Saturday, February 19, 2011

Ten Years for Emma!

I’ve met a lot of great people in my six years being involved in Team in Training. Most were fellow participants or coaches, but some were patient honorees. One of the latter is Emma, who I met my very first season with TNT in 2005 when I was training for the Midnight Sun Marathon in Alaska. At that time, each event had their own patient honoree – now all the patient honorees are for the whole team each season. Emma was about six at the time, and this endearing little girl was the patient honoree for the group who was training for the San Diego Marathon. So while I didn’t see her much, I did hear her story, and I've seen her many times since then.

When Emma was just 10 weeks only, she was diagnosed with infant acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and the odds were long against her survival. She and her family suffered terribly, but Emma survived. The harsh chemotherapy taken as an infant might well cause her future unknown medical problems, though. I wrote last year in more detail about Emma, so I am not going to repeat all that – you can read it here if you wish.

This past Monday – Valentine’s Day – Emma reached 10 years in remission. This is great news, amazing news. I’ve gotten a ton of terrible news on the cancer front lately from friends and family, and being reminded about Emma’s survival to the ten year remission milestone – something that looked impossible when she was a tiny 10 week old baby – buoyed my spirits. So Emma, keep on going! Here is my favorite photo of her, finishing her first triathlon a couple of years ago, arms raised in triumph like the strong survivor that she is.

Incidentally, Emma’s mom Holly, who I don’t see nearly often enough but who was on my first team as a marathoner and whom I count as a friend, is back doing Team in Training again. She will be riding 100 miles on her bike in the Fletcher Flyer, and when she completes that race, she will own the coveted Team in Training Triple Crown, having done at least one marathon, century ride, and triathlon. And this summer, she will complete her very first ironman triathlon! Go Holly! You are amazing!

If you are touched by Emma’s story of near death and life, and would like to contribute to Holly’s efforts to honor the 10 year survivorship of her daughter, you could consider going here and making a donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

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