Thursday, January 31, 2013

Fundraising First-Grader

What more can Will and I say...we have a fundraising 1st grader on our hands! And we are PROUD of it!

Last year Abi raised over $250 with Jump for the Heart. Her goal this year is $ first she said..."Well maybe I can raise $40" but we knew when she ran down the stairs with this letter that her goal might need to be a bit higher, so we encouraged her to do $100.

We hope that our involvement and fundraising efforts is an influence but we also have to give a shout out to Coach Rodriguez at her school...she hears what he is saying...whether that is how to play a sport, about good hygiene, healthy eating habits or how kids need new hearts. So thanks make a difference!

If you are willing and can donate $5...Abi would be grateful and so would we. She is learning a valuable lesson about helping others. Our friends and family continue to support us and together we can change the world.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Someday is Today

Have you ever said "someday I will run a marathon or a half marathon!" I know you have...because many of you have said it to me!

I'm telling you...

That's the new slogan of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society because LLS is committed to CURES TODAY...not someday.  That's the goal.  And you (we) are at the heart of it!

Did you know?

Team in Training funds approximately 30% of the LLS mission.

Team in Training is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2013 and in that time has raised $1.3 billion and has trained over half a million people just like you and me

Over the past 60 years LLS has invested more than $875 million in better cancer treatments

In LLS's last reported year 78.1% of monies raised by LLS went directly to research, patient & community services, advocacy and education.

In fiscal year 2011 LLS invested more than $76 million in blood cancer research.  Read specific research successes.

How can you help?

Many of you have supported Will and I as we have trained and fundraised for the past 12 years on our wonderful & exciting adventure with Team in Training especially the past 3 years as we have gone full force into the world of marathons, cycling and triathlons.  Our passion is about helping others and finding a cure for the dreaded disease we call cancer!  Together we have raised $23,120.48 and we aren't about to stop because when you talk about cancer research that is pocket change.   We surely aren't minimizing our efforts...but if you look at the numbers above...cancer research is expensive.  And you can't put a price on a CURE...but we need your help!

SOMEDAY IS TODAY...join the TEAM!  Join the largest charity endurance training program of its kind and witness what all the hype is about!  Summer season is about to kick off February 9 and the events are below.  There are info meetings all over the metroplex...if you aren't in the DFW area...go to the TNT website...or call me, email me, FB me and I'll put you in touch with someone.

It is a decision you will not regret.  It will change your life and it will change other might even change the world.   And if you don't believe this 3 minute video...or full version 6 minute video...both are about the same little girl Emma & her cutting edge treatment...LLS funded $21 million of the research to make this treatment available and to save lives!

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Monday, January 14, 2013

A mile for a moment...

It appears that the theme of my life right now is "moments" started with the design of our christmas card and since then I can't get it out of my head.  Maybe it is because I'm finally seeing that I need to live in the be present in every moment and not worry about what happened yesterday or will happen tomorrow, but truly be present and grateful for each moment that God gives me.  Easier said than done, right?!

This past weekend had a very special moment...crossing the finish line of the Houston Marathon...cold, wet and exhausted...seeing Will, Jeff, Tony and Mary all cheering me in and then as they placed the medal around my neck to see Jessica there waiting.   We had spent the first 21 miles side-by-side...chatting, laughing, crying and parts in silence.

The race started at 7:00am in pouring down rain, cold rain.  That's us in our trash bags...we ran in these till about mile 7.  It helped keep us dry and provide some warmth.

We had some visitors at mile 10...our husbands!  We stopped for a brief kiss and on we went.  We had been keeping a pretty good pace, chatting about all kind of things... and the course had thinned out a bit as the turn around for the half was around mile 8 so things were moving and grooving!  We looked for e-gel packets so we knew Jessica's dad, Tony had passed that way : ) 

When we hit 17 miles we saw Will & Jeff again...which was much needed because I think we were headed over to the dark side (meaning we weren't so peppy at this point).  We briefly least I think it was brief.  It was enough time to shed some tears and get a quick pep talk.  At this point...anyone who has run a marathon knows you can start counting down the miles in single digits.  And as we rounded a bend...I heard a lady shout, "only 9 more miles!"


I was hurting more than normal at this point and needed to focus; it hit me that each mile could be dedicated to how old Grant was.  I told Jessica that at every mile marker I wanted her to tell me what they did for Grant's birthday that year.  We had 9 miles to go so she told me about his 9th birthday....and then we hit 8th, 7th, 6th...and as we approached mile 21 there was a hill and I knew I was struggling. I could see the mile 21 marker so I said, "tell me now because I might need to walk the hill" and I also knew that meant we might separate.   It was a Ben 10 birthday!  As I started to walk all I could think was my 5 year old son LOVES Ben 10...and my heart hurt because it could just as easy be my son battling seizures.  Epilepsy, like cancer, doesn't discriminate and as the statistic states, "approximately 1 in 26 people in the US will develop epilepsy at some point in their lives."  That is simply too many!

At that point we were on our own...I plugged in my music to try to keep my feet moving to the beat. I took walk breaks but kept moving forward....wishing I had made Jessica tell me about the other 4 birthdays before we separated so I could remember them at each mile marker, so instead I tried to remember all the conversations that Jessica and I had about Grant in the past.  I wondered what Jessica was thinking about too.  Miles 24-26 are somewhat of a blur...the wind gusts were awful and there were these mini hills that just seemed huge at that point.  In retrospect I know they weren't but after 4+ hours they were mountains to me.  I remember seeing the final marker that said quarter mile to finish and I knew I was there.

In that moment when Jessica hugged me at the finish...she told me that in her final miles she had counted how many seizures Grant had since his he had been diagnosed with epilepsy on August 30...the total...49 seizures.

My goal for this race was support to my friend, raise funds for epilepsy and finish!  I accomplished each one of those and the moment when Jessica and I took this photo below holding our medals will remain etched in my memory...WE DID IT! And we did it for the best reason...not for ourselves but for a reason...for Grant and others with epilepsy!  We ran two marathons 34 days apart...and there isn't one single regret.  I would do it all over the exact same conditions! If you are a runner or thinking about becoming a runner...I strongly urge you to run a half or full marathon for a charity. There is no greater feeling of accomplishment knowing that in some small way you have helped others.

Grant's Gang is holding strong as the top fundraiser...and it is because of YOU...our fabulous friends and family!  Thank you for your support...the donations, emails, facebook posts and texts mean so much!

One more piece of news...CONGRATULATIONS to Jessica's Dad, Tony on hitting his GOAL!  What a race for that to happen!  He waited at the finish (in the stands) exactly one hour to see me cross after he had just ran 26.2 miles as well. And Jessica and her family...thank you for allowing us to be part of your family for such a memorable weekend!

A mile for a moment. Not another moment lost to seizures.

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Monday, January 7, 2013

Run with your Heart

It is hard to miss (due to the countdown on the right side of this page)...that it has been 29 days since I ran the Dallas Marathon and 5 days till I run the Houston Marathon. I'm barely recovered from the last one and about to run another BUT...this one is for a cause and those, at least for me, are the best races to run.

That's right in 5 days Jessica and I will be running the Houston Marathon in honor of her son, Grant and his fight against epilepsy.  Jessica's Dad is also running the full in Houston and all 3 of us will be decked out in our Grant's Gang jerseys ready to tackle 26.2 miles.  We have been raising money for the Epilepsy Foundation and currently are at $3,059 thanks to our incredible friends and family who have supported us!

Today when I was on the Epilepsy Foundation website this statistic popped out at me..."1 in 26 people in the United States will develop epilepsy at some point in their lives."  

It seems fitting that we will be cover 26 miles on Sunday.  Each mile is dedicated to Grant and making that statistic disappear.  And when our legs are tired and we don't want to take one more step...we'll run with our heart because that is what mothers, grandpas and friends do!

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year: Resolutions or 365 Opportunities?

What does a new year bring?  For many it is the time to make New Year Resolutions.  I've never been a big fan...when you look at the definition it states "a firm decision to do or not to do something."  Doesn't really leave any wiggle room, huh?!

The issue I find with resolutions are that when they fail to work out as you feel just like that...a failure and who wants to feel that? NO ONE!  Once that happens many of us take the approach of "well why bother" so we simply throw the entire resolution out the window.  And in the end no changes are made and that doesn't help anyone especially yourself!

So I am suggesting a different approach...and when I saw this photo it pretty much summed up how I want my 2013 to go...

Instead of coming up with a list of New Year Resolutions...why not view each day as an opportunity? Maybe its an opportunity to go try a new class at the gym...or buy the person's cup of coffee behind you...or forgive an old friend or family member...or better yet simply try to be more positive that day...or say yes when you really want to say no when your kids ask if they can have a cupcake for dessert (at least one time)! 

A list of opportunities is ENDLESS...

If you are a resolutions person may I suggest a great blog post by Mark Merrill that lists 13 Things for 2013. I found this helpful and inspiring for the new year.

Here's to a great 2013 friends...first up on my opportunity to help support my dear friend, Jessica and raise money for the Epilepsy Foundation...while running the Houston Marathon in honor of her son Grant who was diagnosed with epilepsy last August (more to come)...

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