I am truly honored to have to privilege to be a part of the 2014 LLS Man & Woman of the Year campaign supporting Christopher Wilno and the We Will Find a Cure team. We are a small group that has set a big goal. To be a part of something much bigger than ourselves is truly special.
I was first introduced to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society back in 2009 through Team in Training which is the endurance sports arm of LLS. Christopher Wilno, a long time college friend, was the coach of the marathon program and worked hard to convince me I could not only finish a marathon but that 26.2 miles would change my life. His persistence along with the cause of fighting cancer really hit home for me. Cancer, as it unfortunately does for many families, has knocked on the door of many people close to me…both friends and family. One family member in particular is my mother-in-law who was diagnosed with cancer while taking care of my then 1 year old son full-time. At the time she was told she had an extremely aggressive cancer that warranted a likewise aggressive treatment. She fought hard while never stopping to take care of my baby while I worked in my full-time career supporting my family. Her attitude, her honesty, and her strength shaped me as an early mother and I am happy to say that my mother in law is alive today……a 13 year cancer survivor.
Christopher also has a deep connection to the cause after losing his father to cancer and watching his wife fight the disease twice. His ability to take the darkest times and help people make a difference in their own lives has truly inspired me. His commitment to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and his commitment to keep fighting until a cure is found is something that comes from the bottom of his heart. It is my deepest honor to support Christopher as the Man of the Year candidate.
To date, most of my time fighting cancer has been through Team in Training. Christopher and I will actually be coaching the Fall 2014 Marathon Program where we will get to work with 100+ people as they learn what they are capable of and learn how to make a difference. This Man of the Year Campaign does not involve any races or running. It is a group of friends with hearts bigger than life that are willing to take time away from their lives to fit one more thing in to the daily chaos. We are doing this because we collectively hate cancer and we refuse to sit on the sidelines and hoping someone else will step up. This is why I am here. This is why over the next 10 weeks I’m committed to raising money to fund that next research grant.