Saturday, April 30, 2011

Honored Hero: Georgia

It was my turn again for another mission moment this season at training...this Saturday I was speaking about Georgia, one of Will and I's friends & honored heros! Many of you have already met Georgia on our blog last year. Will cycled, not one but TWO century rides in her honor in 2010.

It was fitting that I would be speaking about her this Saturday because her Mom just announced on their blog that Friday, April 29 marked 1 year till the END of Georgia's treatment...yes only 365 more days!

For those that don't know Georgia's story...she was diagnosed in December of 2009 about a week after she turned 10. She quickly started treatment and at the 30 day mark she was in remission which is huge! Georgia has tolerated treatment relatively well with few bumps in the road. Her family is dedicated to her care, helping others and finding a cure like so many of us.

One of the biggest accomplishments was this past spring when Georgia was chosen as Girl of the Year for the Austin chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society!

And as her mom said, "our girl is a fierce cancer warrior....and quite the advocate as well!" They have raised funds for LLS/TNT, LiveStrong, St. Baldricks, CureSearch and so much more!

Will and I are proud to call them our friends and even more proud to raise funds in her name!


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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Honored Hero: Dee

Dee & Blair Casey are on our summer team and Dee gave the mission moment this Saturday. Dee is a Lymphoma survivor and will be running her first HALF marathon this coming Sunday along side her husband!


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Sunday, April 17, 2011

A boy named Griffin...

Saturday's mission moment was given by Jessica. I first met Jessica through Team in Training in winter '09. It took us almost the entire season to strike up a conversation but after that we've been friends since and this is our 2nd season mentoring together. Jessica's mission moment is below...typed in her words.

When I first started this in 2009, like a lot of people, I did not have any type of connection to the cause. I was a member of a Moms Group and it was suggested that some of us put together relay teams for The White Rock Marathon and fundraise for Team In Training. Most of my friends did not know what TNT was but I did. I also knew that there was NO WAY this group of moms could run 6 or 7 miles. I knew what it takes to be a runner and I knew that we didn’t have it. It’s hard. Really hard. And I knew this not because I am or was a runner but because I’ve been exposed to running and races my entire life. My dad is a runner. All his friends are runners. Not occasional runners. Good runners. Fast runners. All of our family vacations were planned around marathons. He ran Boston and New York often. He always BQ’d (Boston Qualified) and was over 50 with a finish time well below 3:30 (New York’s requirements). Again, he is good.

So when my friends suggested we do this I thought they were out of their mind. Crazy. A few of us exercised regularly (not me of course) but none of us had ever run. So with no intention of signing up, I reluctantly went to the TNT informational meeting. I listened to the coach tell how anyone could so this. Still not convinced. I listened to a mentor say how fundraising is not as hard as it seems. Still no go. And then Monique Yarbrough got up to talk about her connection to the cause…

I remember her words like she said them yesterday. “My name is Mo and I am here to tell you about a boy named Griffin.” Her son Griffin was 2 when he was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma. He was 6 when he lost his battle with cancer. All I could think about was my son Grant, 6 at the time. That I get to go home and kiss him goodnight and that Mo didn’t. That here she is telling us why she walks and raises money. It hit me so deep. Would I be this brave if the roles were reversed? Could I do what she was doing? I don’t know. But I could figure out a way to run and raise money. So as I’m crying for this woman I have never met, I signed up. Because of Mo’s story - Griffin’s story – I committed to run not the relay but a half marathon.

And then I get home and have a bit of buyers remorse. What have I done? What have I gotten myself into? I decide I need to run a few miles before actual training starts. Just so I don’t embarrass myself. I didn’t make it 2 minutes before I had to stop. It was horrible. I wanted to quit before I even started. But I went to the first training anyway. Again, very reluctantly. And it just so happened that Mo was there. Telling her story. And that was it. I never looked back.

This is now my forth season with Team in Training. I have completed 9 half marathons and 1 FULL marathon. Somewhere along the way I realized I was getting just as much from TNT as I was giving to it. Maybe more. I have a great life. A wonderful and supportive family. But TNT filled a hole in my life that I did not realize was there. It is such an amazing feeling to be a part of something that helps so many lives. Something that is so much bigger than you. I will be forever grateful that I was “forced” to go to that TNT meeting.

Go TEAM! -


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Monday, April 11, 2011

Honored Hero: Jack

This past Saturday's mission moment was given by Deb Duffy. She is the neighbor of our summer coach, Charlene. Deb and her family's journey is the reason why Charlene got involved with Team in Training and continues to coach. This is Jack's story...told in part from Deb's speech on Saturday and also from his father's fundraising page...he is training for America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride this June with TNT. He has raised $9,092.00 already. Their fight to find a cure is inspiring!

On August 9, 2002, the Duffy's son, Jack, was diagnosed with ALL - acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He was 7 months old. They were told that Jack was high risk because of his age and high white count. Their journey started immediately...including chemotherapy, numerous hospital stays, almost daily doctor visits, spinal taps, central lines, ports, blood & platelet transfusions...AND this was just the first year.

Jack went into remission but the leukemia came back almost immediately after treatment stopped. The Duffy's only option at that point was a bone marrow transplant. Fortunately Jack's older brother, Ryan, was a perfect match! The bone marrow treatment consisted of even higher doses of chemotherapy and full body radiation. The transport went smoothly; however, the leukemia came back again.
After just under 2 years of fighting the disease...Jack lost his battle with leukemia on November 17, 2004.

The Duffy's lives were forever changed. This year, 2011, Jack would be 9 years old. The Duffy's say although the journey had lots of tears, pain and sorrow, it also had laughter, joy and happiness. They attribute that to Jack's spirit. His father said that, "the most part he fought his battle with a smile on his face and laughter in his heart. He fought so hard and squeezed as much life out as he could in the short time he was here." Jack's story personally hit home for me...Allie was the same age when she was diagnosed with leukemia but her outcome was much different. It is truly heartbreaking to hear parents tell their story about losing their child to cancer...the fighting, the praying, the worry...the unknown year after year during treatment and after.

What I ask of those reading this is to PLEASE pass on Jack's story as well as the stories of all our honored heros...share this blog with anyone who will read it. Most important if you are every approached by someone with Team in Training who is training for an endurance event PLEASE donate to them...every single $1 counts. A $5.00 donation means the world to that says I believe in you and I want to help you find a cure so no child has to endure treatment and no parent has to lose their child to cancer. GO TEAM!

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Honored Hero: Joshua Rosenthal

This past Saturday for the mission moment we had a fellow TNT teammate from Austin be our speaker. Her name is Pam Rosenthal and she is a friend of Coach Coby. Coach Coby is the spring season coach and an officer with the Richardson Police Department. Pam's mission moment was about her son, Joshua D. Rosenthal.

She spoke about as a young boy he always wanted to be a police officer. His wish came true and as the young age of 22 he was hired as a rookie police officer by the Richardson Police Department in 2006. He was healthy and in excellent shape his mother went on to say. But soon after he started with the police force he wasn't feeling well and visited the doctor. After having some blood work done he was admitted into the hospital. Within 36 hours Joshua suddenly died from acute leukemia. His cancer was 98% curable if if it hadn't metastasized in the brain - which his did. His cancer went completely undetected until it was too late.

You can read more about Pam's journey as she trains for the San Diego Rock & Roll half marathon in honor of her son! GO PAM! GO TEAM!

Coach Coby is seen in the above photo as the first officer on the left. Thank you to Coach Coby and Pam for sharing Joshua's story!

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