The motivation behind the miles

A lot of you know about my participation in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program and how I’m working with them for a second season and will finish the Country Music Half-Marathon on behalf of those who have struggled with blood cancers.

It’s amazing to me how many people I have met along the journey that have been affected by blood cancers in some way. Every story I hear is an added motivation for me to keep up with my fundraising or training. They sure do help give meaning to the early Saturday mornings too!

Just today I was reminded again of why I’m in this. One of my patients, a previously healthy 18 year old who just moved back to Nashville to be near family, has been a difficult case to diagnose. We joked that he was the “House” patient on the floor – as the medical team seemed to be testing him for all kinds of strange viruses and asking if he’d traveled to foreign countries or had any exposure to nontraditional animals/pets. As his dietitian, I worked with him to see what he felt he could eat – his illness had completely zapped his appetite. This morning, when I walked into the hospital at 7:15am, I went straight to the computer to look him up and check to see if the team had come up with a diagnosis. They were looking for Parvo virus, Epstein-Barr, and cytomegalovirus, among others. I was happy to see he was out of the intensive care unit, but when I saw he’d been transferred to the oncology floor of the childrens’ hospital, my heart sank. I remembered a bone marrow biopsy had been scheduled;  apparently leukemia is now the diagnosis. 

At lunch, I talked to one of my friends who’s covering the pediatric oncology floor. She had already talked to him – he wanted me to know that he did not enjoy the Strawberry-flavored Boost I sent (I told him it would be like a smoothie…), but he said he feels better than he did in the ICU. I believe chemo has already been scheduled. 

It comforts me to know that he’s in a top-notch academic medical center, and that survival rates of childhood leukemias have drastically improved in the past decades, with much thanks to the money that LLS has provided for ongoing research. And where has a lot of that money come from? The crazy people like us who train for marathons, triathlons and other endurance events and raise money while doing it. 

If you are at all interested in donating to this wonderful cause, please visit my website and make a donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. 75% of your donation (an impressive amount) goes straight to research and patient services.


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