Last Saturday I found myself at the 50 yard line at Memorial Stadium on the University of Illinois campus.
I wasn't there for a football game but I was actually winning a game against cancer.
I had just finished the Illinois Half Marathon - my April race for my RunningSTRONG for Hope Coast to Coast Tour benefiting LIVESTRONG. I started out in December with a goal to race 200 miles against cancer. To date, I have raced a total of 65.5 miles - from Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Los Angeles and now Champaign, IL. I have run in sunshine, monsoon rains, around an ice rink and in 40 mph winds.
And along the way have raised $5,500 for LIVESTRONG.
A very important fact about this race.....the rain on my parade - I mean race - jinx was officially broken. Although, I was running with my friend Kristin who tends to have a extreme heat curse of her own during her races, so perhaps our bad weather patterns just canceled each other out.....and brought along 40 mph wind gusts.
Yes, you read that correctly. No monsoon or hurricane rains this time....but none stop wind....and the occasional 40 mph gusts. But, let's keep in mind why I'm embarking on this journey.
- It isn't for PRs - although I did get one in Vegas and would have been rather close this past weekend if I didn't have a untimely upset stomach.
- It isn't for the competition - although I suppose I am a bit competitive at times.
- It isn't for the race day swag.
- It isn't for the exotic locale - nothing against Illinois but Champaign is far from exotic. If I was looking for exotic, I would find a race in Hawaii.
No.....it was for LIVESTRONG. Every step I take, every line I toe, every time I lace up my shoes, pull on my gear is for LIVESTRONG. It is to bring awareness and raise funds for an organization that has done more to bring cancer into worldwide discussions, identify and provide resources those fighting and surviving cancer.
The following story is not mine but was recently shared with me and provides a great example of the resources LIVESTRONG provides with the dollars I raise - and you donate!
"Four and a half years ago I heard the words: “you have cancer.” I had gone through a miscarriage at five months pregnant and had no time to grieve. Shortly thereafter came my diagnosis and I began treatment for ovarian cancer. I was only 31, and all of my decisions were connected to this six letter word.
It was during that time that a friend told me to call LIVESTRONG as they could help with many questions about my diagnosis such as: Am I entitled to a second opinion or third opinion? How do I talk to my insurance company about things not covered? My job is having me go on medical leave of absence, with 30% of my pay, how do I make things work for me financially? I can’t work out in a gym right now while in chemo, are there any options for me to stay connected with my fitness? I only needed to call one number, and I was directed to great resources that I believe saved my life four years ago. I was able to talk with social workers who helped guide me through each of my questions. And the best part about this resource—it’s absolutely free".
LIVESTRONG Navigation offers free service in English and Spanish for people who need help moving through their cancer journey. You can call 855.220.7777 or fill out an online intake form. This is what our efforts are going towards....what every dollar I raise, every step I take during my training and races.
Please consider supporting my efforts so we can continue to provide resources like these to those that we love or perhaps ourselves as these three words "You have cancer" are mouthed by doctors around the world. Please join me in helping others make the mountain of decisions they are faced as they take in these awful words.
My next race is in 10 days and I am just $250 shy of the $6,000 mark. Can we make it to $7,500 before I toe the line in Pittsburgh surrounded by 100 other Team LIVESTRONG runners?
Donate in honor of your mother for Mother's Day. Pass up one margarita on Cinco de Mayo and donate the cost. Celebrate a cancer survivor's birthday with a donation.
Any donations made in honor of an individual will be added to the RunningSTRONG for Hope Tribute wall.