News & Events

Marie Apodaca to be honored with first-ever LE&RN Inspiration Award

Click here for a downloadable and printable press release.

Marie Apodaca (featured in the video above) will receive the first-ever LE&RN Inspiration Award at the California Run/Walk to Fight Lymphedema & Lymphatic Diseases on June 26, 2016, in Santa Monica, California. This 5K will benefit the Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RN) and is proudly presented by LE&RN and its national sponsors: BSN Medical (Premier National Sponsor), Tactile (Presenting Sponsor), Juzo, BioCompression Systems, ImpediMed, Eiger Biopharmaceuticals, Mikimoto, MediUSA, and Jay W. Granzow.
Marie suffers from severe lymphedema and had never before traveled by plane or participated in a 5K, but she was determined to be there for the first-ever CA Run/Walk last year. Marie made it to Santa Monica and finished the challenging course. A Run/Walk Sponsor representative, Dennis Schlaht of ImpediMed, was so inspired by Marie’s determination that he held a medal aside, ensuring it would be waiting for her when she stepped under the finish-line banner.
“She may have been the last walker to cross the finish line,” said Colleen McGuire, LE&RN’s Outreach Director, “but she inspired the entire crowd with her spirit and determination.”
As she crossed the finish line, Marie promised herself she would complete several more 5Ks. She has since shed pounds, and worked hard to stay healthy and keep her lymphedema under control. Marie was one of the first people to sign up for the 2016 CA Run/Walk, and has been sharing her story on social media to help and inspire others. 
"LE&RN recognizes the heroes who inspire this movement,” said LE&RN Executive Director William Repicci who created the award with Marie in mind. “Facing physical trauma and isolation, Marie rose above her own suffering to carry the banner for all those who live with lymphatic disease. With hope, determination, and compassion, she is leading others into a future where lymphedema and lymphatic diseases are worldwide priorities.”
“Educating others with lymphatic diseases, letting them know they are not alone, and that they do have options other than hiding away, and at the same time educating medical professionals and exploring research opportunities, make me so proud to be a Supporting Member of LE&RN,” Marie said when she heard LE&RN wanted to honor her with the Inspiration Award. “I finally feel that I can turn my diagnosis into a mission and a victory for me and others who live with similar diagnoses.”
Teams are forming now for the second annual CA Run/Walk to Fight Lymphedema & Lymphatic Diseases, taking place on the beach in Santa Monica on June 26. LE&RN National Spokesperson and Academy Award-winning actress Kathy Bates will be there to encourage runners and walkers, and will host a cocktail reception for the top ten fundraisers, and their guests, the night before the event. For more information on donating, sponsoring, or joining a team, visit
About LE&RN
Founded in 1998, the Lymphatic Education & Research Network (formerly LRF) is a 501(c)(3) not-for profit organization whose mission is to fight lymphatic disease and lymphedema through education, research and advocacy. LE&RN provides valuable education resources for the millions of people who suffer from lymphedema and lymphatic disease. LE&RN fosters and supports research that can deepen the medical community's understanding of the lymphatic system. For more information about lymphatic disease or the Lymphatic Education & Research Network, please visit or call (516) 625-9675.