Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thank You, TNT Nike Women’s Marathon Team

In a little more than a week, a bunch of you will be heading to the City by the Bay for an amazing experience. For some of you, it will be your first marathon or half-marathon. For others, maybe it will be your second, or third, or more. But for all of you, it will be the culmination of a lot of hard work, and act of making a difference in this world. And as a cancer survivor, I want to thank you for that. So for those of you on TNT Richmond, Team Virginia, or some other TNT group heading to the Nike Women’s Marathon next weekend, please accept my thanks and my gratitude.

It has been seven years for me now, since I was starting to head down the stretch during my chemotherapy. I guess that by October of 2002, you could consider that I was at about the 20 mile point of my cancer marathon, and was pretty sick and tired of it. But despite all that - maybe I had some denial, or maybe it is just a lack of common sense - all through chemo, I almost always had this expectation that things would turn out fine. It’s been since that time, reflecting on my experience and hearing the cases of so many people who didn’t have as much luck as I did, that I realize how tenuous and random surviving any type of cancer is. And that makes me realize how much work remains to develop cures that not only are very effective, but that don’t halfway kill the person who is going through them.

I bet this race will be a lot of fun. It is one that I hope to do for TNT before I hang up my running shoes some day. So I would love to hear comments back when you return home about what you thought. I will be thinking of you on the 18th as you run and walk all throughout a truly beautiful city.

When you start the race, and worry about how far you have to go – think of all those starting their battle with cancer that day, and how intimidating and frightening their race appears to them at the start.

When you are running up one of those steep hills that San Francisco is famous for – think about how those with cancer have to climb steep and difficult hills every day.

When you run past the Golden Gate Bridge – think of how the cancer experience bridges the patient from their pre-cancer life to life after cancer, often with continuing financial and medical difficulties.

If you are chugging along through one of the famous fogs of that area – think of the dense mental fogs that roll in during chemotherapy.

If the sun beats down on you with solar radiation as you run along – think of cancer patients dealing with the exhaustion and burns of radiation therapy.

If you have a tough five minute stretch when it seems difficult to keep going – think that during that time, one more American was just told “you have leukemia (or lymphoma, or multiple myeloma).”

When you are coming down the stretch and see the finish line, and break out into a huge smile – think of the cancer patients who never make it to the finish. And remember that your efforts, your fundraising, and your dedication will help more of them to reach that finish line in the future.

Thanks for doing what you have done! I hope you have a great time and a great race!


3 comments: said...

Thank you Art, for those wonderful words of encouragement. We have our send-off on Monday night and I plan on reading this to the Team.
I am so happy to have met you that first TNT marathon we walked together and even happier that we have both remained part of the TNT family.


Elsbeth said...

Thank you so much, Art, for these kind words and for your generous donation. I'm touched and honored to run in your honor!

If I may, I'd like to read these encouraging lines to my teammates tonight at our travel meeting!

Racn4acure said...

Thanks Elsbeth, for your comment and for running as a part of Team in Training. I would be honored for you to share my message with your teammates.

You are very welcome.

Have a great time in SF. Art