Tuesday, June 14, 2011

our dear friend grace.

i wanted to give a little shot out to grace.
we met her and her family when we first moved to chesapeake. we actually stored our entire u haul worth of belongings in there extra garage while we looked for a place to live. her parents are on our young life adult committee and love us so well. her mom was actually at our house when we got the call about my cancer. grace has a sister, abigail and a brother jonathon. has been one of justin's main young life guys since we moved her. abigail was my young life girl and we have a led a few camp trips together too. such a great family and so dear to us. they have huge hearts.

a few months ago i received this email from grace:

First of all, let me say congratulations! You're done.
 I know you get hundreds of emails, so I'll try to keep this short. I wanted to thank you for keeping up with your blog for the past 6 months, it really spoke to me. You've been such an inspiration - you have no idea. There were many times when I'd start to question him - and then read your blog and realize that if you could trust him throughout your cancer experience, then I really had no reason to not trust him about anything going on in my life. I feel like people are always telling each other to trust Jesus, but its so refreshing to see someone so openly actually doing so. 
  I'm writing not only because I'm SO happy you're finished with chemo, but also because of my involvement with Team in Training. I know you're familiar with the Light the Night walks that the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) sponsors, and Team in Training (TNT) is similar. Except instead of organizing walks, TNT trains (slightly crazy) people for "endurance events" - mostly marathons, half marathons and triathalons. In exchange, the participants raise money for LLS. I ran my first marathon in Vancouver last spring with TNT, and raised almost $4000 for LLS. 
 After Vancouver, I swore I'd never run another race for charity again - I really, really hate asking people for money. When I found out you had lymphoma I felt like God was kind of pushing me to do another TNT race. I ignored it. And then Nick was also diagnosed with lymphoma - and I felt like he was again strongly suggesting I sign up. Again, I ignored it. And then, my boss at work told me I should get more involved at Barclays, with some of our internal networks. That same day that I got an email about the Barclays running team teaming up with TNT. Coincidence? I don't think so.
 So, I'm back for round 2 this year. I'm training to run the San Diego half marathon or full marathon in June (haven't decided which yet), and my goal is to raise at least $3000 for LLS. As much as I hate asking people for money, this is an organization that I really believe in and feel a personal connection to. I was wondering if you would mind if I ran in honor of you? TNT encourages us to pick someone who inspires us, and run for them. It helps us remember that we're not out running 18 miles in 10 degree weather because its fun, or because we're trying to lose weight, or there's a cute guy in our pace group - we're doing it to help raise money and hopefully find a cure for leukemia and lymphoma. I can't think of someone who has been more inspiring to me over the last year.  I know so many other people who would love to read all about your journey, and I'd like to share it with them.
 And hey, once you get all you energy back - if for some nutso reason you decide to take up running, I'll be the first to volunteer to run with you. You beat cancer....after that, a marathon would be a piece of cake.
  
well grace did it. she ran and ran and ran. i always think it's crazy when people say that if i can beat chemo...running is nothing. well i feel the opposite. running seems way harder. i stopped running by the way. but going to start back up tomorrow. seriously. i will.

a few days ago after the race i got this email from grace.

So…..San Diego. It was an incredible weekend – I really wish you and Nick could have seen it. Since the San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon is to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS), Team in Training (TNT) teams from all over the country are there. There were over 3,000 TNT runners at this particular race (the NYC chapter sent about 200) who raised over $9 million while training for the race.
 For all TNT races, there is a dinner the night before the race that they call the Inspiration Dinner – it’s a nice dinner with hundreds of people who are running with TNT and we share our stories and our reasons for running. TNT calls them mission moments. We also have a mission moment before every practice, so we usually know each other’s stories end of the season. At the dinner, one of the honored participants usually tells their story – honored participants are people who have/had some form of blood cancer and are also competing in our event. It’s a really emotional and touching dinner, and reminds us why we’re there. After the dinner we decorate our TNT singlets.
My first 8-9 miles felt great – there was a ton of crowd support and I was excited and the weather was still cool. I was running with two good friends from TNT who I’d done nearly all my long training runs with. The next 9 miles were really hard. The three of us girls were separated by then, and there was a long stretch on a highway that was slanted which definitely took a toll on my knees/hips…not to mention it was getting hot and the sun was reflecting off of the blacktop making the heat even worse. I had a time goal going in the race, but knew I would need a nearly perfect day to run that fast. I got to a point where I had to decide between really going for my goal and being miserable for the last 10-12 miles, or relaxing, slowing down a little, and trying to enjoy the end of the race (as much as you can possibly enjoy miles 16-26 of a marathon). I decided that to enjoy it. I’ll run for my time goal when I do the NYC marathon in November. Our coaches were all out on the course towards the end and would jump in and run for a mile or two with us, giving us pep talks if we needed them. I had friends who had finished the half marathon earlier in the day and they were out there cheering for us (one of them even ran miles 23-25 with me). It was really great to have people out there for the end of the race to keep me company and distract me from the fact that I had literally been running for four hours. I can’t imagine completing a race like that alone. I know you don’t really run, but if you ever decide to start (Nashville half next year?!) I can’t recommend TNT enough – I’ve done two races with them (and I’m signed up for another marathon and a triathlon) and I’ve had great experiences. I’ve done a lot of work with LLS in general and I’m really impressed with the organization and the people.
thank you grace. there are no words really. thank you for running. training. flying to san diego. being committed and listening to the nudging to run. even though you may not have wanted to do it in the beginning. i am thankful for you, your family, and your friendship. for what it's worth. i am real proud of you for doing it.

one the most incredible things since getting sick is seeing how different people show their love and support.  it's all so unique to who they are and i love that. not everyone sends cards, or packages...but people sent meals, ran races, wrote emails every chemo day, commented on the blog, sent texts, babysat, took pictures, came to visit and care for us, called never expecting a call back, wore team libby bracelets, prayed. lots of that. thank you to those you that went the extra mile to care for us. in whatever way it was...they all meant so much because it was special to who you are...whether we know you or not. i have been writing a few things about cancer, not for the blog really and am also reminded of much we were loved through cancer. mostly because of this blog. people walked alongside us from all over the world. whether they knew us or not. it still leaves me in awe. i think it always will.

3 comments:

  1. love this. man you are special my friend. God has used you in so many ways. love you a lot. can't wait to run WITH you.

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  2. That is so awesome! Love it!

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  3. libby -- is this Grace originally from Ann Arbor? I went to school with her! small world you bring together with this blog!

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