A few weeks ago, I signed up for Team in Training. For me, it’s one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done, but also one of the scariest.
Team in Training is an organization that works in conjunction with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in order to raise awareness and money for blood cancer research. When you sign up to be a part of Team in Training, you agree to raise money for the LLS and participate in an event of your choice – typically a marathon, half marathon, or triathlon. TNT provides a coach to help train you for the event. The event I signed up for the the Disney Princess Half Marathon.
Now, if you are new to the blog, I’d like to just give you a little bit of background on myself. I am a Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Survivor. I was diagnosed about three years ago, and after 6 months of chemo, I have been cancer free for 2 1/2 years. I found out about Team in Training during my treatments and have wanted to participate ever since. Why?
It’s definitely not because I like running. In fact, there might not be anything I like less than running, except maybe laundry. Nope, that’s not it.
Here’s the real reason I wanted to join TNT.
I have three kids.
When I found the lump in my neck, my youngest was about three weeks old, my middle child was only two and my oldest was almost eight. Of course the younger two were too little to understand what was going on, but my daughter was scared. She didn’t know what was going on and I didn’t know what to say to her. Sitting down with her, trying to find a way to explain to her what cancer is, what it can do, and that I had it was one of the hardest things I have ever done and in retrospect I probably did it all wrong.
We found out I had cancer on a Friday. My husband took me to the doctor. When we got home, he went into work, shared with his boss the situation and was immediately sent home. On Sunday, we went to church and I shared that I had been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I am a firm believer in the power of prayer and I wanted prayers right away. We had only lived in Arizona about three months so I was amazed at the outpouring of emotion I saw there. People were praying for me, hugging me, crying… there was an outpouring of emotion that was not at all what I had expected. Up until this point, I hadn’t really talked with my daughter about what was happening beyond saying I was sick, but when she saw people crying and hugging me, she started to realize the severity of the situation. At this point, I knew I should have talked with her prior to sharing it with other people. Hindsight is 20/20.
You never want to tell your kids you might be dying.
I didn’t want to scare her. I never mentioned the word cancer or talked about dying, although she eventually realized that lymphoma is cancer and cancer is deadly. But I never said I wouldn’t die either. I didn’t want to lie, and that’s a real possibility when you have cancer. Ultimately, I just shared that I had something called lymphoma, and that even though I didn’t look or feel sick right now, there was a sickness in my body that I had to fight. And that fight, going through chemo, was going to make me a lot sicker before I got better. I think presenting it that way was a good way to explain it – she was prepared for me to be sick and knew that it was normal, nothing to be scared about.
You should never have to tell your kids you have cancer.
We are in the age of information. Technology is never far from our fingertips, and a cure for cancer is out there, we just need to find it.
Now that we are past it, I have been trying to pay it forward. In the past, my husband, the kids, and I have participated in walks to raise money for Lymphoma research and I think it really increases their awareness of how many people this affects, but I wanted to do MORE. That’s why my personal goal is to raise around $5000 towards Lymphoma Research. Because I don’t want YOU to have to tell your children you have cancer and feel the uncertainty that I felt.
Being diagnosed with cancer is not something that just happened to us – it’s something that changed our lives – and from the other side of that journey, I can see that it was a blessing. But it’s only a blessing because of the treatments that I was able to recieve, treatments that got rid of my lymphoma, made possible by past donations to amazing orgnizations like the LLS and TNT. It’s only a blessing because I survived.
And that’s why I run. It’s not because I like running… it’s because I want everyone to LIVE. I don’t want anyone to experience what I did, being afraid you might die, having to tell your kids. I run so future generations can live.
How can you help?
1 – Donations
Of course, I appreciate your donations. Every little bit helps – $5, $10, $100 – I am grateful for it.
But over the next 6 months, I’m going to be getting really creative as I work to raise $5000. So in addition to making a donation, here are some other ways you can help.
2 – T-Shirts!
100% of the the profit raised from these T-shirt sales will be donated to the LLS Team in Training Program to help continue to find a cure for blood cancers!
Shirts are lavender burnout workout tees. On the back, it says “I ran and I ran and I ran every day, and I acquired this sense of determination, this sense of spirit that I would never, never give up, no matter what else happened. ~ Wilma Randolph” followed by the LLS Team in Training Logo. On the front, cancer survivors will have the word “survivor” printed on the front of their shirts. Shirts for non cancer survivors will be left blank on the front.
Shirts are $18 plus $5 shipping. If you would like to order more than one shirt, please contact me directly via facebook or at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can combine shipping for you and send you a custom invoice. Also, if you are local and would like to pick up your shirt in person, please contact me so I can waive shipping and send you a custom invoice.
You can order via this link: https://payableform.appspot.com/forms/79y82
3 – Dollar Days
Follow me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/amyelizabethallen) or Instagram (@amyallenfitness) to participate in Dollar Days once a month. Not sure what that is? Follow me to find out.
4 – More to come, I’m sure, as I figure out new ways to raise awareness and money!