Running a marathon has always been a life goal for me. A couple of years ago I first learned about the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's (LLS) Team In Training (TNT) program and I knew that it was the perfect way for me to accomplish this goal. Fast forward to today - I've finally decided to do it! My close friend Sarah and I attended the info meeting last night and registered on the spot after meeting our coaches, mentors, and hearing the moving story of our honored teammate for whom we will run in honor of. This cute little woman, 7 months pregnant, told us how after being diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia she was treated with a drug called Gleevec, which was developed in a lab funded by TNT, which put her cancer into remission. When she got pregnant she had to stop taking the drug, and her cancer has since returned, so after she has her baby she will have to start the medicine again. While her story was inspiring, it also is a reminder that while we are making strides, we still have a long way to go to finding a cure and crossing the ultimate finish line.
The whole program is really one-of-a-kind. Team In Training began in 1988 and has since donated more than $600 million to blood cancer research. Participants ranging from beginners to seasoned athletes commit to raising money for LLS and in return are provided with various resources to train to run or walk a half or full marathon. What makes it especially unique is that it is a nonprofit that gives 75% of profits directly to the cause! Pretty impressive, right?
Here are some facts about blood cancers:
- there is no cure
- leukemia and lymphoma are the leading fatal cancers in young men under 35
- leukemia is a leading cause of cancer related death in children
- every five minutes, someone is newly diagnosed with a blood cancer
- every ten minutes, another child or adult is expected to die from a blood-related cancer.
- 823,000 Americans are presently living with leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease or myeloma
- the 5-year survival rate for children with the most common form of leukemia was 4% in 1960... now it is 85%
- Gleevec (the drug responsible for saving the life of our honored teammate) has made the relative 5-year survival rate for chronic myelogenous leukemia patients 74.8%
Sarah and I will be training the next 4 months to participate in the inaugural Seattle Rock N Roll Marathon on June 27th, 2009!! My fundraising goal is $3,900 - clearly a big challenge! But it's hard to think of a more deserving place for that money to go. On the right side of the page I've posted links to the TNT website, LLS website, and most importantly, my personal fundraising website! The latter can be visited to view my fundraising progress and to make donations directly via credit/debit card.
This will probably be the biggest challenge I have encountered thus far in my life, but I'm confident that I will have the support and motivation to succeed. I have been inspired and can't wait to start on this new adventure! I'll be using this blog to update everyone on my training, fundraising, mental breakdowns, etc : ) Check back often and I appreciate everyones support! My motto is now: 26.2 or BUST!!!!!