I just had my headshots taken for Eagle Magazine (I'm a writer on their publications team) by a young man I had never met before. While setting up for my session, I noticed his shoes. They were the same shoes I wore to train for, and eventually complete, my marathon in October. I pointed this out. Here's how the conversation went:
Me: "Hey, I have those same shoes!"
Him: "Yeah? Don't you love them?"
Me: "Yes! I ran my first marathon in them in October. So know that they will hold up for you."
Him: "Wait, are you the staffer that wrote the story about the man who runs to raise money for people with cancer?"
Me: "YES! That's the group I trained and ran with! We train for endurance events in exchange for raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Have you heard of them?"
Him: "No. But my daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia in October."
Me: "Oh, I am so sorry to hear that! How old is your daughter?"
Stories like this are all too common. It breaks my heart to hear that his daughter is living her life in a hospital, hooked to machines and receiving medication that causes so much good, but so much damage in her little body. I hurt for his family, having to be strong, but having to deal with the unknown- what does this mean for her future, what does this mean for her family? I can't help but focus on the fact that she is the same age as my niece. Her father shared with me her blog that her mom is keeping as a journal. I visited it after he left, and sat with tears at my desk.
She instantly reminded me of my niece. How would I handle getting the news that my niece, this little bundle of love that I treasure so much, is sick? I pray that I never have to know. I pray that no other parent, aunt, grandparent, cousin, brother, sister, friend or otherwise will ever have to hear that someone they love is sick. I'm tired of it. I'm ready for the world to be rid of cancer.
This is why I train. I feel like I have to do something... anything. I feel like by raising this money, and staying focused on the task at hand, I can somehow make a small difference. And with the thousands of people across the nation who are making this same small difference, it adds up to one BIG difference.
Together we can help. Together we can make a difference. Together we can save lives.
Would you like to make a difference with me? Please do so, here.