Marilyn and I are both a part of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's (LLS) "Team in Training" organization, which trains people to do endurance events to raise research dollars to fight cancer.
ABOVE: Bob, Marilyn, our daughter Lyssa and Lyssa's dear "almost sister" Johanna at the 2008 Nike Women's Run finish line.
Marilyn has had both non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (NHL: 7 years ago) and breast cancer (three years ago.) Both really stunned us, since we live moderate lives and avoid excess chemicals in our diet, air, environment, etc. When the NHL came back after three years, a fairly new drug, Rituxan, has become Marilyn's thrice-yearly companion as a tool to keep the cancer from returning. And we know, that if people had not been supporting cancer research 15 years ago which among other things, led to the development of Rituxan, Marilyn would not be alive today. It's that clear. Fifteen years ago a similar cancer, Hodgkins Disease, was virtually a death sentence. Now it's over 90% curable due to research.
When a person contracts cancer, they very easily feel defeated or at least disempowered. Team in Training is so supportive because it helps both a survivor and close family and friends reclaim a feeling of control and power in life. If a couple of old farts like us (we'll be 63 this fall) can enter and finish a marathon or half-marathon, then we can team up and fight cancer as well. I cannot express how overwhelmed I felt when Marilyn crossed the finish line after walking an entire marathon 2.5 years ago all 26.2 miles while still on chemo for breast cancer and just out of the hospital two weeks before. When she took off her Team in Training hat and waved to the crowd with a big tired smile under her very bald head, the crowd went wild, cheering us on, because she represented the very reason they donated to LLS: to give hope, support and research for survivors of blood cancers.
So we're asking for your help as we prepare for the Nike Women's Run in San Francisco this fall, where Marilyn and I joined our daughter for that heart-warming first endurance event. Marilyn is entered for the half-marathon, and I'm entered for the full marathon. You can find our webpages at the sites listed below, where you can make a secure donation either to Marilyn's goal or mine. Every little bit helps, as Marilyn can attest.
Without such research, I'd be a widower. I'd be caring for two elderly mothers alone instead of together as a team. And I'd have been too busy, too depressed and too distracted to have ever planted a vineyard and finally, built and opened Tongue River Winery. If you wish, help us celebrate this victory by supporting LLS through Team in Training!
Bob's fund raising site: http://pages.teamintraining.org/wa/nikesf11/RobertThaden
Marilyn's fund raising site: http://pages.teamintraining.org/wa/nikesf11/MarilynThaden