This is Danette. Although she lives in my hometown and works at my former elementary school, we have never met. Nonetheless, we consider her a dear friend.
In 2006, her husband trained for and participated in a triathlon. In the process, Danette's family met a family with a child who was undergoing treatment for ALL. After getting to know Lauren (who is now a happy and healthy fifth grader! Yea!) and her family, Danette felt like she needed to do something to help children who are affected by cancer. Soon thereafter, Danette began her involvement with The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as a member of their Team in Training. She had participated in five triathlons, and was considering retiring, when she heard, via my mom, about our Maggie. She has signed on for triathlon NUMBER SIX.
She writes, "Mighty Maggie is the little girl who gets me through my crazy 2500 yard swims, my miles upon miles bike rides and the long walks that I do to train for my triathlon." Wowza. (On a related note, inspired by Danette, Gus and I have dusted off our running shoes and have been going on daily walks. We're certainly not triathlon material yet, but you know what they say about a journey of one thousand miles...)
As of this posting, she is 74% of the way to her fund raising goal. The donations she has collected will:
- fund more than 200 researchers
- provide financial assistance to patients
- sponsor scientific conferences
- produce educational materials and videos
- run over 50 support groups nationwide
Take a minute and check out her fund raising page to learn more about this lovely (and very fit) lady! Go Team Danette!
**UPDATE**: The CHKD Hematology/Oncology Unit has a tradition that ties into Danette's effort. When a patient finishes her chemotherapy she is awarded a big, beautiful medal like the one Danette is sporting in the picture. The clinic gets these medals from marathon runners who have donated them. I have seen this ceremony twice, both times for teens who beat their cancer. There are always tears and the kids clearly treasure the medals. There is a connection made between the runner and the child. The similarity of the two efforts is lost on no one. It is a great tradition. -James
My little prayer: In the gray of the middle, between the newness of the start and the excitement of the finish, help us to see You in every step.