I've had this post on my mind for quite some time... actually, almost from Day 1 of joining Team in Training. I know it will be a bittersweet part of this journey, but the most important part... coming up with my tribute to those who I am racing in honor or memory of.
As you all know, I lost my maternal grandmother, Vera Zamosky ("Nanny"), to Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (NHL) in 1995, when I was in college. Nanny fought hard through multiple bouts of the disease for nearly 4 years, before she lost her fight at the young age of 70.
I don't recall having ever heard of lymphoma before Nanny's diagnosis, nor do I remember hearing about it again for many years. I guess at the time I thought it was some rare form of cancer. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
I have been aware of Team in Training and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for several years, mostly from friends and co-workers who have participated in the program. On some level, I knew that by donating to LLS, I was helping to fund research for the type of cancer that had taken Nanny. But, until I joined TNT in January, I never realized how widespread blood cancers are. I never imagined how many people I already know who have been affected by this disease, and how many more I would meet as a result of this journey.
So, here's what I want to do... I am planning to carry the names of all the people I am racing in honor or memory of on the day of my triathlon. I'm not sure yet what the best medium will be (this may depend on the number of names I have). I may make a card that I can laminate and pin inside my tri jersey, or I may make ribbons to attach to my race belt... I'm also open to other ideas??
For those of you who have already shared with me that you have a friend or family member who is either a SURVIVOR of leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma, or have unfortunately lost their battle with one of these diseases, I will be emailing you shortly to get your heroes' name to add to my tribute. Anyone else, please shoot me an email/text/etc. or respond to this blog to let me know the name of your personal honored heroes and the type of blood cancer that they have been affected by.
I'm "TRI"-ing to save lives...want to help?