Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Team in Training!

So I have not update my blog in MONTHS, but I am still running! I have recently join a group called Team and Training... Let me tell you why I was initially motivated to participate. After rediscovering my passion for running, I met a group of girls at the Disney Princess Half Marathon who participated in Team in Training, I heard about their amazing experience and decided to further look into the cause and program. I determined that it would be a great way to commit to my goal of one day running a full marathon and in doing so would be able to help out a great cause. Now that I have joined, I have a greater understanding of the purpose of the organization and the cause it helps to support. It is an honor to run not only for myself, but in support of Team In Training’s mission to cure Lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and Myeloma and improve the lives of patients and their families.

I have committed to running the San Francisco Women's Full Marathon on October 17th! Yes thats 26.2 miles and I need to raise $4,000 for Team in Training! Each donation helps accelerate finding a cure for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. More than 823,000 Americans are battling these blood cancers. I am hoping that my participation in Team In Training will help bring them hope and support.

This is an email that i just sent out to 100 of my friends:

As you all know I am doing Team in Training (TNT) and I have really gotten to know some of my "teammates" over the past few weeks. Most everyone participating in this fall season event have stories of why they are running. The more we get to know each other, the more we learn "our mission" for TNT. While doing my 1st half marathon I met some amazing women who were involved in TNT and they all shared their wonderful experience with me. After the race I really prayed about whether or not I would be able to raise that much money ($4,000 is A LOT of money) and be able to commit to all the training and events required of TNT members. I really had come to the conclusion that it was not the right time in my life to commit to TNT, but something inside me just kept telling me that I needed to do it!! I continued to pray and ask the Lord to please give me signs to help me make my decision. Finally one day after talking to some friends, I knew that I had to do it and NOW was the time. Still a little unsure over the past few weeks (it's a big time commitment I tell you) I have been wondering if I should be doing this, spending a lot of time away from my family training and fundraising....but after reading this email last night from a fellow TNT member and mentor, my answer finally came!! Our team has several moms who have lost their children to cancer and they really have inspired me to look at life in a different way...I have a new found respect for my children and not to mention LIFE in general. I want to share one of my mentors stories with you. Her name is Angie and she just lost her 18 year old daughter 6 months ago to cancer. Please take time and read it...I think you will get a better understanding of what TNT is all about. After reading this email last night I just had to cry....My kids have been driving me crazy all month and this email really hit home and made me realize how lucky I really am! These people are truly wonderful people with lots of hope, love and encouragement! If you ever have the opportunity to be involved with TNT I would highly recommend it. If you think you physically cant do it...read Angies story and see why you CAN!!

Angies Letter she emailed to me last night:

First of all, I would like to say thank you all for being my friend and being there for me the past several months! It was so good to see some of you at Chelsea's Celebration of Life. It has been and continues to be such an adjustment for me to not have my Chelsea here but I am comforted in knowing that I have all of you for support. I have had my share of "hermit" time and I certainly hope no one has felt "left out" from hearing from me or seeing me. I am and continue to be healing and that process will take years.
Some of you I have known for a long time and some of you I have recently gotten to know and some of you I only know through email and/or facebook but I do believe that all of you have been brought into my life for a reason.
I am struggling with why all of this had to happen to my child. Please don't take your children for granted! Hug them, tell them you love them EVERYDAY. No one knows from day to day what can happen. Listen ... REALLY LISTEN to your children's laughter, soak it in and embrace it, dance around the room with it in your mind and heart!
There isn't one place anywhere that I don't have a memory of Chelsea. It has been 6 months now and I guess I am adjusting to the fact that she is gone. I am no stranger to loss, I lost my dad at 15, but this has been so much worse. Someone told me that they believed Chelsea had taught me all that she was meant to teach me and I think about that a lot. She has taught me to live, enjoy every day, don't take things for granted, and don't be afraid to try new things. Most importantly, I know she always tried to have fun and bring enjoyment to everyone she was around. She was always smiling and laughing around her friends. She didn't care about who was watching and wasn't embarassed about anything. That is what I try to focus on every day and carry on in her memory.
I know a lot of you are familiar with the fact that I recently completed a marathon and I am so thankful for your support during that journey. Through all the aches and pains, I am very proud that I completed this event. Training for this event has kept me sane in a lot of ways and I have met so many wonderful new friends as a bonus! Now I have the opportunity to give back. I am 4 weeks into being a mentor for Team in Training for the fall season and I hope to complete the Nike Half Marathon in October. It has been a little overwhelming at times and I am still recovering from bursitis in my hip that was worsened by the marathon on June 6th.
There are times that I think about just throwing in the towel and giving up, but then I think about all the pain, nausea, needle sticks, chemotherapy, puking your guts up, going days without eating, completely losing movement of your legs, not being able to take a shower for weeks, heartburn from hell every day, a tube shoved down your nose, being on enough morphine to literally stop the hearts of 20 people, losing your hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, being stuck in a hospital bed for days/weeks ... these are only SOME of the things that Chelsea and so many children and adults have endured because of cancer. When I think about all of that I simply can't give up!
We all have our own lives to lead and we all tend to take things for granted, I certainly did! It would be easier for me to just give up, go on with my life and not try to give something back to the community that helped Chelsea, but I can't do that either! That's the reason why I continue to train and fundraise for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. That's the reason why I wanted to be a mentor. That's the reason why I want to make a difference to someone.
It would be easy for me to say, "Well, my daughter is gone, so a cure wouldn't matter to me now." or "Why should I care about helping to save other people's kids when I couldn't save my own?" Believe me, I have struggled with this and said these things to myself! But I still come back to the fact that no one should have to endure all of these horrible things, whether my child is still here or not.
It is also very easy to sit back and say, "Well, my child is perfectly healthy, so I don't need to worry about that!" I CERTAINLY DID! And now she is gone, she went from perfectly healthy, no problems or conditions to being diagnosed with cancer, enduring two years of hell that these words can't even come close to describing, and then losing that battle at 18. EIGHTEEN! She did not get a chance to become the great person that she wanted to be. She will never walk down the isle to her husband, she'll never see her children come into the world, she will never experience all of the wonderful things in life that make it worth it!
This is why I continue to train and raise money to find a damn cure for this bastard cancer! It has taken enough people, it is time to put an end to all of this suffering!
There are a lot of different types of cancer out there, and blood cancers are only one small portion, but if a breakthrough can be made in one, surely, it will follow through to other types of cancer.
All of these things that I've talked about here are why I CAN'T GIVE UP! I am and will continue to be involved with Team in Training and I am planning fundraising events and I am being the "pesty" friend that keeps sending out emails and flyers and all sorts of things that encourage people to do what they can. I do not apologize for this.
I continue to do this on behalf of all of the children in hospitals everywhere lying in their hospital beds with tubes and iv's and no hair and their parents by their side trying to bring a little smile to their faces just for a minute ... I do this because I have been there and I know how hard it is, and once we all know the brutal truth of how bad things really are, then we all can contribute and make a difference.

This is why I RUN!! I truly feel that God has a plan for everyone and he puts people in your life and situations in your life so that you can see his purpose! I believe that God has brought running back into my life to give me all these wonderful people and to challenge myself to be a better person. This experience is teaching me more about myself and about life than I ever thought! Keep checking back for more updates and if you can please donate to help save lives!!

1 comment:

  1. Wow Jen! I am in tears as I read this! I am sooo proud of you for what you are doing girl!!!