Those in whose honor I run – other honorees, other patients, other families

May 21, 2007 at 4:27 am | Posted in chemotherapy, honoree, Reasons why I run | 1 Comment

One of my very good friends from many years back with whom I’ve kept up – Susan – told me recently that she was very proud of me for all I’m doing training for a marathon, being a recovering (recovered?) patient. 

I thought that was very odd, for a couple of reasons.  First, Susan herself has done a fundraiser/endurance event for Team in Training – she did the Treasure Island Triathlon in San Francisco in 2002, and at that time I was one of her honored patients in whose honor she ran.  I saw her do it, and have a picture of the two of us just prior to the event.

Susan did an Olympic distance – no small feat herself.  Training for a tri is very demanding, with many days twice daily training events.  I was as much proud of her as she is me now. 

The other reason I always find it odd for people to tell me how proud they are of me for how far I’ve come, is that I still feel like I haven’t gone through anywhere near what other people have gone through, who inspire me.  I’ve already introduced you to two honorees, Doug and Carol.  Another is Travis.

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I’ve known Travis for several TNT seasons.  He was a speaker at a recent honoree event, and it reminded me of what so many other people have gone through – are going through – will go through some day, without better treatments.

While in high school, Travis had a form of leukemia.  He underwent chemotherapy, and went into remission.  About 4 ½ years later, he relapsed.  This time he had to have both radiation and a bone marrow transplant, after being lucky enough to find a bone marrow donor.  The BMT required SIX MONTHS straight in isolation.  He mentions that he had vomiting over 40 straight days while there. 

But he made it to remission, and currently has no evidence of the disease himself.  He has gotten married, and leads a healthy full life.  He’s been both an honoree and a participant for TNT for several seasons. 

Travis is a reminder of me of just one of the countless examples – ones whose stories we may not have heard – of people who have struggles that go beyond what we can comprehend.  And right now, there are people in hospitals all around the country – Stanford, UCSF, MD Anderson, everywhere – who are going through similar or worse.  I run in honor of all of them as well.  The patients of all ages, parents, spouses, children, grandchildren, friends – all of whom struggle with this. 

I used to feel like my story wasn’t as good as others, that other people have struggled more than me, and perhaps with the good outcome I had (no radiation, no BMT) that I wasn’t as meaningful a story as others. 

 Then I realized it – my story is a good story for participants to hear:  my story symbolizes the hope that new treatments can change deadly diseases to ones with positive outcomes, that allow for cures.  We need more stories like mine, and research that TNT funds can help make those happen.  So I don’t feel as undeserving to be an honoree anymore. 

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  1. […] for whom I’m cycling this season — Travis Wallace.  I talked about him last year in this post, but there’s been more since then.  I’ll talk more about him and his family in a later […]


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