Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Final Pre-Race Update Note

Hello one last time before the Crawlin' Crab Half Marathon in Hampton, Virginia, just four days away now. I want to thank everyone who has donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in support of my efforts. Your generosity never fails to amaze me. If you have been meaning to make a donation, or if you just want to read about why I am crabby about cancer, or if you want to see the list of names I will be wearing on my shirt, then my Team in Training web site is the place to start:

As of right now, my hair will be its normal color come Sunday, the day of the Crawlin' Crab. But I am 81% of the way to dye it purple, so who knows? With some final donations, I could be walking and running with purple hair for 13.1 miles on October 6th!

Purple hair may be in doubt, but wearing a purple shirt is not! I got my purple TNT shirt the other night at our team send off, and now I need to start writing dozens of names of cancer survivors, and those that were not fortunate enough to survive, on my shirt. When I am finished, it will be covered in names, and I will also pin four photos on my shirt for race day: Ed Stone, Judy Zettel, Faith Eury, and Ann Ritter. Ed's birthday is Sunday, and that is the reason that I chose this particular race. He died earlier this year at age 43 after battling various cancers for over half his life, starting with leukemia at age 19. He is a constant inspiration. His widow and sisters will be running in the race with me on Ed's birthday. Judy, a very good friend, died far too young from multiple myeloma and leukemia in 2011. Faith, who I met about four years ago through our mutual adventures with Hodgkin's lymphoma, was just as determined to live as I was. But she was not as fortunate, and died from this often curable disease last year at age 43. Ann was my sister, and she died two years ago from breast cancer. There is not a day that goes by that I don't miss her or wish I could just pick up the phone and say "hello."

Losing my sister and these three friends from cancer in less than two and a half years is a very good reason for me to feel crabby about cancer! And they are a constant reminder of the fact that, while there are many more cancer survivors these days than there were 20 or 30 years ago, there are too many people that do not survive. Despite the best medical care based on the advanced understanding of cancers that we now have, despite having the same grit and determination and spirit that cancer survivors everywhere have, despite all the new drugs with their awful side effects, there are so many people that just will not survive their cancer experience. So, there is still plenty left to do in understanding and curing cancer.

That is why I am doing Team in Training again. I know that I will not personally cure cancer, nor will any one donation of any amount made on behalf of my efforts cure it by itself. But cumulatively, all the donations I receive, added to those of thousands of others doing this, will make a combine to be a force for good, just as raindrops combine to form a river. LLS is one of the groups on the forefront of making a difference in the war against cancer. And understanding of blood cancers seems to be crucial in understanding other cancers as well. I once heard a researcher describe lymphoma as the "Rosetta Stone" of cancers: figure that group of cancers out, and clues to many other cancers will fall into place. It’s a daunting task, but it needs to be done!

11 years ago, I was down to my last two months of chemotherapy for Hodgkin's lymphoma, and feeling totally ill and worn out. Now, I'm getting ready to complete my seventh long distance event racing for a cure! Given time and good luck, our bodies have an amazing and inate ability to heal themselves from the damage caused by things like chemotherapy. But they do not have the ability to defeat cancers, once they get established, without assistance. For that, some external response - surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation - is needed. And that external response is usually pretty brutal to our bodies, and often of limited success. We don’t just need more effective cures, we need more effective cures that don’t partially destroy people’s bodies in the process. So if it feels right to you, join my seventh Cancer Kickin’ Campaign and make a donation to pinch Cancer the Crab where it hurts! It’s one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, and on Sunday, it will be four to go - in the Crawlin' Carab Half Marathon, racing for a cure in purple! The time is now!

Thanks for the support and interest.

PS: If I do end up racing with purple hair, I will post some photos and send out a post-race email next week to let you all know! And even if I don’t end up with purple hair, my TNT site will have a link to photos from the race event by a week from Thursday if you are interested.

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