At tonight’s Team in Training “Inspiration Dinner” we were brought in to the dining hall by cheering staff and coaches in costumes with noise-makers, pom-poms, tu-tus, and so much purple it was hard to look. I had no idea it would be like that and if I wasn’t so confused, I would have been emotional. That came later.
There are 232 participants from all over North America with Team in Training. Collectively, we raised $769,000! There was a woman (who I can’t remember her job title or her name or even where she is from) who led the program, which was meant to inspire and make us remember why we did all the fundraising. She was very good at it. She talked about the research that has been funded by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and how they bridge the gap between academic researchers, Big-pharma, and bio-tech to get drugs tested properly and quicker than they would have otherwise. She gave us some pretty amazing stats about remission rates going up and the remission being longer.
She went through the Top 10 fundraisers, which were very impressive. The top fundraiser was someone who raised over $20,000! That is a LOT of bottle drives. There is a man from Michigan who has done 27 Team in Training events! Even hearing this was inspiring and amazing. However, the most emotional and inspiration part was coming up.
It started with a video about a little girl, who is now 3-years-old. Her name is Sara and her mom is running tomorrow for Team in Training. Sara has been going through treatment for the past year for leukemia (ALL). Her mother gave a very emotional picture of their year of treatment and basically the hell that she was living. She gave credit to TNT and her team for getting her out of the house, for giving her a way out of her head and her spinning negative thoughts and gave her hope and a sense of purpose against this horrible disease.
For the duration of her speech (at least 15 minutes), I sat at the table and cried. I was not the only one though. There were so many tears in that room because almost everyone there had been touched in some way by cancer or leukemia or blood cancer of some sort. MellowJohnny kept on giving me water and reminding me that I need to stay hydrated. It made me laugh and cry at the same time.
When Sara’s mom thanked us for doing what we have done, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. It really was truly inspirational.
I am so grateful and humbled for getting to run 26.2 miles tomorrow with the other 15,000 people running the Vancouver Marathon, and especially the 232 people who fundraised and trained for this even with Team in Training.