose some weight but I want to finish and be as fit as I've ever been."

Personal Motto: "Good enough, isn't good enough."


Dauntless and Undeterred

Her story:

"When I was 16, I was diagnosed with ALL Leukemia Type B. I have been an athlete my whole life and am a huge believer in the importance of health and exercise. Unfortunately, two weeks into my diagnosis, I developed septic shock and was placed in a medically induced coma for two weeks. I suffered two strokes on either side of my brain and when I woke up, I was paralyzed, barely able to see and had a feeding tube. I was sent to a rehabilitation center and although the doctors predicted it would take me 2-3 years to recover and even then they didn’t know what my status would be, I ended up walking out of the rehabilitation facility two months later. It was truly a miraculous recovery and much of it was due to my athletic ability and my dedication to physical exercise and sports. Even on days when I couldn’t eat because of anesthesia later in the day, I was determined to get better and went through with my physical rehabilitation.

After 2.5 years of treatment, I was in remission and continued to be cancer-free for 5 years. I went on to play club lacrosse at Dartmouth College and became captain my senior year. Given the beautiful landscape surrounding me at Dartmouth College, I also began an avid runner. To celebrate being in remission for 5 years, my whole family came up to New Hampshire and watched me run a half-marathon. We thought I was in the clear. Unfortunately, four months later, I was diagnosed with a relapse and was forced to return home to CT to finish my senior year while undergoing chemotherapy and immunotherapy prior to a stem-cell transplant. I continued to run and play golf prior to the transplant and even played throughout the spring while attached to a ten pound backpack carrying my immunotherapy that had to be going 24/7.

I was extremely lucky and there was a break in my treatment and I was able to walk with my class at graduation with honors. Two weeks later, I underwent the transplant on June 29, 2019 and the doctors were amazed every time they came into my room and I was biking with a foot peddler, doing tai-chi with the martial arts volunteer or doing yoga with my mom. I requested these resources the first day I got into the hospital because I knew how important it was to stay conditioned while limited to my 10x10ft room. The radiation nurses also remarked how I was the only patient in their time that has requested, and actually been able to, walk to and from radiation. Again, it was another time for me to be able to exercise and I would not turn down that opportunity. I was released fourteen days after my transplant, tying the record for how fast I was released. From the very first day I was out of the hospital, I would go for three 2-mile walks every day pending the weather to recondition myself. Now I have joined the Fairfield County Women’s Paddle Tennis League to be a little more active, and on the weekends, I have been lucky enough to go snowshoeing, cross-country and downhill skiing. I am not able to go inside anywhere public after the transplant so I have been trying to be active as much as possible this winter."

Her short-term athletic goal: "Given my treatment, I have lost a significant amount of my muscle tone so in the short term I really want to regain that muscle and return to the physical ability I had previously."

Her long-term athletic goal: "After becoming an avid long-distance runner during my time at college, I really want to be able to return to running at least 4 miles daily and get back into that shape."

Personal Motto: "No one fights alone!"