This season dedicated to the spirit of Travis Wallace

September 14, 2008 at 8:26 am | Posted in honoree, Reasons why I run, TNT, Travis Wallace, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This has been a very hard post to write.  I’ve been putting it off.

While the last couple of seasons I’ve had a number of personal honorees I ran for, and still are a part of me and inspire me, I’m dedicating my training and my event to Travis.

I introduced Travis Wallace at this post.  He was a nine-year survivor of leukemia and a fellow honoree for Team in Training.   Travis had a tremendous spirit and zest for life.  In the time since his last battle, he got married to a woman who I think is just terrific, Amy.  Amy and Travis became very active in Team in Training.  Not just as an honoree, but both of them became active participants, running in several marathons and half marathons.  They also became mentors to other runners, and captains to help set up the program.

The picture below is my absolute favorite picture of Travis.  It perfectly demonstrates his contributions to TNT and the people who he touched in it.  Even though he was an honoree, it wasn’t about himself.  It was about the cause, helping others understand the cause, and motivating them to make it through their events and succeed in their dreams.  He touched hundreds of people in this program, just like this one instance captured forever in this photo.

If any of you ever wondered what makes Team in Training so special, this is it.  People with gifts and talents helping others to meet their dreams, while helping to raise funds to help a worthy cause to find cures and make the lives of others better.  Travis was one of those who people who made this happen.

Another is Travis’ wife, Amy.  She was particularly helpful to me during my marathon last June in San Diego.  It ended up being a very hot day, and I had a lot of difficulty with the heat and my water and sodium intake.  I was basically sweating like a pig.

Amy ran with me for about 3 or 4 miles, giving me fluids and other refreshments, and just being there, encouraging, being very perky and friendly as she usual was.  I really honestly wouldn’t have made it without her.  I’ll always fondly remember her and another captain Carolyn who also ran with me that day.

I took a picture of both of Amy (on the left with the alien deely bobs) and Carolyn taken during the marathon:

Amy left just about after this pic was made because she wanted to finish with Travis, who was running a half marathon that day.  He did well and finished.

Earlier this year, Travis and Amy gave birth to a beautiful daughter, McKenna.

A month after McKenna was born, about March, Travis found out he had relapsed.

He started treatment almost immediately.  He went — for the third time in his 32 years of life — into the hospital and started chemotherapy.  He found he would need a bone marrow transplant.  He began a search and was able to find a suitable donor.

While in and out of the hospital, Travis spent time with McKenna.  For his wedding anniversary, Travis took Amy on a very special trip. Here’s Amy’s words from her blog:

June 24th was our second wedding anniversary. We spent the night in Half Moon Bay at the Ritz where Travis proposed three years ago. It was awesome! We had massages, a great dinner, wine and champagne and an amazing time together, watching the sunset and walking on the beach. That’s the way to live!

On Thursday Trav chartered a helicopter and surprised me with a tour of San Francisco. We flew from the peninsula up through and around the city, under the Golden Gate bridge, down the coast and back up over the mountains. We even saw a whale off the coast of Half Moon Bay. It was amazing! My husband is incredibly romantic. Sorry ladies, he’s mine!

Here’s a pic of them on that special day:

A few days later in early July Travis went back into Stanford for his bone marrow transplant (BMT). He had to have more rounds of really harsh chemo to get ready for it.  The BMT went well, and it was starting to take.  But because of the harshness of the chemo Travis underwent, he developed both kidney and liver failure.

He struggled.   But it was too much for him to overcome, even as young and strong as he was.  He passed away on August 21.

In the last couple of years, Travis married a terrific beautiful person, ran marathons and helped others to run marathons, raised money and awareness of his struggles and the need for leukemia research, had a beautiful baby girl, and lived life to the fullest.  If quality of life is the measure, Travis lived a great life.

A couple weeks before, I had contacted Amy to ask if I could train and ride in honor of Travis this season.  I sent an email, and was afraid to take up too much of her time.  This is what she wrote back:

We are absolutely honored and thankful to be a part of your training and help you with your fundraising.  Please feel free to share with your friends, family and others, Travis’ story and website.  Trav and I hope to ride along side of you in a century someday.

Well, Travis and Amy are riding with me this season.  I’ve already on many occasions thought of Travis and Amy riding with me, encouraging me as Amy did in the marathon.  They’ll be with me both during all the training and at the event.

The world is  a little worse off without Travis here.

If you would like to see pictures of Travis and his family or read his story, please visit his caring bridge site: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/traviswallace

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