Zero to Hero
Like I've said before, this is my fourth time taking part in Team in Training and my fourth time raising money to fight blood cancers.
I don't think about it much, but the reason why I take part in these events is for very personal reasons: I have lost too many people in my life to cancer and know far too many people who are living with and fighting the good fight against a cancer diagnosis.
My grandfather (on my mums side) died of colon cancer in 1978 or 79 (I need to ask my mum about the exact date sometime). I'm bummed I never got to meet him becuase everyone seemed to like him. He was a veteran and worked as a milk man after the war.
My grandmother (again, on my mums side), was diagnosed with lymphoma (the specific kind I don't know, she was British and didn't talk too much about her diagnosis) in the early 90s. Thankfully, she survived the disease after a round of treatment. She was cancer free until 2006 when she relapsed. Already in her 80s and not wanting to go through treatment again, she decided face cancer head on. While she lost the battle against cancer, she fought the battle on her terms. Watching her pass away and do it without fear was a huge influence on me. I'd always been terrified of cancer, but at that point I stopped being afraid of it and years later channeled her bravery to start with TNT
So in 2006, I lost my grandmother to lymphoma and in 2014, my mum was out for a visit and was having a lot of abdominal pain. She could barely walk and it was a bit terrifying for her and us. She put up with the pain for a long time and finally it was diagnosed as a kidney stone and they ended up operating on her and removing it. The pain went away. Unfortunately, that wasn't the end of the story. She learned shortly after that she too had lymphoma, just like her mother. Learning that a parent has cancer (or any other serious illness) puts a lot of stuff in perspective. For the first time in my life, I was genuinely scared that I could lose a parent. On top of a diagnosis of cancer, I live on the other side of the continent from her and in a different country. It's tough to try to be there for someone when you're so far away.
Becuase of the distnace, I figured I'd do whatever I could to support my mum as she lives with lymphoma. Joining Team in Training and raising money to find cures for blood cancer seemed like a good way to go about it.
It's been over 3 years since she was diagnosed and until recently hadn't started any sort of treatment. In September of 2017 she finally started treatment after a few lymph nodes in her abdomen grew a bit more than the doctors wanted. I was lucky enough to be able to go home for two weeks in early October to drive her an hour each way to treatment every day. While the circumstances weren't ideal, we both enjoyed spending the time in the car driving back and forth with each other.
So my mum is the reason why I'm taking part in this event every year, however, along the way I've collected quite a few honorees. Honorees are survivors, people currently fighting cancer or whose battle with the disease has ended. In my family, I have my Uncle Bryan who has prostate cancer, my Aunt Denise (not precisely sure what kind of cancer, but it's inside the connective tissue between her organs) and my Aunt Jean, who has survived breast cancer. Thankfully these family members have all survived. I have a cousin who lost his battle earlier this year, his name was Parker and he fought hard against Lymphoma for over a year but eventually it overtook him and he passed. I've also got friends who have had or are still having their battles, John Gamez was diagnosed with testicular cancer a few years ago, Paul Pederson (a huge supporter of my fundraising for 3 years now) is currently fighting Pacreatic Cancer and has the best attitude of anyone I know. The diagnosis hasn't stopped him at all and he's still living life to the fullest while going through treatment.
So these are all the people who inspire me to raise money to fight cancer by taking part in Team In Training. If you'd like to join us in running, hiking, biking, swimming in an effort to cure cancer, check out Team In Training.
Zero to Hero