In 2013, I joined Team In Training to honor the memory of my parents, John and Shirley – I lost both of them to lung cancer. Even though I didn't have a direct link to blood cancers, I choose to fundraise for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) because they invest in groundbreaking research that can help lead to treatments for others cancers and diseases as well.
My first season with Team In Training was incredible on many levels. I met some amazing people, learned about the impact LLS has had on cancer, and ran my very first half marathon, which happened to be on the same day as my parent’s anniversary. At first, I was terrified to ask people for money, but I ended up raising $7,000 and went from having no direct connections to blood cancer to many. I learned that I can make a difference.
Initially, I didn’t plan to participate in more than one event but since then, I have run three more half marathons, two full marathons, a century ride, two Olympic triathlons, and a half Ironman Triathlon. Lavaman 2018 will be my third Olympic distance triathlon and then I'll begin training for my twelfth Team In Training event, Ironman Chattanooga, which is on my mom’s birthday.
I come back each season for the people who are currently battling and those who we have lost. I have met people who are living now because of the people who came before me, raised money, and funded the treatments that enabled those honorees to survive. I’m not a doctor or scientist but I can swim, bike, run, and raise money. The money needed to fund research for cures and provide services to patients and their families. I will continue to do events as long as I can, or until we find the cures we need. I want a world without cancer.