NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Wes Turner started running when his mom was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in 2009.

“Her mind would start to go,” he told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond. “And it was very difficult to watch. So I used running as a coping mechanism.”

His mother died within a year.

The North Carolina native moved to New York and honored her by raising money for Fred’s Team for cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Last year, while training for the TCS New York City Marathon, the 34-year-old was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

“And I’m like, ‘Let’s just get in two miles,’ and I couldn’t get in one mile. It was so tough,” he said.

Now fully recovered, Turner will run the marathon Sunday, with his new bride, Brittany, cheering him on. The couple was married this past weekend.

“It was a stressful,” she said of Turner’s cancer fight. “But Wes has always been this really positive, optimistic, upbeat person, and he made it easy to be strong.”