Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Kick-Off That Wasn’t

My very first event for Team in Training was 2005, and our team kick-off was cancelled because of a storm. It wasn’t until I spoke as a survivor at another team’s kick-off later that year that I realized what we had missed. It is a great chance to meet your new teammates, coaches, and mentors, learn more about the mission and your part of it, and get whipped into a fever pitch of enthusiasm. If, that is, more than one person shows up.

Our summer team is small – there is no denying that. We have seven (fundraising) participants on the cycle team, and many of them are actually coming in on the spring team which had already formed. We have four triathletes, and eight on the run / walk team, including me as a fundraising mentor. That is a total of 19 people, of which exactly two – me and one more half-marathoner – showed up at kickoff. We had a coach there from each sport, and our fabulous LLS coordinator, Cate. We all sat around and chatted for a while, waiting for the others to show up, and no one did. So eventually we just all talked to the newcomer, Nancy, about getting started with fundraising and training. As kickoffs go, it was pretty much a dud and very disappointing. Hopefully everyone just had stuff going on, and once we all get out there with our sports, enthusiasm will grow. All’s well that ends well, and even though our summer team is off to a slow start – plus a big storm may cancel first training this Saturday – hopefully we will all end up as an awesome team!

Nancy, the person that showed up, is pretty amazing. She just got diagnosed last month with CLL (chronic lymphocytic leukemia), right out of the blue. This is a very slow growing blood cancer and there are no real cures right now. It says a lot about our new teammate that one of the first things she did after getting this shocking diagnosis is to join our team as a half-marathoner, having never raced before. I think it is her way of fighting back and making her own difference in the world. One of the reasons we all do this is so that the difficult cancers, like CLL, ultimately are curable. So I pray that Nancy and others like her will one day soon get a direct benefit from her efforts on our team.

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