Sunday, December 21, 2008

Over $4700 raised and 26.2 miles complete!!!

Team Tucson - on our way to the Pasta Party

Whew! It feels good to say that we raised over $4700 together for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Oh yeah, and I completed all 26.2 miles of the Nike Women's Marathon. Both were an uphill battle but definitely worth the effort!

On October 19, 2008, over 20,000 runners completed the Nike Women's Marathon or Half Marathon. Team Tucso
n had a great, but challenging, day! Our Team Marisa ran in honor of Marisa Gallego who lost her battle just six months before the marathon. We all carried Marisa in our hearts and minds throughout the day and I am happy to say that all 6 members of Team Marisa showed us their hearts that day and completed either the marathon or half marathon. I am still in awe of their strength.

I decided not to give you a blow-by-blow report of the day but give you a few highlights and some photos. I am also including a couple links to more photos: and

Even though we did hill training and I knew it was hilly San Francisco, I was more ch
allenged by the hills than I expected. However, the hills were definitely worth the views. We started before sunrise in Union Square in downtown San Francisco, ran to the Embarcadero, then ran along the bay to Golden Gate Park. At the top of a challenging hill, we got our first glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge. We were so lucky that the bridge was not fogged over and we got several great views as we ran closer and closer. I ran the first half (or so) of the race with my mentor Kristin and we stopped to take a couple pictures of ourselves in front of the Golden Gate Bridge. My friend Tracey says this makes me a penguin (as in a John Bingham penguin) and I told her that I've never denied I was a penguin. I think never completing a marathon in less than 5 hours probably means that you will always be a penguin. Like John says, waddle on friends! John Bingham was one of our speakers for the Team In Training pasta party the night before the race along with renowned women's marathoner Joan Benoit Samuelson (1984 Olympic Gold medalist).

I finished the marathon in 5 hours, 27 minutes and 53 seconds (check out my results here).
About 28 minutes slower than my goal of finishing in under 5 hours but I was so happy to see the finish line, I didn't even care. I struggled during the second half of the marathon. It was hard not to have my family, especially my husband Dan, there to cheer me on but my second family (Team In Training) provided great support. Over the last few miles of the race, I ran with or saw all 4 of the Tucson coaches and coach Ryan ran most of the last 2 miles of the race with me. I don't know that my butt could have made it across the finish line in the time it did if it hadn't been for them. And my mentor Kristin's dad was a fantastic substitute for my own dad. Kristin made sign for each of us and her dad stood along the race route holding the signs and cheering for all of us. He even decorated his jacket with our honored teammates! I got choked up seeing him around mile 16. It was also great to see the survivors out cheering for us. I think we all should cheer for them instead. I can run 26.2 but I don't know if I could make it through chemo.

I am sad to say that from the time I started training with Team In Training in late May, two of my honored teammates lost their battles, one in August and the other in November.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Kidnapped! Need your help ASAP!

My brother's beloved stuffed panda bear was kidnapped and is being held for $1,000,000,000 ransom. My brother is unable to pay the full amount. Won't you please help?

Ransom (aka a donation) can be paid at

Thursday, September 4, 2008

We've got Spirit, yes we do!

16 Miles Down... 26.2 still to go!!!

We completed our 16 mile run. I am not going to say it was easy but... 3 of us completed all 16 miles. I ran further on the Rillito River path than I've ever run before. I have run further distances a few times but I usually doubled back in a section to complete the miles. This time, we ran all the way to Swan. One of the bridges over the river had a pretty steep incline and decline so that was an interesting challenge when you are at about 9 or 10 miles into the run. I guess it's good practice for San Francisco, right? There were a few people that are doing the marathon that only did 14 miles instead of the 16 (our mileage for the day was 14-16 but I usually do the longest distance). I kept thinking to myself after I heard that that those people will have a harder time in a couple weeks when we are supposed to do 18 miles.

After our 16 miler, our coaches greeted me with the "Spirit Quilt". A friend of TNT makes a quilt for each traning "season" and the one you see pictured above is the one for the fall season. Most of the people I am training with are doing the Nike Women's Marathon or half marathon but we have a couple people doing the Maui Half Marathon. So this is our quilt for our season. It must have taken a ton of work because it actually mimics the logo for the Nike Women's Marathon. Also featured on it is our honored teammate, Marisa Gallego. As I mentioned in one of my previous blogs, our training is dedicated to her memory. She lost her battle in April and several of her family members are training with us for Nike. I get to keep the quilt for a week and then it goes to someone else.

Also, some of our Saturday runs with Team in Training have been at Sabino Canyon. Since Dan & I moved to Tucson over 4 years ago, we have a list of local places that we keep meaning to visit but have not yet. Sabino Canyon is one of those places. Well, now I have been but it's still on Dan's list. Literally, we run in the canyon, which has a paved path for 3.7 miles. However, it's hilly. And did I mention we have to run through water? Because it is a canyon, at certain times of the year, the water runs over the man-made bridges. This was the case with 2 of the 8(?) bridges and we ended up running through the water 6 times to get our 10 miles in for the day. The first time I went through it, I was kind of mad. I could feel the water sloshing around in my shoes and I was worried about blisters. But as the run/walk (there are some HILLS) went on, I found the water refreshing. We'll be going back one more time, I think. I missed the first couple visits there because they happened to be when Dan & I were on vacation. Next time, I will bring my camera so you can see the beauty. Oh, and since we are in the canyon, nearly all of the run is shady. I love shade!

Monday, August 18, 2008

I am fast like Michael Phelps?

Photo courtesy of Mark Schiefelbein

Like most Americans, watching the Olympics on TV has filled much of my free time during the past week & a half. So much so, I found myself staying up until 11:30pm or midnight to watch swimming, gymnastics, etc and found myself exhausted and not wanting to get up to run at 5am. I also found myself with a sinus infection this past week which gave me horrible sinus pressure, so bad at one point it made me nausous (no, I am NOT pregnant!). I am trying to get rid of it with over-the-counter medication so that I don't have to take antibiotics if I don't need to.

Speaking of the Olympics, I am insanely jealous that my brother Mark & my sister-in-law Didi are there. Mark got to see Michael Phelps win his last 3 medals and has some amazing photos of the events he's attended (visit Didi's blog at to see some of his photos). Didi is working for the Associated Press and by the end of August will have spent 4 months in Beijing covering the Olympics & other stories leading up to the Games.

So back to my headline... I ran on Saturday with Team In Training for the first time in three weeks. (I was on vacation for 2 Saturday runs & missed last weeks because I felt like I was coming with a cold or something.) Our scheduled run for Nike full-marathoners was 12-14 miles and I usually try to push myself to go the furthest distance. My occasional running buddy Emily was not there so I took off by myself. Even though we meet at 5:30am, it was another hot and humid morning. I was getting tired toward the last 3-4 miles but I made myself keep moving - partially because I found it's easier to keep running than walk and try to get moving again & partially because it was sunny (not a cloud in the sky) and hot so I wanted to get back as soon as I could.

What we typically do is run one way to a certain point, turn around & run to another point and then come back to where we started to get our full mileage. About halfway through the mileage, I hadn't seen another TNT person or coach for a couple miles. I was worried that I had heard the trunaround points wrong. Once I got close to the second turnaround point, I saw our water station and was a little less concerned. Usually I see other people during the course of my run but had only seen Carolyn (a Maui half-marathoner who runs different distances than the rest of us) about 3 miles before the turnaround point. Once I turned around, I expected to see other TNT runners within a few minutes. I did not see anyone for over a mile after I turned around! Which meant I was over 2 miles ahead of everyone! I was shocked since I felt like I had slowed down after my first 3-4 miles and usually was much closer to the other TNT members.

I finished my 14 miles in about 2:50 (my watch didn't pick up the satellite until I was already running for a couple minutes so I don't know my exact time). This is a little over a 12-minute mile pace, a pace I have run faster than other times. However, I finished about 20-25 minutes before any of the other marathoners. How am I that much faster than the rest of them? I've seen some of the other participants finish ahead of me and usually the mentors finish ahead of me too.

So am I fast like Michael Phelps? No! But apparently I am faster than the other Tucson TNT participants, at least on August 16th I was.

Now for the fundraising update: I received a donation in the mail from my grandpa & step-grandma this week. If I didn't know it would cause more trouble, I would mail it back to her. After all, I am doing this for her and others like her! The $250 check also included a note that made me tear up a bit.
Another $80 this past week came from Dan's birthday party (aka The Beer Olympics). Dan decided that the money people gave for the keg should go to LLS. So if you came to the party & didn't contribute to the keg, make a donation on my website at
Thanks to everyone for their support & contributions. It's not too late to make a dontation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society! We are still only halfway to our goal!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

New Honored Teammates & Technical Issues

I planned to write an update before Dan's and my vacation to the upper Midwest but time was not my friend. So this blog covers about 3 weeks.

First, the newest honored teammates:

Cindy Wool - my dentist's good friend is at TMC awaiting a bone marrow match after her recent leukemia diagnosis
(name to be added, can't remember) - my co-worker Joseph Espinoza-Gonzales' cousin who lost his battle with leukemia last week

Both of these stories touched me when I heard about them. Joseph's family was hopeful when his cousin first received the diagnosis a couple months ago. These lives and the lives of others just like them is why we need to find a cure for blood cancers (and ALL cancers). No more lives should be cut short by a cancer diagnosis! Together, we can make a difference through the donations we make towards research, patient & family support and the advocacy we do to get the word out to those around us. If you'd like to make a small difference today, you can make a donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society at

And now I will get down from my soap box and fill you in on the recent training experiences. Let me start by saying I thought the recent summer monsoons & accompanying humidity would prepare me for my visit to Wisconsin & Iowa. It kind of did...

On the first day of our trip to Wisconsin, I intended to get up & run the planned 12-14 miles. I got up at about 6:30am Wisconsin time (my usual 4:30am Tucson time) and left my Aunt Jan's house for my run. At the end of her street, I glanced down at my Garmin & it was off, which was weird because it had been on outside her house when I hit "start" at the beginning of my run. I charged my Garmin overnight before we left so I wouldn't need to bring the charger with me on the trip - we had enough charger between the cell phones, digital camera, etc. I turned it back on and it immediately died. I'd gotten the "low battery" warning when it turned on but have run for 4 hours after the low battery warning before so I figured I could make it through this run & some of the shorter ones. Boy was I wrong! Since I hadn't mapped a route in her neighborhood, figuring I would use my Garmin to figure out distance and make up a route as I went, I moved on to plan B. I figured if I ran for about 2 hours, I should be close to the 2 hour mark. About 2-3 miles (as best I can figure) from her house, I realized I hadn't brought GU or a Luna Bar with me so I had nothing to refuel my body halfway through my run. So I moved to plan C and decided to run for an hour to hour and a half. I think I ended up running about 6 miles but I am not sure. I wasn't able to drive my route later to check.

Needless to say, since Dan & I were visiting family & staying with them, I didn't run as much as I planned.

This past Friday, the day before gorgeous bride Inga's wedding to Soren, I ran with my father-in-law Dennis, my brother-in-law Trevor (aka the Marine), and the father of the groom Rex. I told Dennis that I needed to do a 10 to 12 mile run & he told me he had a route planned in McGregor. We met at 6:30am, although I didn't get as much sleep as I'd planned since we spent a lot of time the night before hanging out at the Hattery's (Dan's mom's side of the family) Riverhouse on the Mississippi. I was greeted by heavy humidity (I was ON the Mississippi so I should have expected it) and a pack of runners a bit faster than myself. I was contantly bringing up the rear but resisted the urge to try to keep up because I knew that would only spell trouble. After we ran down picturesque Main Street McGregor, we ran through some of the surrounding neighborhoods and up an insane hill. I felt like I was crawling up the hill but couldn't keep my breath steady (I guess even though I missed our Sabino Canyon training, I got my own hill training). Since the hill also was curvy, there were times when I couldn't see the others. However, when I got to the top they were all waiting & cheering for me. I really appreciated their support, even though I am sure Dan's brother was annoyed by my slowness. He's used to PT with the Marine Corps and I couldn't keep up with the rest.

That morning, the humidity really zapped me. I struggled through the second half of the 11 miles I eventually ran, even walking for about a 1/3 to 1/2 mile stretch. But I finished & finished strong. I purposely planned the run for Friday so I would be fresh & rested for the wedding & reception on Saturday. What a great time we had. It was fantastic to see Inga & Soren get married. I love those two, they are awesome. Since the very first time I met Inga, I loved her and it's impossible not to love her (and Soren). I am sad the DJ did not have Perry Como's "Papa Loves Mambo" for Dan & I to dedicate to them. There's a special memory of the 4 of us tied to that song.

I resolve to complete the rest of my training program in it's entirety. I can't keep cutting corners & skipping days of training. Those with cancer don't get to skip a day, why should I? Remember, you can make a difference & donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Please see the blog titled " Newsletter Vol. 1" for more information about Leukemia & Lymphoma Society & Team In Training

Dan during the Leinenkugel''s Brewery Tour
Me during the New Galrus Brewery tour (no, I didn't partake in the tasting)
Dan's happy place - boating on the Mississippi
Dan & our niece Alex
The Riverhouse
Inga & Soren as husband & wife
Lynn (mother of the bride), Inga & Alex

Soren, Inga, Dan & me (Is it just me or do I look chubby?)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Spanglish, hills & humidity

I am attempting to post updates to training & fundraising each week. Together, we will make it across the start & finish line of the Nike Women's Marathon and work towards finding a cure for blood cancers!

Total miles for the week: 10
Total miles since June: ???

This Saturday marked the first day of hill training - which was a surprise to me! Since we will encounter hills in San Francisco, it is important for us to include some hills in our training. For the past couple weeks, our Team In Training group meets at 5:30am to try to avoid some of the Tucson summer heat. However, it is currently monsoon season too so there is a new factor in our training - humidity! Every morning (which this past week was only Saturday - bad training week due to weather-related sinus pressure) when I get up to run, I turn on the weather channel to see what the conditions are like. Much to my shock & horror this Saturday at 5:00am, it was 75 degrees (not bad) with 85% humidity. Wait a minute! Did I read that right? 85% humidity with a dew point of 70?!?!? Yes, it was that humid and we were hill training!

The hill training was not as bad as I thought it might be. For those of you in Tucson or familiar with Tucson, we ran along the Rillito River Park from Children's Memorial Park (where we meet every Saturday morning) to First Ave. From there, we ran up the east side of First Ave, past River Rd to Via Entrada. Via Entrada is about halfway between River and Orange Grove with pretty much a steady uphill. I told myself that I wanted to run the whole distance of the uphill to Via Entrada. Other than having to deal with concrete and running a bit in the bike lane, I made it up the hill without any issues!!

At the top of the hill, I was met by Coach Ashley, who directly us where to go. For the next mile & a half, we ran through through the hilly neighborhood on Via Entrada. Gorgeous neighborhood, I wish I had the money to afford a place along there! I am including the graph from the data my Garmin watch picked up. The blue line is my pace & the green line is elevation. You can see that much of the first half of the 10-mile run was the hill training portion.
After the run, I had to book it home because Dan & I were having a yard sale to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Being the loving, supportive husband that he is, Dan agreed to get the signs up and get things started while I was finishing my run. He had the great idea to put most of the stuff in plastic Rubbermaid tubs we normally use for moving or storage and label each tub with a price. This made it soooo much easier to set up but required some work on my part during the week. Mom, Tracey & Dianna all donated items for me to sell at the yard sale. Thanks guys for your support! I got a head-start on the yard sale by taking the nicer, name-brand items to Plato's Closet and I got $41.75! Then Dan & I sold almost $200 worth of stuff (literally that's what it was - stuff) at the yard sale, along with a number of Pepsis for 50 cents & bottled water for $1. The grand total for this fundraiser = $236.80!!! Not bad for a few hours work. But we still have a long way to go to reach the $5000 goal.
Dan got to practice his Spanglish. We had a number of pick-up trucks with Sonoran license plates stop. Luckily, I can understand some basic Spanish & I know 1-10! But Dan did most of the negotiating in Spanish. Thank you 7 months of working in Eloy and 2 years of high school Spanish!

Earlier this evening, I met a few people from Team In Training for optional hill training at Tumamoc Hill. Some of the more adventurous people actually run up to the top but I am more than OK with walking to the top & running down. Running down the steep inclines definitely works my muscles in a new way! I included my Garmin graph from a couple weeks ago. You can see the change in elevation over the course of a little over a mile!
Also during the week last week, Dan, the cats & I had a bit of excitement. Rory (our little 6-pound cat) tracked a VERY large bug from the hallway to the living room. It actually flew & Dan though it might be a bird. No, it was just the hugest bug I have ever seen in our house. Below is a picture of Rory trying to get it after it landed on our speaker. Sitting above it (not in this pic) are our Wii-motes and the bug is almost as big as one of them. I would say the bug was between 6 & 8 inches! Dan & I both looked it up online and it is a Palo Verde Beetle. It actually snapped & hissed at Dan & Rory. I was a huge girl & sat on the couch, praying that Dan would take care of it (and I snapped the picture).

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Newsletter Vol. 1, Issue 1

Why Team In Training and Leukemia & Lymphoma Society?

What is Team In Training?
In 1988, a team of 38 runners in West Chester County, NY train for the New York City Marathon while raising $320,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Their nickname Team In Training (TNT) stuck. Since 1988, over 340,000 people have raised over $800 million in support of TNT’s mission: cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life for patients and their families. Participants train for an endurance event - marathon, half marathon, triathlon or century (100-mile) bicycle ride - while raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Each participant is paired with an Honored Teammate, someone locally whose life has been affected by a blood related cancer.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is the world's largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education and patient services. The mission of LLS is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. Since its founding in 1949, LLS has invested more than $550 million for research specifically targeting blood cancers. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has 68 chapters throughout the US & Canada and is headquartered in White Plains, NY.

Your 100% Tax-Deductible Donation
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society uses the donations for a variety of purposes.
“The Society is committed to curing leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma, and helping patients and their families. The support you provide is invested wisely.

Why I Joined Team In Training
Joining Team In Training is something I wanted to do for quite some time. My mom, Linda Schiefelbein, participated with the Phoenix-area chapter for the past year.
Throughout my life, I’ve known a few people whose lives were affected by one of the blood cancers, most notably my step-grandmother Lorraine. She’s battled multiple myeloma for the past several years. My training for the Nike Women’s Marathon is nothing compared to the marathon fight she’s been through.
I can only hope to be as strong as her. She is with me in spirit each time I run for this cause and she will be with me when I cross the finish line of the Nike Women’s Marathon on October 19th in San Francisco.
I raise money for LLS so other families do not have to endure what Lorraine has gone through.
I run and train in honor and memory of your loved ones. Please share their names with me & I will carry them with me as I run.

A Lasting Piece of Your Generosity
For each individual or family donating $50 or business donating $150, you will help create a quilt that will be donated to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and will be used at a treatment center.
You will be sent a 6.5" square to decorate how you please (or I will help you) and it will be included in the final quilt. The quilt will be designed and assembled by me. It will be similar in design to the one pictured here. I plan to make the quilt in TNT green and purple, as well as represent the ribbon colors of each disease.
You will also receive a photo of your quilt square and the quilt itself. Please make sure to email me your contact information after your donation at If you donate $100, you have the option to decorate 2 quilt squares, $150 = 3 quilt squares, etc.

Check with your employer to see if they make matching funds donations. You can double or triple your contribution.

How YOU can help
MAKE A DONATION TO THE LEUKEMIA & LYMPHOMA SOCIETY! Check the cushions of your couch, I’ll bet you find some change. Every dollar can make a difference! Please look in your heart (and wallet) to find $5, $10 or $20 to donate. I committed to raising at least $4200 for LLS, and I appreciate all the assistance. I would love for you to donate $50 but $5 is all I am asking. Please join me in this effort to help save lives and find a cure for blood cancers.
There are 2 easy ways to donate by July 18*:
1. Visit my donation page at
2. Fill out the form included with the letter and mail it back to me with your check to LLS.
I would love to run in honor or in memory of your loved ones. Please let me know your loved ones names and I will carry them with me throughout training and race day.

*Donations can be made after July 18 but I want to make my fundraising goal early so I can focus on training.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Honored Teammates

Below is a list of the honored teammates that I run and train for:
Names of your family and friends will be added to this list if you desire me to run & train in their honor or memory

Lorraine Anderson - my step-grandmother - multiple myeloma
Chris Freeman

Team Tucson Honored Teammates:

Marisa Ann Gallego - lost her battle with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) on April 18, 2008.
Our training season is dedicated to her memory. Five of her family members train with us for the Nike Women's Marathon.
"Our Honored Teammate
August 20, 1991 – April 18, 2008

Marisa Ann Gallego was an excelling junior, at Mountain View High School.

On May 29, 2007, Marisa Ann Gallego was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) which is a fast growing cancer of the blood and bone marrow. She had to undergo five rounds of chemotherapy. The chemotherapy left Marisa unable to fight any type of infection. She was in and out of the hospital after her diagnosis. Marisa was in remission in November, December and January. In February, Marisa was to have her stem cells harvested and frozen in the case that the cancer would return. Unfortunately the Leukemia had returned and again Marisa was given chemotherapy, the chemo did not put her in remission so she got another round within two weeks. Her blood count would not return to normal, she was transferred to the Bone Marrow Transplant Center were she was to receive a blood cord transplant, but as they prepared her they found that her heart was failing. They put her in ICU on April 16th and put her in on a ventilator to give her heart a break, her organs began to shutdown and on April 18th we learned that her Leukemia had returned and her breathing tube was removed. Marisa was sixteen years old.
Marisa was a very special young lady she touched the lives of all those she met. Even with all the pain she was going through she always had enough strength to give everyone that would come her way a smile."

Dawn Kulesa - diagnosed with Stage IV Non Hodgkin’s Follicular Lymphoma on June 5, 2007
Dawn is a former member of Tucson TNT and was diagnosed just weeks after completing the Big Sur Marathon.

Gabbi Martin - Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
"Hi! My name is Gabbi. I am 10 years old. I am a survivor of Leukemia. I was 3 years old when I was diagnosed. I have been in remission for over 7 years. I enjoy soccer, swimming, and dance. In the fall, I will be in the 7th grade. My favorite subjects in school are reading, spelling, writing, math, PE and music. At school I am in the Write Right club where I write articles for the Bear Essential Newspaper. I’ve had numerous articles published and I’ve also been on television a few times."

Alexandra (Alex) Stuetze - Lymphoma (PTLD)
June 21, 1993 - October 19, 2006
"This morning (10/19/06) the world as we know it came to a screeching halt. Our beautiful angel girl Alex left us. Our lives will never be the same as we move forward. She invariably changed each of us she met. Nothing could express what is in my heart, as I know she touched each of you as well. Alex has been the light in my world for the past 13 years illuminating my way each day of my life. October 19th will forever be remembered as the day our Angel face left us, our piece of heaven on earth. Hopefully each of us takes away some beautiful part of her, a memory, a moment where you saw in her face a glimpse of heaven. Our lives will never be the same. May her light, love, beauty, bravery and unselfish nature remain in each of us as a reminder.
Elizabeth Stuetze"

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The reason I run

I want to tell you about my newest endeavor. On October 19, 2008, I will participate in the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco, all 26.2 miles. This marathon will be the most special for me and my family. Together with your love, support and encouragement, we will cross the finish line together in San Francisco.

Yes, the scenery will be gorgeous, and a little hilly, but that is not the important part. The important part is that I joined Team In Training and committed myself to raising a minimum of $4200 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). I would love to raise at least $5000 though.

The funds we raise for LLS will go towards finding a cure for the various blood cancers.This is where your help will be greatly appreciated by me and the families that the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society helps. The dollar (or many dollars) you donate could be the dollar that finds a cure or a new treatment. Your tax-deductible donation can make a huge difference

Here's why this cause is so important to my family. My step-grandma Lorraine was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma several years ago. She is a huge trooper and is still with us today. We've watched her go through rounds of treatment for her disease. She spent a recent Thanksgiving in a hospital bed instead of around the dining room table with her family. Although her nurses were quite happy to see us when we showed up with Thanksgiving dessert (yes, including pumpkin pie!) for the entire floor! Holidays with a huge family dinner are some of Lorraine's favorite days. Many memories of mine involve her coming out of the kitchen to greet us prior to a holiday meal, making an entire serving bowl of mashed potatoes for my brother, and making a batch of fudge just for me (although to this day I haven't had the heart to tell her I prefer it without nuts). Lorraine's treatments have left her with severe osteoporosis and glaucoma. But still she looks forward to spending time with my cousins and step-cousins, who range in age from 3 to 13 (and then there are the adult grandkids like me). I don't know where she finds the energy sometimes. And honestly sometimes she doesn't. She has good days and bad days but looks forward to spending time with her family.

Other families should not have to go through what mine and friends of mine (like Jami) have gone through. This is why I joined Team In Training and am raising funds for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Again, here's where you come in. Your tax-deductible donation can make a difference.Please visit my donation page at
Together we can make a difference; one dollar and one mile at a time.

I got this email recently from Lorraine. I'll admit, I got a bit choked up when I read it. OK, I cried a bit.
Dear Jennifer,

Your e-mail has touched me in so many ways. I'd be so proud of you & your running accomplishments regardless of the cause. The fact that you are running in my honor & doing so to help me and others battle cancer makes this much more than an athletic feat. You make me so proud of your strength and commitment that it adds to my own. We will be sending a donation shortly and hopefully, more in the future
Love, GrandmaRaine

She is proud of ME? In my mind, she is the one that we should all be proud of, not the other way around.

(Remember, if you are friends with Jessica Salomon, she also also raising money for LLS with Team In Training. Please share your donation between the two of us. Visit her donation page at