My friend Basia was diagnosed with leukemia a few months ago. She's training for the half marathon in January, and I'm next to her every step of the way. Well, trying to be. She's pretty fast. In addition to running way more than I ever have in my life, I'm raising money for the amazing work that the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society does. If you'd like to donate, please click here
CONNECTION TO THE CAUSE
Today’s practice had us in Manhattan, running four miles up and down the West Side Highway. I was still sore from Wednesday night’s boot camp (walking lunges, frog jumps, squats, and other nightmares) but I didn’t feel anywhere near as sore as I did Thursday and Friday, when I clung to railings just to get up and down stairs. I managed to jog three miles today but then I had to walk the last mile. Basia ran the whole way, because she is a champ. She also enjoyed the boot camp training, but that’s because she is a psycho.
It was nice to meet some non-Brooklyn folks who are going to be running the Phoenix marathon in January. The really special part of today’s meeting happened after our run, though. Every Saturday we start off the practice with a “Mission Moment,” when we take a few minutes and someone shares a personal connection to the cause, reminding us of the real reason we’re doing this. Last week Basia spoke. Another time I’ll tell you a bit more of Basia’s story. I wish you could hear her tell it, though, because she’s got an awesome British accent and it makes everything that comes out of her mouth sound posh.
Today our Mission Moment was expanded a couple of hours. We met a scientist from Sloane-Kettering whose research receives money from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. He is also a cancer survivor of eight years. Honored teammates then came forward, talking about their battles with (and victories over) cancer, and why participating in Team in Training means so much to them. Then we watched an incredibly moving video taken by an eighteen year old leukemia survivor who now volunteers with children who have cancer. That pretty much left everyone in tears. Finally, we were invited to stand up and explain our connection to the cause.
I’m doing this because of my friend Basia. She’s the one who signed up for it, and to support her I joined up too. The truth is, much of the time I forget Basia is sick – especially when she’s running that last mile that I’m straining to walk. I’m also doing this in memory of three people I loved very much. Last year, they all died of cancer. Lauren, Don, Mr. Gilbert (my English teacher of three years, but so much more than that. Mr. Gilbert… I can’t begin to explain how important he is to me. But still, calling him Steve – which he invited me to do at a certain point, when I was years out of school – feels wrong. I loved Mr. Gilbert, I didn’t know him as Steve). Losing these three amazing people within three months of each other was awful. And it leaves me dumb, when all I can say is I miss them. I love them. And fuck cancer.
To that end, here’s where the money goes (this is from Team In Training):
Team In Training has officially hit our ONE BILLION DOLLAR fundraising mark since the program was first started in 1988! In the past 21 years, we’ve funded over $800 million in research grants and provided patients and their families with life-altering financial and emotional support.
Those numbers are HUGE, but what’s important to remember is the difference that every single dollar makes in the fight against blood cancers. Here’s a break down of where your money could go:
$25 could pay the taxi fare for a patient’s ride home from the hospital after treatment
$50 could register one person to be a bone marrow donor
$75 could provide HLA (bone marrow) typing for a family member of a patient with leukemia
$100 could pay the cost of 4 patient’s chemotherapy drug prescription co-pays
$300 could train 25 peer volunteers to provide emotional support to newly diagnosed patients
$1000 could allow a patient to meet with health care specialists to design and discuss their disease and treatment plan
$3000 could provide a patient with a one month supply of Gleevec (a life-saving drug, developed through LLS research funding, used to treat chronic myelogenous leukemia)
So I just set up my donation site (as well as this one) and made a pledge. But rather than have the display say “Anonymous” (or heaven forbid, name myself as my sole contributor so far) I made up the name “David Beane.” I guess so it would look like some hot, vaguely English guy made a donation. I hope my imaginary Canadian boyfriend doesn’t get jealous!