Dear Friends and Family,

You may want to sit down before you read this letter. Yes, I’m serious. Ready? I’m training for the Pacific Grove Triathlon on September 13, 2008. It’s an Olympic distance triathlon which consists of a 1.5K swim, 40K cycle, and a 10K run… all to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society! For those of you speaking in miles like me, that’s a .93 mile swim, 24.2 mile cycle, and a 6.2 mile run. Yes, I really did sign up to do that! Don’t believe it? Read it again.

I’ve had other friends and already heard from other Team In Training people about their experiences of always wanting to complete a triathlon, marathon, or other huge athletic endeavor. I definitely NEVER thought about doing a triathlon until just a couple of weeks ago. I’m as shocked as you are and occasionally think I must be crazy, but I have realized it’s because I’m crazy passionate about this cause. I’m excited to be a part of this team, have huge goals before me once more, and to benefit this great organization. The Team In Training program through The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is making my goal attainable through a fantastic system of support: coaches, mentors, teammates, and a training regimen to prepare me for this race.

As I work through every kilometer of my triathlon, I’ll have angels’ wings carrying me. On November 14, 2006 my friend Courtney Nicole died of leukemia; she was 19 years old. We met when we began practice for the 2000-01 cheer season at the end of my freshman year. She was going to be a freshman. In September 2000, she was diagnosed with leukemia and she fought bravely. At the end of the year, there was no evidence of disease and she was cleared to return to school the following year. I was so excited for her and she has been such an inspiring figure in my life since. Sadly, two years ago this May, she was re-diagnosed with leukemia and tragically did not survive. My heart broke for her family, her friends, and the world that hadn’t had the opportunity to meet her yet. It is my hope to honor her memory and honor the lives of others who have battled blood cancers through this triathlon. I will also have an honored teammate through the Team In Training program… I’ll keep you updated as I learn this person’s story!

I’ll be thinking of these people who, without choice, are participating in races for their lives—coping with life-threatening illnesses. My small event can’t compare to their truly long-distance events. My commitment to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Courtney, and others is to raise $4500. Maybe you’d like to reread that sentence, too. Yup—$4500 that will go toward research aimed at finding a cure for leukemia and other blood-related cancers and to improving the quality of life of patients and their families.

Please join me in this effort! I can’t make it without your love, enthusiasm, care, and financial support. Just use the enclosed form and envelope to express your support or disbelief! It’s completely tax deductible too! Feel free to include inspirational messages, lucky charms, and Band-Aids. I’ll have you with me every step of the way. Tell me if there is someone in your life that you’d like me to honor and I will use that person’s story as further motivation to reach the finish line. I’ll have you with me every step of the way. Please mail your contribution by June 16th so that I can track my fundraising progress and focus on my training. Of course, if you need some extra time, I’ll still accept your donation after that date and remember—every penny counts!

Thanks in advance for your support. Don’t worry, you’ll be getting updates (both amusing and pathetic, I’m sure) over the course of my training and upon my return from Pacific Grove. I’ll be updating my blog with stories, blogs, inspiration, and thoughts during this endeavor so feel free to stop in and read it, subscribe to it, and comment (http://bleach226.wordpress.com). You can also go to my official Team In Training website for regular updates on my training and fundraising progress (http://pages.teamintraining.org/sd/pactri08/bleach); and please pass this letter and/or the websites along to everyone you know. Thanks for being a part of my life, especially during this significant personal milestone. And on behalf of the true athletes—those enduring serious illness—thank you.

Until I figure out how to make these show underneath this header as they’re supposed to:

The May Update LetterThe June Update Letter

2 Responses to “My 2008 TNT Letters”

  1. jill Says:

    Thank you for stopping by my blog and for your kind words about my friend Nicole. I went to your friend Courtney’s website and my heart broke. She was a beautiful girl.

    I’m so proud of you and all the work you are doing. Best of luck! You are a wonderful person.

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