I always seem to get nostalgic this time of year. It seems like so many things happen at the end of May or in June. May marked 4 years since I graduated from grad school in Milwaukee. It was marked 4 years since my Dad’s stroke. I remember him coming home from the hospital and watching the World Cup 24 hours a day while I cooked, cleaned, took care of the dogs, worked, practiced, and took care of both parents. I have to admit that I’m not really excited about the World Cup this time around. As a former soccer player myself I find that kind of sad, but I can’t help thinking back to what was going on the last time the tournament happened. I’m sorry World Cup, it’s me, not you. (thankfully things are better now. My parents still need help. There are ups and downs, and I’m here to help)
Two years ago this week I went out for a Saturday run with a good friend who helped me discover my love of running. Nothing fancy, just a nice moderate run to get ready for the Peachtree Road Race. When I got home my parents were on the phone with my Uncle Clyde who lived in San Diego. At first I didn’t realize how odd this was until I started to hear some of the conversation. (calling the east coast around 10:00 AM was odd considering the time difference) He had pancreatic cancer, and in 48 hours was having surgery. He wasn’t expecting to make it through the surgery, but if he did he was going to fight. At first I thought that it wasn’t a big deal. That is until I started doing a little research on pancreatic cancer. Then I started to get worried. It’s hard to catch because there aren’t symptoms specific to it. They present as symptoms that could be a dozen different things. It’s an incredibly fast growing cancer, and is the #1 leading cause of cancer death (99% fatality rate in the 1st year alone). I went off to some teacher workshops the Monday of his surgery with my phone in front of me the whole day. By lunch time he had made it through surgery and was recovering. Everything had gone well, and everything looked good. I wish I could say that it stayed that way. Everyone was on edge. There were frantic and hysterical phone calls from other family members early in the morning. After a second surgery we thought we were good. There was even talk of what his chemo treatments would be and when they might start. Sadly, things went down hill. In three weeks it will be the 2nd anniversary of my Uncle’s death.
As one of my friends says “it’s best to make lemonade out of lemons.” Which is why I was in a Team in Training information meeting 4 days after my Uncle’s death. I was tired of cancer. My Aunt had beat breast cancer. My grandmother survived colon cancer. There have been other cancer scares as well. There had to be something I could do to make a difference. Team in Training presented the perfect opportunity. My friend was running the San Antonio Rock-n-Roll Marathon, Team in Training was participating, and my Uncle’s sons lived there. It was the perfect fit. The best part of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is that they share their research. All of the drugs developed by LLS through Team in Training dollars have been FDA approved. Gleevec has been approved for treatment in several different cancers including stomach and certain types of breast cancer. The others have started or are starting research and trials for treatment in other cancers
This year I’m taking on the Chicago Marathon, and continuing to raise money to find an end to cancer. I want to raise $3000, and I’m 10% of the way there. Maybe you can help me get there. Check out my fundraising site for more information.