This is a guest post by Tina Benigno, who will be running the Rock’n’Roll SanDiego Marathon on June 5, 2011 for Team in Training.
At the age of fourteen, my best friend was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. At the time she was undergoing treatment, there wasn’t much I could do except be there as her friend. Thanks to research on leukemia and lymphoma, my friend has been in remission for over thirteen years! Unfortunately, not everyone has the same story. A little boy whom I used to coach in gymnastics passed away from leukemia a few years ago at the age of four. I knew his family, and the thought of what they endured breaks my heart. Also, my sister’s boyfriend’s father passed away from Leukemia last year. This winter I decided that I could actually contribute to the leukemia and lymphoma research that enabled my friend to be in great health for so long now!
I was already a runner training for my first marathon when I received a Team in Training (TNT) pamphlet in the mail this past January. On a whim, I signed up for an information meeting. I had been contemplating joining a running group, so when I learned that TNT would offer the support of a team, the guidance of a coach, and the opportunity to contribute to a cause I have always believed to be a worthy one, I knew I wanted to be a part of the group.
Though I have been running for a year and a half, my perspective on running changed over a year ago when my younger sister was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma. I had begun running as a way to improve my health and mental functioning. Rarely did I think of my sheer ability to run as a motivator to do so. The treatment my sister underwent was aggressive and involved several months of chemotherapy as well as surgery to remove most of her femur, replacing it with a donor bone. The surgery left her unable to walk at the time and we knew it would be a long process for her to be able to be fully mobile like she used to be.
Running took on a different role in my life. I would run because I could. Seeing the effects of chemo on my sister’s body reminded me of how fragile life is, but also how resilient – both mentally and physically – we can be. Thanks to cancer research, my sister has been in remission for several months now. As I am training for the marathon, she is learning to walk again.
Advances in blood cancer research are crucial to improving treatment of all types of cancers. I am delighted to be a part of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada’s Team in Training, raising funds for such a wonderful cause.
“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” -Goethe
If you, or someone you know, is Running for a Reason, please send your story to firstname.lastname@example.org and we might feature it right here on this blog!