Saturday, May 1, 2010

Event #39, Mount Holly Springfest 5K, Saturday May1

Holy cow - it's May 1st. How did THAT happen? Man the year has flown by, the year of the 40 in 40 and 2010 so

We've raised over $30,000 (by my count with what is outstanding in terms of posted items and matching gifts, etc) $32,681...unbelievable. I am in awe of the generosity and support of my family, friends, co-workers, and even complete strangers. Thank you all. It has been an adventure that has made my 40th year one I will never forget.

So - got up a little extra early to apply my much promised purple and green TnT colors face my entire head. Besides some smearing and not quite 100% straight lines, it actually was pretty easy....and Sheila thought it was hilarious. Maggie wasn't real sure what to make of it - she went and hid under the bed.

As I arrived at the race site, I got several sideways glances and odd looks. I just smiled. Someone who was doing her first 5K in over 3 years, finally asked..."So did you lose a bet or something?"

Nope - I WON a bet. I explained the 40 in 40 to her - she was complimentary of the adventure. AS I checked in, same thing "So what happened?" Then the radio announcer came up and asked. HMMM - maybe I should have been doing this all along.

The race director came up and asked me about it (we had emailed a few weeks ago about the race) and he said "We have to have you get up and say a few words!"

GULP...I stammered and was like UMM, OK. So what to say?

I got up and explained why the purple and green, and no, I did not lose a bet, no I am not an alien, no I am not sick (one kid thought I was green because I was sick...) When I explained what I was doing, where I had been - and what we have done - over $30K - there was a lot of applause. I had an opportunity to thank Sheila for her patience, and my sponsors, Karhu/Craft and TrySports.

So off to race...It was a loop course, with a nice downhill at the start, but that meant an uphill climb for the finish.

Mile one was a bit too fast, mile 2 went through a recently developed and reclaimed park in Mount Holly - and mile three point 1 was as promised...flat to down to start, then a climb to the finish. As I either passed folks, or got passed - I got a lot of "great job", "good luck with the last race" and a few "thank you for what you are doing"...

There were three young boys who raced today - two brothers, placed 3rd and 1st in their age group - who came up to me after the race and asked more about what I was doing. I find it fascinating that these young boys - who were probably more interested in the fact that they placed in their age group and what kind of mischief they were going to get into this afternoon - spent a bunch of time talking to me. They were very nice and seemingly impressed with the races.

Everyone after the race was kind as well and were encouraging.

Today's race is dedicated to the memory of Steven Smith and to his family. I learned about Steven and his family's story when I reached out to a donor,who had commented on my donation page about her brother's battle and the son of a friend of hers, who has fought the battle and lost. Steven, the father of four very young children was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease in June 2004. Here is some more information from Steven's mother who (along with her husband and a daughter) are Team in Training Alums - and Steven's sister Kimberly is a Coach with Team in Training.

Steven’s story is a long one, as they all seem to be . He was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease in June, 2004, underwent various types of chemo to no avail, and finally entered a trial at Sloan Kettering in August of 2005. And again he underwent brutal chemo in preparation for a stem cell transplant. I don’t know how familiar you are with transplants, but the patient suffers terribly. And the parents watching over him are reduced to silent weeping, as there is nothing you can do. The transplant was done on November 9, 2005, but was unsuccessful, as we found out in February of 2006. From that point on it was a matter of keeping Steven alive for as long as possible, as he was the father of four very young children. Steven died at home with family right there on November 6, 2006, a few days shy of his 36th birthday.

Kathy and her husband, along with one of their daughters, Kimberly, ran the Nike Women’s race in San Francisco in 2008 as Team In Training participants, and are doing the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon with their other daughter, Kate, this fall – this time a relay – again for Team In Training.

The pictures included in this blog post are of Steven and his wife, Mija’s, children taken in 2004, just after the diagnosis, a photo of Kathy and Tacitus Bond taken the morning of the Nike run in San Francisco. Where they each did a half. Steven's sister Kimberly is a coach for Team and Training and has done lots of marathons, including Boston – one photo is of Kathy and Kimberly, taken in 2006, when they first trained for SF, but Kathy did not go due to Steven’s condition. And there is also a photo of Steven with the four kids taken in March 2006.

The Bond's strength and support for their family leaves me in awe of their resilience - and ongoing dedication to support the LLS through their TnT events - to hopefully one day, find a cure for blood cancers.

Kathy said in her email to me - "you are a remarkable person" - no - Kathy, Tacitus and their daughters and the memory and family that Steven leaves with me - and I expect all of you - they are truly remarkable.



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