Wow. Today’s Monday, and the marathon is this Sunday, June 3. I’ll be flying out Friday evening to San Diego. Here’s the website for the marathon, if you’re interested — San Diego Rock N Roll Marathon
I’ll be bringing the camera, and my laptop. I’ll be blogging over the weekend, including after the event. Check back to this blog Sunday and Monday.
As I get closer, the butterflies commence. I have run several miles several times since the Monterey run, and I’ve felt ready…. I can tell I am processing the run/walk in the way that I’ll be able to do it for several hours. I get into that “zone” and stay there. Still, I know what it was like to have some problens on mile 19 in Monterey, and know it will happen again. While ready for it, I can’t help thinking about it.
So a few things keep me going, and let me know I’ll make it.
The first is all of you — the many diverse family, friends, co-workers and others who have honored me by donating for me. I am proud to say that, with the last few donations, and when the matching funds from work is counted, I will have surpassed $6,000 in donations. Thank you to all — you’ve made this all worth it.
Another thing that will keep me going is remembering the honored patients, friends and family I’ve introduced you to will be there (go to the link at their names below their pictures to go to that blog entry) —
and others who have been mentioned privately to me — I’ll remember them all.
Another that will stick with me is remembering an origami crane.
One person from AIG in the SF office, Mary Hancock, who made a donation also gave me a little goodie bag for the marathon. In it were some sunscreen packets (nifty!) an AIG cap, and an origami crane. The origami crane was also in purple, one of TNT’s colors. (Mary whas been a past participant, having walked the San Diego Rock N Roll marathon a few years ago for TNT.)
We got to talking about the origami crane, and we started talking about he history of it. While origami cranes have been around for centuries, it has a history in the 20th century involving leukemia.
In 1956 a young Japanese girl in 1956 named Sadako Sasaki was running a race and collapsed. Turns out, she had leukemia. As a toddler, she had been in Hiroshima and had been exposed to radiation.
According to a Japanese legend, the crane lives for a thousand years, and a sick person who folds 1,000 origami cranes will become well again. So, in an attempt to find a cure for her leukemia Sadako started on a quest to fold 1,000 of the cranes. While she passed away before getting to 1,000, she is remembered as a symbol of peace, along with the crane itself.
The ironies in this story really struck me. Here’s a young girl who discovered she had leukemia while running, while we run to find a cure for leukemia. Also, she attempted to find a cure for herself through legend, while we attempt to find a cure through funding scientific research.
Here’s hoping that the money we raise for research can help to keep other young girls like Sadako to be able to run later in life and survive leukemia.
I’ll be taking the crane with me on the run.
I never met Samuel Sandoval. He was not here on this earth that long. He was born in April 2003. He was a happy healthy baby until he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) in early 2004. He then began treatment.
His treatment was not easy. Even though our ages and conditons were quite different, I can relate to what he went through in a few ways. One of the things we shared in our treatment was the need for multiple bone marrow biopsies. I’ve already talked about my challenges with them; Samuel had the same problem. After speaking to a Team in Training group last fall his mother came up to me and said Samuel also had a number of unsuccessful attempts, and a lot of pain. At that age Samuel couldn’t speak; his mother said hearing my story was the first time she understood what Samuel had gone through. I know how he felt. I was an adult at the time; I can only imagine what it was like for him and what he was thinking.
Unfortunately, our stories diverge. Only after a few weeks of chemotherapy, Samuel lost his battle. Just a few weeks before his first birthday.
I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Samuel’s mother, Helen. She’s a funny, dynamic person. She’s run a half marathon for TNT already, and is the Honoree Captain for the Peninsula Run Team that I’m training with.
I know it’s still difficult for her. But she gives of herself and her story so much for the cause, and she graciously allowed me to use Samuel’s story. She’s a very brave person I admire greatly.
I run in honor of both Samuel and Helen.
This blog entry has been very difficult to write. Let’s hope we don’t have to hear many more stories like this going forward. We need the Samuels of the world to run with us.