Thursday, January 29, 2015

it's official...

i bought a swim suit for the first time in about 10 years...

i bought goggles.

i have a bike.

and training officially started this week for the TriRock Philadelphia Triathlon.

it's about to get real, people.

in 150 days, i'll be a triathlete. for now though, i'm a try-athlete...

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The race is over, but the search for a cure continues

Greetings all..

Sad but true, race day has come and gone. There was a whole lot of walking (inside the world's longest convention centre... had to walk at least a mile to get from the entrance to the race expo!!), a whole lot of eating (gumbo, jambalaya, po'boys, beignets & chicory coffee, Zapps "crawtator" potato chips, king cake... and the TNT pre-race inspiration pasta dinner, of course)... there was a whole lot of sunshine and wind and gatorade and potholes and cheering for teammates out on the race course. And then there was the stress and worry about whether or not we were going to make it home during the horrendous snow storm.

Two days post race, I'm still feeling a little dehydrated, but am not as stiff and sore as I feared I would be. I don't appear to be at risk of losing any toenails. And I have some shiny new gear to show off!!

Although the race is over, the search to find a cure for blood cancers continues... so, my fundraising site will remain open for a couple more weeks.

And, no sooner has one TNT season ended, but the next one has started already. This time, a triathlon... I'm somewhat terrified.

I'll tell you all about it as I go along. Thanks for being with me on the journey.

Friday, January 23, 2015

6th Annual Snuggie Bar Crawl - Arlington VA Edition

SAVE THE DATE!!  The 6th Annual Snuggie Bar Crawl & Scavenger Hunt is on February 7th, 2015

Grab some friends and form a team for the FIRST EVER Arlington edition of this favorite snuggie bar crawl and scavenger hunt. Have a ton of fun bar crawling in snuggies, win prizes, enjoy drink and food specials, and help save lives. Now in it's 6th year, the McNutts For A Cure Snuggie Bar Crawl And Scavenger Hunt has raised over $7,500 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. $15 at the door w/ your own snuggie, or $30 at the door and you GET YOUR OWN SNUGGIE. 

This only happens once a year... don't miss out!

For more information, and to RSVP, see our Facebook page 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

26 Reasons to Run - Reasons #23 through 26

It's almost marathon day... tonight after work I'll start packing my bag, Saturday morning I'll hop a plane to New Orleans, and Sunday morning I'll start a 26.2 mile tour of the city on foot, with a few thousand friends... With just three days to go, I'd like to wrap up my Reasons to Run a Marathon (and fund-raise to find a cure for cancer) series.

Miles number 23, 24 and 25 I will run in celebration of the many cancer survivors that I have met since joining Team In Training 6 years ago: LLS staff members, TNT participants, team honoured teammates, personal honoured teammates...

I'll be thinking of Jenny, Zach, Al, Carsten, Shannon, David, Trevor, Todd, Catherine, John, Mike, Tony, Dan, Lisa, Chris... and so many more.

Mile number 26... well I run that mile for me. 

I run Mile #26 in celebration of my continued ability to meet the challenges of training for and running marathons, in spite of  (or perhaps out of spite for ??) my own chronic illness. I run Mile #26 in celebration of the generosity of friends and acquaintances who continue to support the work of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as long as I continue to ask them to do so. And I run it in the hopes that I will live to see the day where it is no longer necessary to ask...

You can help to make that day happen by donating to LLS now. See the link to my fundraising site in the upper right hand corner.

And... thank you.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Why Give to LLS?

With just a week until race day, I am still about $800 shy of my fundraising goal. If you're able, I would be so grateful if you were able to help me get there!

"Why Give to LLS?" 

Among the answers to this question is the following: Develop "targeted therapies" that kill cancer cells selectively. - By hitting specific molecular targets, these treatments don't harm patients' healthy cells, resulting in fewer dangerous side effects. 
The video below celebrates the lead researcher, Dr. Carl June, who made miraculous advancements by doing the unthinkable and creating the targeted therapy of our time. All this was made possible with help from the grant money funded by LLS. Those grants were made possible with help of individuals that made the financial contributions needed to fund this cutting edge research.

This was made possible by past TNT participants, and by donors like you. Just imagine what miracles will come in the future from money you contribute today!

26 Reasons to Run - Reasons #20, 21 and 22

One week from today I will be mid-marathon...

A marathon is 26.2 miles.... that's a lot of miles, and since I'm not a fast runner, that's a lot of time to be out there running. When one is logging long miles (and long hours), there is plenty of time for sight-seeing, plenty of time for making new friends or enjoying the company of old friends... and plenty of time to get lost in ones thoughts.

When the miles start to take their toll, and I start contemplating all the reasons that I don't actually need to finish this darned run anyway... I bring my thoughts to the reasons that I find myself out on the course, and raising money to help find a cure for cancer.

Here are reasons # 20, 21 and 22 that I continue to run and raise funds to support organizations like the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, to try to find a cure for cancer.

I run in memory of Art and Gladys, and in honour of Derek

my grandparents, on their wedding day

I often find my thoughts turning to my Nan (Gladys) when I'm running. I have never thought of myself as being particularly athletic... more of an awkward but enthusiastic participant, really. My Nan though, when she was young she was an athlete... and her sport was running hurdles.

My nan was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999. Nan had a mastectomy and radiation therapy, but because she also had liver disease her chemotherapy options were extremely limited. She died in 2006.

My Grandad, Derek, was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2010. His brother, my great-uncle Art, died of colon cancer in 2007.

Grandad is currently doing well... thank goodness.

On marathon day, I usually find myself hitting the proverbial wall somewhere between miles 20 and 22.... When that time comes, when I need to dig deep within myself to keep moving forward, I will be thinking about my Nan and Grandad, and Uncle Art.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

26 Reasons to Run - Reason #19

This morning was our final group training run before next week's marathon. It was a chilly but glorious morning for a 10k run along the National Mall... Everyone's feeling excited, and there was lots of talk about where in New Orleans people plan to eat. It seems the running a marathon is a secondary event, the food is why they're really going!!

This afternoon I was struck down by a wicked cold. Have been tucked into bed with hot lemon and honey drinks, a box of kleenex, and a snuggly dog... snoozing off and on all evening. Now is not the time to get sick!!

And so, instead of being sick in bed, I'm going to just be comfortable in bed whilst I write about reason #19 that I continue to run marathons and fundraise to find a cure for cancer. 

Years and years ago, I lived in a small mountain town that I loved. But all of my family was strewn about the country, and none of them lived anywhere even remotely close to where I lived.  When one is a family oriented person, and one finds oneself without close family, the only thing to do is find some surrogate family members.

My friend Marni's Grandma Dolly was one such person. I loved going to visit Grandma Dolly... I loved spending time with all of Marni's family, actually, but Dolly was really special. She had a way of making you feel important and appreciated... Dolly died of breast cancer. 

I am so very glad to have known her.

Mile #19 I run in memory of Grandma Dolly.

Friday, January 16, 2015

26 Reasons to Run - Reason #18

The 18 miler has always been one of my most challenging training runs, more so even than the 20 miler. There is just something about it that feels like a struggle to break through. I've gotten physically sick during an 18 mile training run. I've pulled muscles during an 18 mile training run. Maybe by now it's purely psychological, but I always start the 18 miler feeling like it is going to be a tough run.

During next week's marathon, I am running Mile #18 in support of Jeff.

On vacation with his family, two weeks after his initial cancer diagnosis

Jeff was originally diagnosed with and treated for Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2012. After a year of treatment with no sign of improvement or relief, in July of 2013 his doctors ran more tests and discovered that he had Waldenström's Macroglobulinemia (also known as lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma), which is a form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. 

Jeff is currently in "partial remission", where chemotherapy is maintaining normal blood levels, and is feeling better than he has in years. Jeff's next course of treatment will be a stem cell transplant.

Jeff at beer & trivia night this week, with our friend Tracy

He'd like you all (TNT participants and LLS donors) to know how grateful he is for the support you're providing to people like him. This TNT training season is almost over, but he's hoping to come out and show his support for the TNT athletes at some future training events. Looking forward to seeing you on the trails, Jeff!

26 Reasons to Run - Reason #17

I run in honour of DIDI

This is an excerpt from a letter I received from my friend, and former flatmate, Chris. It is about his wife's mother, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in May of 2010.

I was rubbish and never got back to you about Ali's ma, so here goes. You asked me at the time to drop you a note with "her story" to help encourage those of you who do such fantastic fund-raising work. Hopefully this might help.
Didi was diagnosed in mid May with non-Hodgkins lymphoma having felt pretty rubbish for about a month and by this point being pretty bright yellow. The tumour, so it turned out, was pressing against her bile duct and so it was actually that fact which initially did most damage- effectively she was being poisoned by her own body. Thankfully the surgeons were able to operate within a few days and release the pressure that was developing. It also had the immediate impact of allowing her to actually feel better than she had done in quite a while.

In fact, throughout her treatment it was actually not Didi but often Nic, Ali's Dad, who felt worse. He's 72 and suddenly realised his own mortality, despite being reasonably fit and healthy. But all of a sudden the thought had been put into his mind that he might lose the one individual in the world upon whom his life was constructed and grounded. Every time she went into hospital Nic cried his eyes out, terrified, wanting to help and be as much support as possible but not knowing how to. Didi was actually doing quite well. The week after her treatment was horrific, she couldn't eat and definitely couldn't do anything, but the week of her treatment itself she was often fairly buoyant at another session being ticked off. The steroids helped too!

At the end of August she was told that she had gone into remission. In a way, 3 months later, she's now struggling more than she was then, feeling that people have now forgotten about her, worrying that her hair's still very thin and just worried that it's all a lie, that it's still waiting out there, ready to get her again. She's still very frail but has just taken the huge step and admitted that she needs to keep talking to people, especially to seek trained advice. The fight goes on well past the treatment stage, but knowing that there are organisations out there means that she knows there are people who want to help her and who can and will. That means such a lot to her, to Nic and to everyone around her. So as you all go out to train, as you all go out to compete, as you all feel the pain and exhaustion afterwards please please remember that you're not just doing it to pay for chemicals, for research or for bed space. You're doing it to help rebuild lives, from the moment that someone first seeks help to the point where they finally feel like they're actually capable of standing alone again, strong in their knowledge that they're back.

So thank you.

Four years later, Didi remains in remission and is doing well. 

Mile #17, I will be thinking of Didi and Nic, of Chris and Ali and their children... They have this time together because organizations like the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society are there to support cancer patients and their families, and to fund life saving research.

26 Reasons to Run - Reason #16

I run Mile #16 in honour of my GRAMMY

We call her the incredible shrinking Grammy... at one time she managed to reach a little over 5' tall, but in recent years she has lost a few inches. I suppose this is a normal part of the aging process, but it is strikingly noticeable in her case. I'm no giant at 5'4"... but even I now have to bend over to give her a hug.

In 1999 Grammy was diagnosed with cancer. I don't actually know what kind, though I suppose I could find out if I prodded a little. In my experience, British ladies of a certain age don't like to share those kind of personal details. Stiff upper lip and all... Maybe it's all ladies of a certain age, but both of my grandmothers are British and that has definitely been their approach.

In any case, for many years following her treatment for cancer Grammy has been struggling with digestive issues. Last year she had emergency surgery to remove what turned out to be extensive scar tissue in her stomach and intestines that were caused by the radiation. And now, for the first time in 15 years, she is able to eat pretty much anything she likes without spending days in agony afterwards.

Huge advances have been made in recent years in how cancer cells are targeted, both with medications and radiation. If she had been diagnosed with cancer this year, her treatment regimen would have been vastly different than the one she experienced.

These advances are made possible by providing funding to researchers who are dedicating their life's work to finding better, safer, more effective treatment options.... and that funding is made possible by people like you. So, if you are able... please click on the link to my fundraising page (in the upper right hand corner) and help the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to provide funds for critical research.

LLS research grants have funded many of today's most promising advances, including targeted therapies and immunotherapies. Some of the therapies that were first approved for blood cancer patients are now also helping patients with other types of cancers and other serious diseases.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

26 Reasons to Run - Reason #15

I run for my cousin Amy

While I was still quite young myself, my even younger cousin Amy was diagnosed with brain cancer. We lived thousands of miles away, so I cannot say that we were particularly close. What I remember most vividly of Amy's illness is that my mother went to stay with her brother for a while... to provide support, to help to look after my other cousins while my uncle & aunt were with Amy in the hospital.

Amy was just a little girl when she died. Too young.

Mile #15 I run in memory of Amy; and in support of my uncle & aunt who continue to advocate and fund-raise for the pediatric oncology department at the hospital where Amy received treatment.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

26 Reasons to Run - Reason #14

Every season, each Team has special "honoured" teammate... an individual who is in treatment, or has completed treatment for a blood cancer. They help participants who don't have personal connection to the LLS mission to feel that there is a specific someone that they are training for. This is our current team honoured teammate, Kristen...

And this is her story:

My name is Kristen B, I am a 9th grade biology teacher and cross country coach in Fairfax County. In early December of 2013 I was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL) after less than a week of showing symptoms, including bruising and fatigue. I started on an oral chemotherapy the day after diagnosis and two more intravenous chemos the day after that. I was in the ICU for the first week because I needed blood transfusions almost 24/7 and was at risk for spontaneous bleeding in my brain. My blood was so out of whack that my doctors didn’t think I would make it through that week. Later they told me the only reason I survived was because of my positive attitude and because I was in great shape before this happened.

 I ended up spending a month in the hospital, including Christmas and New Year’s, and then found out in January that I was in remission. To “consolidate” our results from the first round of chemo we did two more rounds which put me in the hospital for 2 weeks and 4 weeks, respectively. I had plenty of complications along the way but was released from the hospital for the last time in late April. I am now on maintenance chemo to help me stay in remission and I am back to teaching and coaching! I still try to stay positive in the face of challenges and hope to pass that lesson on to my students and runners.

Thank you all for taking on the challenge of simultaneously training, fundraising, and raising awareness to put an end to blood cancers.  I am excited to be your “Honored Teammate” this season, and I wish you all luck on your TNT journey. 

Go Team!

Mile #14, I will be running in support of Kristin.

Monday, January 12, 2015

26 Reasons to Run - Reason #13

I run for Mr Firrito

Click here to see the original post - Reposted from March 2009 

i did not much feel like running on Saturday... it has been a very long and stressful couple of weeks and i'm feeling exhausted. i did manage to log the short runs during the week, but when Saturday morning rolled around i just wasn't feeling it.

Saturday morning my sister-in-law's father-in-law died after a long battle with leukemia and lung cancer... he was in remission when i first met him at my sister-in-law's wedding two years ago. his health was failing again last fall when i saw him at my niece's christening... he collapsed moments before his scheduled chemo appointment on Thursday, and passed early Saturday morning.

I ran for Mr Firrito that afternoon, and in two week's time I will run mile #13 in his memory.

26 Reasons to Run - Reason #12

I run for my mother-in-law, Gilma

My sweetheart's mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer several months before he and I met... The common assumption at the time was that people with pancreatic cancer don't have long to live, because it is usually at an advanced stage by the time it is diagnosed, because it is in a difficult location and is complicated to treat... So, he asked me very quickly to come meet his parents. Like, basically on our second date.

I should clarify that we met online, and had been corresponding and talking on the phone for more than a year when we finally met in person. But, the second time we were actually physically in the same country, he took me to meet his mother... just in case.

Gilma already appeared quite frail by the time I met her. But looks can be deceiving and she was surprisingly feisty and engaged, though clearly very tired and uncomfortable. Gilma had reached the point in her treatment where she felt quality of life was more important than quantity, and the chemotherapy was making her so ill that she no longer had quality of life... so she stopped her treatment. She was told that she had at most another 6 months to live.

Whether it was sheer will power and determination, born of a deep desire to see her children married and her grandchild born (and to vote for Obama)... or, as Gilma would contend, because she ate ceviche whenever she was able.... but she held on for two more years.

I trained for my first marathon with Team In Training during the last few months of Gilma's life. We would spend the weekdays in Virginia, and every Friday night we'd drive to New Jersey to spend the weekend with her and my father-in-law. On Saturday mornings, we would sit together on the couch or on her bed, drinking coffee and chatting... and I would play the piano for her, and then I would go for a run. Returning rosy cheeked and sweaty, with snow on my shoes, she would reach for my hand as I walked by... and tell me she was proud of me.

Gilma died two weeks before my first marathon.

When I run in the winter, with the snow in my eyelashes and the cold biting my cheeks, I think of my mother-in-law and am so grateful that I had a chance to know her.

Mile # 12, I run in Gilma's memory.

26 Reasons to Run - update on Reason #4

You may recall a few posts ago that I said I was running in support of my cousin's sweetheart Brandon. He is a two time Hodgkins Lymphoma survivor. Brandon was first diagnosed at the age of 16, and then again in his mid 20's.

Brandon had a biopsy done on a swollen lymph node before Christmas, and learned last week that his cancer has returned. They are in the process of determining whether it has spread beyond that lymph node, and discussing his treatment options.

There have been advances in treatments over the last few years, so we are hopeful that one (or more) of them will work for Brandon.
In the meantime, if you've got a minute... send Brandon some positive energy, some healing vibes, say a little prayer for him... however you are inclined. And if you're able, make a donation so that we'll be able to continue to fund research, so that new therapies can be found... so that people like Brandon won't face a repeat cancer diagnosis feeling like they've already tried everything possible.

Thank you, in advance.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

26 Reasons to Run - Reason #11

I've got 26 reasons (at least!!) to continue training for marathons with Team In Training, and fundraising for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society... Lucas is reason #11.

I met Lucas through Team In Training... he is a childhood leukemia survivor, a regular TNT participant, and an all around awesome guy. We've logged many training miles together, and a few race day miles as well... though he runs much faster than I do. Shine on, you beautiful butterfly!!

Mile # 11, I run for LUCAS

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

26 Reasons to Run - Reason #10

  Mile #10, I run in honour of my friend CHRIS

This is my friend Chris... he was diagnosed with advanced throat cancer in 2010. Upon completion of his treatment (which involved months of chemo and radiation, followed by surgery, and then a very long and painful recovery), you've never met a man with a greater zest for life. He's living every moment, every day...

Chris is reason #10 that I continue to run marathons with Team in Training, and continue fundraising to help find cures for cancer.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

26 Reasons to Run - Reason #9

Here is reason #9 that I continue to run with Team In Training, and continue to raise funds to try to find a cure for cancer.

Mile # 9, I run for my friend KEIRAN

Keiran and I were in the Peace & Conflict Studies program together at university in Nova Scotia, and worked to start a new student society for our department. I went on to work in France for a couple years, and Keiran went to Mexico to work as a human rights advocate. Years later we reconnected when we both moved back to Canada, and were working in a city that was new to both of us... 

Keiran was diagnosed with leukemia in 2012... She is doing well now, and I've been trying to get her to come down from Canada for a visit, and to cheer the Team on at an event (or training). I'll get her down here one of these days!!

Monday, January 5, 2015

26 Reasons to Run - Reason #8

Mile #8, I run for my UNCLE CHRIS

My great-uncle Chris (aka GUC) was a bright spark... GUC made a huge impression on me as a child because he was the first person that I knew who had tattoos, which were both shocking and fascinating to my young self. A true Englishman to the end, he loved a good cup of tea and a good pint of beer... But above all else, GUC loved a joke. Always ready with a raucous laugh...  He died of prostate cancer in 2013.

GUC is reason #8 that I continue to run with Team in Training, and to raise funds to help find a cure for cancer...

Sunday, January 4, 2015

26 Reasons to Run - Reasons #6 and #7

Here are reasons #6 and #7 that I run, and that I am fundraising to help find a cure for cancer.

I run in support of CHRISTINE and ANDREA

This is my great-aunt Christine, my great-uncle Malcolm, and their daughter (my mom's cousin, so... my second cousin??) Andrea.

Andrea was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013.

Auntie Christine was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma a few months later.

This photo was taken in September of 2014, at Auntie Christine and Uncle Malcolm's 60th wedding anniversary. As you can see, they're all hanging in there... (And Andrea's hair is growing back!!)

I run (and I fundraise for LLS) in their honour.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

26 Reasons to Run - Reasons #4 and #5

This is my cousin Alicia, and her sweetheart Brandon...

Brandon is a two-time Hodgkins lymphoma survivor. He was first diagnosed at the age of 16, and then again in his mid 20's. Just before Christmas Brandon had a biopsy done to determine whether his cancer has come back... and they won't receive the results until the end of next week.

This is my cousin Alicia with her two sister and her Buby (grandmother) Edith.

Edith had non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and after several rounds of chemotherapy, she succumbed to an infection in September of 2013.

Today was our longest team run before race day. The full marathoners ran 20 miles, and it was not glorious. It was just barely above freezing, and drizzling off and on for the first 15 miles. For the last 5 miles it poured. It was pretty miserable, and I won't lie... when we passed our last water-stop, with just three miles left to go... I was pretty tempted to pack it in and get a ride back to my car.

But I thought about Brandon, waiting for weeks to find out if his cancer has returned for a third time, and knowing what a grueling ordeal another round of treatment would mean. I thought about Alicia, who lost her Buby to this disease, and how frightened and concerned she must be feeling right now while they wait for Brandon's biopsy results....

And it made me feel determined. Determined to finish my run, for starters... But also determined to continue helping the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society raise funds for research, to find treatments that will save lives.

I run in support of BRANDON, and in memory of EDITH.

Friday, January 2, 2015

26 Reasons to Run - Reason #3

A marathon is 26.2 miles.... that's a lot of miles, and since I'm not a fast runner, that's a lot of time to be out there running. When one is logging long miles (and long hours), there is plenty of time for sight-seeing, plenty of time for making new friends or enjoying the company of old friends... and plenty of time to get lost in ones thoughts.

When the miles start to take their toll, and I start contemplating all the reasons that I don't actually need to finish this darned run anyway... I bring my thoughts to the reasons that I find myself out on the course, and raising money to help find a cure for cancer.

Here is reason #3 that I run, and that I am trying to help find a cure for cancer.

I run in memory of WAYNE

I met my friend Faith back in the 90s sometime. You know how it goes with some friends... once they have become an intrinsic part of your life, it feels like you can't remember a time when you didn't know them. She is such a friend. Although we live in different countries, thousands of kilometres apart, we try our best to make sure we see each other at least once a year...

The last time I saw Faith was in May... my husband and I went to her house for dinner and a rousing game of "go fish" with her and her family. Wayne was living with her by that time. He had been diagnosed with colon cancer in March, and had undergone surgery to remove it, but the cancer metastasized and by the time we saw him in May he had decided that he was going to focus on quality of life rather than quantity. He moved to Nova Scotia so he could see his daughters and grandchildren daily. 

Wayne's journey through life ended in mid-December.

These are his daughter Faith's words...
My Dad passed away peacefully yesterday just before 3pm on a glorious 12 degree sunny December day.He loved greatly and he will be missed greatly. A testament to a lifetime spent giving love and kindness to others.
Yes, he once gave a homeless man the actual shirt off of his back. True Story 
Dad felt that Christ's love was best demonstrated through helping others, a belief he acted on at every opportunity. To honour his memory in this Christmas season I would ask that in lieu of flowers, please give as your heart dictates. Give that money to your favourite charity, family, adult or child that you feel to be most in need.
A local service will follow in the coming weeks, and an audio link will be posted of the service for those not local and able to attend. We would request for those friends not living in Halifax to take comfort in spending time at home with family over Christmas, as Dad would want.
He was very much looking forward to what he called his "graduation day" and would remind you all that that he though he is absent from the body, he is now present with the Lord.

This was the code that he lived by:
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”         
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you’”        “
The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

Matthew 25:35-40

During mile #3, I'll be thinking of Wayne, and his infectious smile and joie de vivre... I'll be thinking of how he'd come to visit me while I was working at his daughter's fruit stand, and give away the produce to those that he felt needed it, carefully polishing each piece until it was free of dust and dirt, as near to perfect as it could possibly get... before passing it to the most outwardly flawed and unkempt members of our community.

Thank you for the lessons, Wayne. And thank you for your love.

To honour Wayne's memory, I ask that you too give as your heart dictates. If helping to find an end to blood cancers is in your heart, please use the link to my fundraising page in the upper right corner and make your life saving donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. If your heart guides you to another cause, then go there and give what you are able... be it your time, your money and/or your presence. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

26 reasons to run - reason #2

First things first... thanks so much to those of you who have helped me to get past the mid-way point in my fundraising for my 8th event with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society... I am enormously grateful!!

As I write, I currently have another $1200 to go... and essentially 3 weeks to get there! and, I can do it. I have good reasons to keep at it.

Here is reason #2 that I run, and that I am trying to help find a cure for cancer.

Mile #2, I run for my friend Bonnie

A few decades ago now, I was living with my friend Kris and her son attending university. My family had moved clear across the country for my dad to go to law school, and air travel in Canada is prohibitively expensive (particularly on a student's budget)... So Kris' mom Bonnie generously invited me to come north to spend the Christmas holidays with them. Their family is large and noisy like mine, and I was made so welcome that I forgot to feel homesick for my family at Christmas that year.

Bonnie was diagnosed with lymphoma just months after her husband had died suddenly of a heart attack. She made her way through treatment with several young children at home, as well as kids in university... Bonnie has been cancer-free for more than 20 years.

So on mile #2 of my 20 mile training run on Saturday (and on race day), I will think of Bonnie and her family, and the challenges they overcame during her illness... puts the challenges of training for and running a marathon into perspective, if you know what I mean.