I didn't see this one coming
As I’ve mentioned before, I ran in the 2008 Chicago Marathon and raised money for “Joints in Motion” and the Arthritis Foundation. I truly enjoyed the charitable aspect of training and raising money so it was an easy decision to pick a charity and run in April. Team in Training (TNT) and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) clearly jumped out as the right fit based on the energy and passion I’ve seen from the TNT runners in previous races. Given the fact that my wife’s grandmother has adult Leukemia, it was the clear choice to sign up with a goal of raising $4,000 for the cause.
Just as the Grinch’s heart grew as he began to understand something better…”Well, in Whoville they say that the Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day. And then - the true meaning of Christmas came through, and the Grinch found the strength of *ten* Grinches, plus two!” Not insinuating that I resemble the Grinch, but I hadn’t honestly established a connection with the cause early on. As I’ve talked about before here on my blog, the most unlikely people began to tell me how Leukemia has touched their lives and “stoked the fire” for me to hit my goal and train harder. It gives you a little extra motivation when the early morning run alarm clock goes off, it’s dark, and it’s 20 some degrees outside.
The biggest inspiration came from all places, Facebook. Being in the internet business, I’ve tried to leverage all areas of the cyber world to help raise money for this worthy cause including email, blogging, twitter, ebay (selling ad space on my body marathon day…that one didn’t work so well) and Facebook. I was promoting a Wine Tasting Benefit I was hosting for LLS on Facebook and started to get support from old High School classmates.
In my inbox one morning was an email from a classmate who I’d fell “out of touch” with years ago—Tim. Tim told me he’d be more than happy to speak at the event. Over the weeks leading up to the event and that evening I began to understand Tim’s story. Tim’s only daughter, Kyra, was diagnosed with Leukemia as a young girl. She went through 2.5 years of chemotherapy and the disease seemed to be under control. As she entered her teens, she relapsed and went through another round of chemotherapy. Kyra had adult Leukemia at this point at the age of 16 and needed a blood transplant. She was months away from a transplant that would have given her a 30% chance of beating this. Talking to Tim, I’ve got to know about Kyra and understand that she was a wonderful young woman that often smiled and rarely ever complained. On New Years Day in 2009, Kyra slipped into a coma and ultimately succumbed to the disease on March 14, 2009. As a father, I can’t imagine going through this or how to move forward. Tim tells me that he still cries every day and is trying to move on in his life.
He’s gone though his battles in dealing with this—he’s looking for work, and went through divorce. At the benefit, Tim stood in front of 35 people and told the story of Kyra. I am amazed at his courage and the positive attitude he maintains despite what he’s gone through and continues to deal with. I didn’t see this one coming…not surprisingly, qualifying for Boston seems insignificant…the roughly 600 training miles I will put in seems even less significant than the work Tim and Kyra put in. I would say that running in the Marathon itself also seems insignificant except that the money I raise will go towards something good—research for a cure, and helping out families dealing with blood cancers. Suffice it to say, I will have Kyra in my mind as I run Boston, and I will sport her name during the race.
As of this writing, I am 79% of the way towards my fund raising goal. If you have not allocated your charity $ yet this year, please consider donating to this worthy cause. (I have paid my way to Boston, and 100% of the funds raised go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.)