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What Inspires Me

One day a few years ago, I felt like something needed to change. I am not and have never been an “athletic” person, but I decided I wanted to start running. I followed a couch to 5k plan and, before I knew it, I was running 3 miles at a time. I decided I wanted to go further and signed up for my first race, a half marathon.

Trying something new

At the race expo, I walked past a big purple booth with excited volunteers and stopped to check it out. It turned out to be Team In Training (TNT), the endurance training program of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Individuals who participate in TNT receive support from experienced coaches and peers to train for run/walks, cycling events, triathlons, hikes, all while raising money to find better treatments and cures for blood cancers. I had about 12 weeks to train with this amazing group of people while simultaneously raising money for a cause important to me and completing my own health and fitness goals.

Finding inspiration on the run

My first half-marathon was a success, but the best part was the individuals I met training with TNT. I went on to run several more 10-mile races and even a full marathon with TNT. Although I did not see myself as an athletic person, I became incredibly inspired by those I met to push harder than ever. I ran with many blood cancer survivors, who not only beat cancer but so much more.

I ran with a woman who had part of her lung removed due to side effects of treatment, and has run and walked many half and full marathons. Every time I felt out of breath, I remembered that I was lucky to be running with a full, healthy set of lungs. I ran with a man who had heart failure and went on to have a heart transplant; he now competes in triathlons and Ironman competitions across the country. Every time I felt tired on a run, I remembered that I was lucky to have a strong heart to keep me going. I ran with a man who has had a chronic form of blood cancer for years, yet he still runs home from the cancer center after treatment when he is able. Every time I felt weak, I remembered that I was lucky to wake up healthy and ready to run. And I ran with individuals who walked, slowly, sometimes with assistance but kept moving to get across the finish line.

A common goal of fundraising for blood cancer research

The survivors, supporters, and those of us who have lost loved ones to blood cancer all come together through TNT to form a team. We all have different stories and motivators but our common goal is to raise money for blood cancer research and turn our miles into milestones for others. And that team is what inspires me to push a little bit harder, go a little bit further, and give it 110%.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Blood-Cancer.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Ann Harper moderator
    1 month ago

    @alison-petok what an inspiring story. My daughter also took up running after treatments for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She is now a run coach and had started training people through her run club. I wish she had known about this group because I think it would have helped her to get stronger faster. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator
    1 month ago

    Thank you, for all that you do in fundraising. The efforts we put forth big or small mean a lot in helping the future of blood cancer research. Best!

  • Susan Gonsalves moderator
    1 month ago

    @alison-petok Thanks so much for talking about this program. At the moment battling torn tendons in my foot but I am interested in trying to get my strength back and exercising–even just walking more would be a start. You are very inspiring.

  • Ramae Hamrin moderator
    1 month ago

    Good for you for following the couch to 5K plan! I was a runner for most of my life and only stopped when I broke my hip because of blood cancer. I now have a rod in my leg, but I still hope to get back running when I am able. I would love to learn more about this TNT program! Thank you so much for raising money for blood cancer research and supporting LLS, a program that has helped many of us so very much!

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