Then, not long after that, in November of 2004, I had yet another blow. I received a phone call right before I had to go to work. My step brother, Carl, was in the hospital fighting for his life. A tumor no one knew he had suddenly crushed his windpipe and made it impossible for him to breath on his own. He had also been diagnosed with Lymphoma. Seeing him lying in a hospital bed with breathing tubes was a hard pill to swallow. Here was the boy who only a few years before had looked up at me with innocent eyes and asked me "Can I call you my big sister too?"
Both my dad and Carl are doing great. Daddy, beating the odds, is still terminal yet still fighting and refusing to give up. He's gone through chemo, radiation, experimental drugs, a stem cell transplant, and in January was lucky enough to receive a bone marrow transplant thanks to an anonymous donor. Carl is in remission and is living life as a normal seventeen year old boy, complete with driver's license and girlfriend!
However, the circle of life continues and every day someone else receives the terrifying news that they or a loved one has been diagnosed with a blood cancer such as leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma. Only a short while ago, a dear friend of mine e-mailed with the news that her fiance, Dominic, had been diagnosed with Lymphoma and was beginning treatments the following day.
It is for this reason that I am continuing my personal battle against these diseases by continuing to be a part of Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training. Team in Training fund raises for LLS while training to complete endurance events such as marathons, triathlons, and century bike rides. The money raised by Team in Training athletes goes towards funding the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's mission: to find a cure for blood cancers and to improve the quality of life of patients and their families. This season will be my fourth season with this amazing group and I will be training to complete the Disney half marathon in January 2009. More than 823,000 Americans are battling blood cancers. I am hoping that my participation in Team In Training will help bring them hope and support.
Alex, a teenager in Titusville who is in remission from Leukemia, will be our team's honorary coach. Alex has worked with Team in Training for many years and is a great inspiration to all of us as we train and run our events. His smiling face is a great sight at the finishline.
My goal is to raise $3,000 or more by this Christmas. While I plan to have many fundraising events such as garage sales and bucket drops, I am also asking for the help of my family and friends. If it is within your means and in your hearts to do so, please make a tax deductible donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma society in support of my efforts by visiting