Every Saturday morning we get up early and run. We run for miles. We run to beat cancer. This morning we pounded out another 7 miles towards our goal of running a marathon. With one heart and one mind it seems there isn’t anything we cannot achieve.
Over the last few weeks I have had a few experiences that have inspired me and given me a confirmation that I am doing something beyond worthwhile.
My friend Jamie (who is quickly becoming a hero of mine as I learn more about the things she has to go through because of her leukemia) was on her lunch break at work a few weeks ago. I went to chat with her quickly and give her an update on my progress on fundraising and training. I announced that the next day I would be running 8 miles. 8 miles! That’s insane!
Apparently her boss thought so too, because from the adjacent room we heard, “Why in the world would you run 8 miles?”
Jamie and I peeked around the corner and she gave me a big squeeze and a huge grin as she said, “She’s doing it for me!”
I got a little misty eyed and my heart felt so much warmth. I thought, “This…this is why I get up with the sun every Saturday morning even though I hate mornings and would rather be sleeping in. This is why I run and keep on running even though my muscles are screaming at me to stop. It’s why I do what I do every day.”
Then, just this week, in conversation with my coworker Linda we got to talking about her dad who lost the fight to Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma many years ago and how painful that still is for her. Because let’s face it, it sucks when you lose somebody, especially your dad. I handed her one of my fliers that talks about my blog (this very one) and my website, and then I went home.
I didn’t think anything else about it until I checked my email later that evening. Linda had written me a beautiful thank you letter for what I was doing and had forwarded my information to her sisters. Two of them then proceeded to donate to my fundraising efforts. Once again I received a confirmation that everything I am doing is for an amazing cause and I wouldn’t choose to be doing anything else.
I told Linda that I am adding her father’s name to my shirt on race day as one of my honored teammates. I believe that those who have fought the fight and lost need to be remembered and those that are fighting and those that have overcome need to be supported and celebrated. Their names will be added to my shirt as well in recognition of all that they have and will go through.
In recognition of the fight with cancer that our loved ones go through, if any of you who donate to my fundraising efforts have a loved one that has lost the fight to cancer, is fighting the fight or has won, I would love to honor them by adding their names to my shirt on race day and making them a valuable part of my team. It doesn’t have to be leukemia or lymphoma or even a deadly kind of cancer. Just send me their names, and if you can, a little bit of their stories so I know who it is I am running for.
And every day when I wake up, I remember, oh, yes, today I am running to wipe out cancer. Today I am running for my uncle Gordon, and my friend Jamie, and Linda’s dad, and all the family members of all of my teammates, and all of the many other people that are out there struggling. I am running for them. Then I throw on my running clothes and my shoes and I put one foot in front of the other and start pounding the pavement once again. For on this day, I am running to beat cancer.